Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

A "Coach Approach" to Staff Engagement

Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

A "Coach Approach" to Staff Engagement

Article excerpt

Abstract

The speed of change is challenging libraries to redevelop themselves in ways we have never seen before. Rising costs and changing customer expectations are forcing staff to continuously learn new skills, adapt to new technologies and work more closely in collaboration with others in response to this unpredictable environment. At the same time, library leaders need to communicate regularly with staff and to motivate them to dialogue with each other about the value of the library service they provide to the community. A creative approach to building flexibility, resilience and staff engagement has become essential for survival.

Coaching is a creative, innovative and effective communications tool that is now considered to be one of the most important ways to encourage employees to continue to learn and develop. Its greatest impact is in building leadership and staff engagement. Communicating with "a coach approach" or coaching mindset is a powerful way for library leaders to connect with others where the flow and exchange is positive and there is a mutual benefit of contribution and collaboration, expanded knowledge and innovation. The basics of fostering "a coach approach" with library staff requires an understanding of the importance of "reframing" one's personal attitudes and perspectives, appreciating the art of focused listening and the impact of positive acknowledgement, learning to ask the right questions and formulating action plans for continued success. It is a learned skill that requires a commitment to practice but is one that will ultimately demonstrate positive results.

Keywords

coaching; communication; staff engagement; leadership; management

The speed of change is challenging libraries to redevelop themselves in ways we have never seen before. Rising costs and changing customer expectations are forcing staff to learn new skills, upgrade existing skills, adapt to new technologies and work more closely with each other in response to an unpredictable environment. A creative approach to building flexibility, resilience and staff engagement has become essential for survival. Author and economist Richard Florida, who was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Ontario Library Association Super Conference, affirms this further in his report "Ontario in the Creative Age" by saying that there "is no greater resource than the creativity, innovativeness and productive talents of our people" (Martin and Florida 1).

At the same time, library employees at all levels need to continue to interact with each other and to have ongoing dialogue about the value of library services that they are providing to the community on a daily basis. In her book Coaching in the Library: A Management Strategy for Achieving Excellence (2nd edition) library management coach Ruth Metz stresses that, through continuous dialogue and feedback, library staff can recognize how important their work is and how it connects to the larger vision of the library (57-58).

Enter the concept of coaching, which is a creative and innovative approach that is proving to have a real impact on building leadership and staff engagement in today's business world. The positive and supportive dialogue that coaching provides can maximize the strengths and skills of staff in the library environment and provide the necessary motivation for each one to pursue continuous learning.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is an interactive process and partnership that builds positive connections between managers and staff. It is an approach and a way of thinking that engages all staff in an organization, helping them work towards their highest levels of excellence both individually, and as part of a peak-performance team. Coaching is not a solution to every situation; however, it is an important tool for improving the effectiveness of the organization as a whole.

Ask a group of people about their experiences with coaching and a wide variety of responses and interpretations will result, ranging from stories about sports coaching, therapy, mentoring, consulting, counselling and performance discipline to simple praise, recognition and encouragement. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.