Here, Shammy Tawadros explains why EAs should be seeking coaching for themselves and their colleagues
Coaching has become quite the ‘buzz’ term recently. Easily confused with mentoring (which is a different practice entirely), coaching facilitates a process where one is encouraged to self-reflect; to change one’s perspective, and is guided into finding solutions for themselves.
Many believe that professional business coaching is only applicable to executive-level managers. However, this is no longer the case – employees at all levels, including EAs, can benefit from personalised coaching.
Multiple studies have found evidence to support the benefits of coaching in the workplace. In 2019, professional services company Accenture observed a 21% increase in productivity due to an investment in coaching, whilst in 2017 Workplace Wellness Trends discovered such organisations had a 65% lower employee turnover rate.
As you’ll know only too well, your role is complex. It can be autonomous and unlike other roles, may not be established in a traditional team structure. This is why you are so adept at time management and multi-tasking – and often considered a secret weapon of business success. So, it’s important that secret weapon focuses on its personal development!
Developing power skills
A general assumption is that EA skills are primarily ‘hard skills’ – calendar management, accounting, maintaining databases etc. But research suggests interpersonal skills (or power skills as we are starting to refer to them) are the most essential to the role, particularly those that encompass communication.
According to a study by the International Growth Centre, companies who invest in developing their employees’ soft skills, such as resilience, receive 256% ROI. Similarly, an Institute of Coaching study about the impact of coaching found that 70% of coachees noted an advancement in their work capabilities, relationships, and communication skills.
Adapting to change
Self-actualisation and motivation are imperative to coaching. Results are more profound when employees acknowledge how cultivating new skills will help them to advance their careers. This rhetoric applies to you as an EA, working in an environment that is constantly evolving; it is never stagnant or predictable.
Coaching can help you adapt to this unpredictability, supporting you in adapting to change more effectively. Did you know research has demonstrated that coaching is 75% more effective than other training methods in helping individuals adapt to work-related change?
Building stronger relationships
The relationship between an executive-level manager and an assistant is critical. Trust is one of the most important factors, as you’ll know, sometimes being privy to confidential information.
Coaching allows you to understand how to strengthen this bond and how to implement essential skills (like active listening, the art of vulnerability, building trust and developing emotional intelligence) to build stronger relationships at work. A study undertaken last year indicated that 80% of the competencies that lead to success in the workplace are based on emotional intelligence.
Support in upskilling
A study undertaken by Mckinsey in 2020 outlined that almost nine out of ten executives noted that their organisations have already faced skill gaps or expect to have such develop within the next five years. Upskilling is a crucial process, as it can have a direct impact on this possible outcome. I previously mentioned the importance of the working relationship between executive-level managers and EAs – support through coaching to create higher quality connections is an essential element of this.