Coaching is a powerful and commonly used method of developing leadership skills. Coaching can be provided by supervisors, in-house coaches or outside consultants.

Coaching can be provided by supervisors, in-house coaches or outside consultants. There are various criteria for selection, such as the managerial experience of the prospective coach. However, a coach is not primarily a mentor; rather than providing support through their own experience, the main task of the coach is to help the person being coached to gain insight by having them deal with the appropriate questions and challenges. Having said that, however, it is also clear that the prior skills and understanding that a coach has gained will shape their approach to the task.

The psychologist as coach

The activities of organizations are always human activities. Psychologists understand the workings of the mind and the dynamics that develop between people regardless of the roles they have. So what would a psychologist have to offer as a coach?

They can help people in demanding expert roles to:

  • Develop their selfmanagement skills and work efficiency, for example, through developing their self-regulation capabilities
  • Increase their work motivation by developing their understanding of what motivates them
  • Identify sources of error in their own thinking and develop more effective approaches to interpersonal situations
  • Recognize the effects of their own mind’s defense mechanisms on how they work and interact with others

They can help people in supervisory roles to:

  • Understand the psychological factors that affect how they interact with others, and how to improve their own interaction skills and interact in the ways that are best suited to each particular situation
  • Understand the factors that affect the working environment of their team or unit, and the sources of difficulty in management situations
  • Develop various methods and perspectives for dealing well with diversity and taking the individual personalities of the team members into account
  • Providing additional motivation for the team by developing a genuinely receptive and listening approach
  • Increase the job satisfaction of the team members by increasing one’s own selfperception as a supervisor
  • Understand the importance of fairness and showing appreciation to supervisory work

They can help people in supervisory roles to:

  • Facilitate organizational change by understanding human dynamics and managing resistance to change
  • Discover new opportunities for strategy by overcoming limitations in current thinking
  • Understand the potential of and limits on human development with regard to organizational growth and reform
  • Align the organization’s objectives and challenges with issues related to people management
  • Map out the possibilities for capitalizing on people’s individual capacities and strengths in operative issues
  • Understand the factors behind successful communication and influence

The psychologist as coach will help the person to greatly develop their thinking and understanding. The models for working and reasoning used and developed throughout the coaching can even create a positive behavioral spiral that transforms the everyday life of the person being coached.

It’s well worth asking yourself every now and again how coaching could help you and your organization. Coaching is useful not only in difficult work situations; it also has the more general benefit of improving your own reasoning skills. So if a helping hand is needed, that is precisely what coaching can offer.