The Role of Coaching in Apprenticeships

The Role of Coaching in Apprenticeships

While coaching has long been embraced at the executive level in business, more and more organizations are recognizing its value throughout all levels of their workforces and embracing a culture of coaching. Here’s a brief look at how coaching fits into the picture for tech apprenticeships.

Coaching vs. managing

Separating the concept of coaching from managing is difficult if not impossible. Most would agree that the best managers are also good coaches in that they have a skill set that helps them get the most out of their teams.

For our purposes, we’ll consider management to be a process of review, assessment and improvement on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a given role. These tend to be items that lend themselves to being measured, for example sales quotas, deadlines met or customer satisfaction ratings.

While coaching may have similar end goals, it takes a more holistic approach that encompasses not only the business outcomes but the human interactions that lead to them. A manager, for instance, might point out to an employee that he or she is behind on a quarterly sales goal. A coach will seek to understand the attitudes and behaviors that are causing that to be the case, and work with the employee to map out an improvement plan.

An obvious differentiator is that coaching requires a more individualized approach. A sales manager wants everyone to sell more, but the coaching process to achieve that goal will differ from person to person. A coach is there to extract the talent that already lies within the person.

Coaching in the apprenticeship model

The tech apprenticeship model used by Franklin Apprenticeships recognizes the value of coaching, and was designed with coaching as a central component. Each apprentice works weekly with a Personal Success Coach to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement.

The key here is that those sessions do more than track progress on technical skills like achieving certifications (management). The organizations who hire apprentices want to know that they’re adding not just technically competent personnel but well-rounded employees. That’s why our Success Coaches also work with apprentices on the ‘soft skills’ that lead to better interactions with customers and co-workers alike. These include problem-solving skills, solution-focused thinking, communication, time management and even managing stress.

As an increasing number of organizations recognize the value in taking the next step from management to coaching, the coaching model itself becomes more and more important, and well-coached employees become more and more valuable.

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