In very general terms Human Resource personnel typically fit into one of the following broad categories:
- Process Oriented: They normally specialize in areas such as payroll, benefits, recruiting, etc. They apply a very systematic and sometimes rigid approach and for the most part they see things as either black or white. They are typically most concerned about the outcome from the company’s perspective.
- People Oriented: This group more typically aligns with areas such as performance, discipline, training, etc. They are generally seen as flexible and more people friendly. They have this knack of been able to assess the situation and work out a diplomatic solution. However their outcome concern has more to do with the person than the organization.
Interestingly, coaching is a “People Process” and therefore it draws on both sets of skills or orientations mentioned above. On the one hand it invokes key “People” skills such as questioning, listening, acknowledging, empathizing, etc By the same token it draws on “Process” skills such as goal setting, developing plans, ensuring accountability, etc in pursuit of a desired outcome. Coaching is about truly understanding the situation and moving quickly towards a favorable outcome for all concerned.
So if your company is considering a selection process for HR people to be trained as Internal Coaches or simply to adopt a more coach approach, consider which attribute likely candidates normally demonstrate. Then ask the question, do they possess the ability and desire to straddle both, as appropriate?