Coaching employees has great payoffs.

Coaching employees is essential to making sure they feel valued. Managers who coach their employees are not only ensuring that they have the skills they need to work, but are also showing that they are willing to invest in them, which has high payoffs. Indeed, employees who receive training and coaching from their companies report higher levels of motivation and loyalty.

But to best coach employees, managers need reach them on the most profound level: their culture. That means that managers have to understand their employees’ cultural preferences, as shown in the Cultural Orientations Indicator (COI) assessment.

Having an idea of employees’ cultural orientations allows managers to tailor their coaching approach to better reach their personnel. But there are some cultural preferences that more deeply impact coaching and the relationship between coach and employee – especially those having to do with how employees communicate, view authority and boundaries, and how they interact with their colleagues and team members. Here are some cultural preferences managers should take into consideration before beginning to coach employees:

1) A coach acts as an enabler of improved performance and success. However, hierarchy-oriented employees can be uncomfortable when their manager acts as a coach and may be less willing to engage in a coaching relationship. On the other hand, hierarchy-oriented managers tend toward a directive coaching style and can be uncomfortable with collaborative or generative styles.

2) Control-oriented employees may resist coaching, as they may prefer to take charge of their career paths and daily routines, rather than have someone suggest other ways of working. On the other hand, constraint-oriented employees may need extra coaching and advice on how to be more proactive with their work.

3) Since coaching focuses on performance improvement, it naturally involves feedback and potential conflict. When there is a direct-indirect culture gap between managers and employees, there could be hurt feelings or even resentment if criticism or feedback is not delivered in the right style for the situation. Managers need to carefully gauge their employees’ preferences on the direct-indirect continuum, as well as their own, to avoid conveying feedback in an offensive way.

4) With employees who have private orientations, it is critical to keep strict confidentiality about the information revealed. Public-oriented employees, on the other hand, may be less concerned with confidentiality and appreciate the involvement of groups.

5) Finally, as coaching is generally focused on improving and developing individuals, employees or managers with collectivistic orientations may have a hard time adjusting to the concept of individual coaching. Employees in collectivistic cultures may find the individualistic focus of a coaching relationship to be demotivating or inappropriate. Finding a way to keep the collective spirit when coaching individuals with collectivistic orientations is therefore essential.

When it comes to coaching, certain cultural preferences can make it either easier, or more prone to miscommunication and hurt feelings. It is essential for coaches to understand their employees’ – and their own – preferences before embarking on a coaching initiative.

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