In the newer coaching role, which I encourage HR professionals to pursue, the HR person partners with the manager and focuses specifically on his development. Few internal HR people are working in this new coaching arena. Organizations have most frequently hired external coaches and consultants. But they don’t always need to do so, if HR professionals are prepared to take on this new coaching role. In fact, an HR professional is missing a career enhancing opportunity if she declines to develop these coaching relationships.
According to Christina Zelazek, SPHR, Director of HR at The Mennonite Home of Albany, Oregon,fundamental to the role is trust. "An executive might feel embarrassed admitting he needs help or worry that the HR person might tell others in the organization.” To help, she said, "the HR person must be extremely credible with executives. You obtain credibility from how you conduct yourself, from the ideas that you have, andyour own political savvy.”
Don’t expect to coach unless your credentials, reputation, and standing in your organization are impeccable. The person participating in the coaching has to feel you are looking out for his best interests and maintaining confidentiality at all times.
One of the most important factors the internal HR person brings to the coaching role is her knowledge of the organization, and the impact of the manager within that environment. This is also one of the reasons HR coaches fail to attract internal clients for these new relationships.
Beyond the issue of complete confidentiality, the coaching assistance she is providing to the executive must contribute more than organizational feedback to help the executive further develop his potential.
Human Resources coaches must be knowledgeable about surveys and other feedback instruments to provide impartial feedback to the manager. Coaching often takes the place of training for individuals who are advanced in their careers. So, the HR professional must be well versed inmanagement and behavioral theory and practices.
She must know about and have access to a variety of resources for the executive as well.Goal setting strategies, follow-up, organization andhighly advanced communication skillsare necessary for the HR coach to succeed at coaching executives.
As a larger organizational issue, the HR manager can serve as a resource to coordinate and unify the process of coaching. She can monitor the expenditure of resources, check out the credentials of external coaches and assist with the measurement and determination of coaching results.