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It is really important to take into account the human factor at work, including the increase of complexity of production as well as increased competition on the market place. That is why various technologies should be used in the field of personnel management allowing successful coordination of many people (Dessler 2012).
Business coaching was a right decision taken by John for increasing awareness and understanding long-term goals and strategies for their realization in his organization. It is obvious that many aspects in his company required refinement and urgent correction and only expert assessment would draw attention to significant shortcomings in particular areas of his business.
Intensive short-term training with a coach is extremely effective in situations where there is a vast need to change the situation as quickly as possible and where the real source of the problem in an organization is not so evident (as it is the case in the analyzed case study). The expertise shows the aspects that need to be changed and knowledge that the staff has to develop in order to contribute to company's success (Farmer 2011). Then the staff can apply this knowledge in solving real problems and achieving organization's objectives.
As a result of the coach program, a more clear understanding of goals and objectives appears, the employee becomes constantly focused on the task and more confident in his own abilities and opportunities. It also provides a more accurate analysis of the situation and, as a result, the execution of duties by the personnel improves (Poole 2009).
1) Organizational structure of the enterprise is a means of accomplishing short-term tasks and long-term goals. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully select organizational scheme as it will influence the whole working performance (Cascio & Boudreau 2011). As it is possible to see from the case-study, organizational structure of John's company is not appropriate for its size because of several reasons.
Cluster chain of command of this organization does not correspond to the total number of employees. Employees who are direct subordinates are not aware what manager they should inform about their work performance (Stone 2010). In this network, which is typical for large organizations and divisions, the risk of confusion of tasks greatly increases (Dessler 2012).
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Moreover, if structure of the organization is thought through poorly, it is difficult for directors to plan and pursue their business goals. In John’s organization with multiple management levels the likelihood of distortion of information increases as each successive level of management can modify and distort messages (Stone 2010). Therefore, the company should apply the structure with a smaller number of management levels and more direct channels of information exchange.
2) John should do everything possible to improve intra-communication and information flow within the organization on the basis of recommendations and observations made by the coach.
In order to improve communication between the workshop staff, it is important to consider all levels of communication within the organization. Horizontal communication is carried out between employees who are on the same hierarchical level. In our case, this refers to communication between Ted and Craig and between Matt and Dave (Stone 2010).
The main purpose of horizontal communication is exchange of information for coordination of activities of employees, optimization of production behavior and realization of organization goals. Efficiency of this type of communication can be increased by reducing the number of hierarchical levels in the organization and time available to make management decisions (Noe 2012). As we see, the organizational structure has too many managers for the total number of employees working in the organization.
The organization consists of three units (two conjoint sections and another one). Exchange of information between the units is necessary for proper coordination of tasks and actions. However, lack of communication between managers was mentioned in the study. Thus, since the organization is a system of interconnected elements, John should ensure that specialized elements work together leading the organization in the right direction.
In addition to horizontal sharing of information, the organization needs to have effective vertical communication. Transmission of information from lower to higher levels can significantly affect work performance. This communication serves as a notification system for the manager about what is being done at lower levels (Dessler 2012).
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As we see from the case study, the manager of human resource section was not informed about current issues of work of his subordinates. He assumed that everything was functioning properly, while Louise was the one to handle the administration work in this area and was preoccupied with the responsibility of filling the positions (Stone 2010).
It was noted in the case study that exchange of information between managers and subordinates took place on a regular basis. Each week, management team met John to talk about current tasks, updates, and to get recommendations from John about subsequent objectives (Stone 2010).
I think these meetings should also involve clarification of objectives, priorities, and expected results, a discussion of problems of efficiency, achieving recognition and rewards to motivate employees, collect information on current problems, which would ensure participation of managers in tasks of increasing productivity. In this way, the director learns about current and emerging problems and makes suggestions for fixing the situation.
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Apart from the exchange of information between the owner and managers, the communication between the owner and the working group should take place. Studies show that when employees of the lowest level of subordination have the opportunity to express their own opinions and suggestions, especially when these proposals cause a reaction of management, it greatly increases their motivation and performance (Cascio & Boudreau 2011).
3) Some departments of John's company seem to be overstaffed.
Recently, there has been a tendency in big companies to reduce the number of levels in hierarchy, since it increases the role of horizontal relationships that are becoming as important as the vertical relationship in official chain of command. Eventually, it expands the possibility for decision making for ordinary members. Many important management decisions do not come from the top of the organization, but arrive through introduction of various forms of democratic decision making (Martin 2007).
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It is important to take into consideration that in any organizational hierarchy each of managers has the authority to make decisions within the boundaries of his official responsibilities. In John’s company the lack of clear lines of authority led to the situation, where a low-level manager acted out of his jurisdiction, violating the whole system of task performance. In order to remain competitive and survive during hard economic times, it is crucial to reduce the number of managers to 2 persons, each of whom would be responsible for their area of work. In this way the mentioned bewilderment about prescribed working responsibilities can be eliminated and harmonious coherent work within the organization can be achieved.
4) Benefits of employing an external coach can be derived primarily from the drawbacks of internal coaching. Effectiveness of internal coaching can be doubted because training called internal coaching is not actually real coaching according to the basic definition (Stoltzfus 2008).
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The most evident limitations of internal coaching lie in ethical standards and the problem of confidentiality. Internal coach is sometimes faced with the problem when it is hard to build trustful relationship or establish open and sincere communication with people he works in the organization (Moral & Abbott 2009).
A conflict of interest, moral, or ethical issue may occur when it is difficult for the coach to maintain confidentiality and talk about the issue directly with the management. The external coach will not encounter such problems. He is obliged to make sure that the information is confidential. Therefore, he can reveal information to the manager only with the consent of the staff (Harvard Business School 2004).
Internal coaching has certain time limits. People who are engaged in internal coaching and executing do not always have enough time to accomplish tasks as they are concentrated more on job responsibilities and duties (Scoular 2011).
External consultants are more objective, impartial, and less interested in any solution because of their detachment from the immediate organization. They are more authoritative and professional in the eyes of employees. They have the possibility to openly express they opinion without fear of provoking aggression from others (Stoltzfus 2008).
With adequate collaboration between external consultant, personnel manager, and the company the results of practical activities can surpass all expectations. The benefits become obvious: the company will have a friendly team in a healthy psychological environment and will ensure self-realization of the innate potential of employees (Moral & Abbott 2009).
5) Based on conclusions made by the coach during his study, it seems that the company should focus on restructuring and reforming personnel management. This will adjust its organization to changing socio-economic conditions and constant transformations in its internal structure.
A program for monitoring employees should also be designed and a person responsible for its implementation should be appointed. The program needs to register competences of each employee, identify and describe the desired behavior of the staff, create appraisal system, and set up training system aimed at creating necessary skills.
Based on the example of the use of external coaching in the organization, the analyzed case study has shown the advantages of business coaching, provided an organized description of what coaching is actually, how it can be used in human resources management, to what extent it can be used for staff training and improvement of productivity indicators.
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As we can see, the main task of this method is to help improve the productivity and overcome various problems within the organization (e.g. communication problems). Moreover, with the means of business coaching, independence and responsibility of the working staff can be increased, new ways of effective collaboration can be found, necessary decisions in different situations can be taken, individual goals with organizational goals can be harmonized, and proper coordination of staff can be established (Poole 2009).
Thus, this case study revealed that coaching serves as a tool for optimization of human potential and improving work performance.
The analyzed coaching program seemed to be effective and valuable for the company since the overall process was quite structured and regular. The coach created an atmosphere that motivated the working staff to take part in it, report about their work performance, and talk openly about problems they encounter. The opportunity to meet with staff on a regular basis and systematic communication with the director made this coaching worth trying.
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However, in my opinion, it would be better to complement individual session with the group work. It will give staff the opportunity for self-development and widening their professional competence. By working together, the staff will be able to make more effective decisions and plan future perspective. It could be organized in such a way: each member of the group will concentrate on his own problem and the rest of the group will give some recommendations, advice, or help regarding its possible solution. Sharing of ideas will improve communication and increase trust and unity of the working staff. Exchange of different experiences among the personnel can be beneficial for achieving higher productivity.
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