Human Resource Magement
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Coaching, Counselling and Mentoring: Skills for Human Resource Management

Dr. Pratima Sheorey, Director, SCMHRD


Our next generation thought leaders are the greatest asset that we have in the field of Human Resource Management. As we transit to the new world of the information age, it is important for budding HR professionals to understand the power of coaching, counseling and mentoring employees in an organization. Effective coaching and counseling builds strong working relationships. It also encourages retention and helps employees grow in their careers. Organizations are creating specialized mentoring programmes especially for young professionals or freshers to help them reflect on their goals.

Coaching Skills for HR Professionals

In a business setting, coaching is a training method in which a more experienced and skilled professional provides advice and guidance to employees regarding their work goals, performance and career trajectory. As an HR professional, it is important to identify the key skills required for a job role in a specific department. The performance of individual employees has to be tracked in tandem with the respective lead or head of department and coaching can be provided where needed. Fundamentally, the coaching procedure will be a business relationship between the coach and the employee. Coaching interventions are necessary in today’s evolving business environment in terms of executive leadership retention as well. The role of a Human Resource Management professional is increasingly becoming strategic and forward thinking. Coaching is becoming a tool for HR to increase employee retention and productivity. Being a non directive process in itself, an HR professional can coach any employee regardless of the job specification or level of expertise.

Employee Counselling

The HR function is at the forefront when it comes to employee grievances and personal issues of employees. The traditional role of HR was perceived largely as a function that drives the recruitment and onboarding activities. But over a period of time the role has evolved, and HR professionals are often seen as workplace counsellors. The counselling process is all about giving a safe platform to employees where they can talk about their issues that not allowing them to perform to the best of their abilities or skills. Organizations are emphasizing on de-stressed employees in order to boost productivity. Counselling also helps employees to maintain a healthy work life balance. In many cases, Human Resources initiate an Employee Welfare Team separately to ensure the counselling process takes place and the organization runs smoothly.

An HR Mentor for Employees

Informal mentoring sessions at the workplace are spontaneous and usually take place between senior and junior employees. Considering the increasing level of responsibility and strong level of performance, every HR professional must function as a mentor. Mentoring also means assisting an employee who is new to a specific role, to quickly learn what he needs to know in order to succeed in the given job and role. This responsibility of mentoring a new employee, begins right from on-boarding the employee, to explaining the formal & informal systems of working to personal development and succession. Workplace relationships with a mentor can develop spontaneously and also over time. An employee can also seek out a mentor because he or she wants the guidance of a mentoring relationship in his or her career growth.

The aforementioned skills are growing rapidly as an individual or freelance profession in the Human Resources domain. The three skills, although sounding similar, are actually mutually exclusive. While we talk about upskilling ourselves to suit the industry needs, these skills are a boon to any organization. These skills are an inevitable part of a company and an intrinsic quality or skill set of a good HR ‘People Professional’.

The best thing is that such ‘People Professionals’ help any organization to grow and prosper irrespective of the function or department that they are a part of.

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