Sustainable Employee Development

On-site coaching has a proven track record  for bringing quick results, building employee engagement, and establishing a culture for sustained business growth.

Not only does it improve financial results on many fronts, but it also demonstrates to clients and the public that the organization is paying attention and shifting to approaches that are environmentally friendly.
In most organizations, traditional employee development approaches, including workshops, conferences, and off-site training events, still dominate. Yes, there are now e-learning opportunities, web-based modules, self-paced learning, and project-based development situations. But on-site coaching improves behaviours quickly, creates stronger more viable organizations, and reduces the carbon footprint.

Even in tough times, business owners know it is important to continually develop the capacity of their employees so they are more engaged, productive, and confident. When staff can make better decisions, they often save the company financial resources. Increased capacity also allows employees to advance in their careers while creating high-impact results for their organization, which is exactly what happened at a new retail store in downtown Victoria. An on-site coach visited the shop to observe how the willing but inexperienced staff interacted with customers. One-on-one coaching of employees as they worked led, within minutes, to changes in their behaviour. They’ve sustained those changes and revenues have continued to rise. As a result of enhanced capacity, the organization can survive when original plans are derailed by unforeseen circumstances such as an H1N1 flu epidemic, loss of a key leader, introduction of the HST, or cutback in resources.

Traditional training and employee development approaches nearly always fall short of their intended goal, even though they utilize important financial resources and have a negative impact on the environment. In contrast, on-site coaching brings the expertise on-site. Work proceeds as usual while the consultant assesses the organization’s and individuals’ strengths and strategizes the changes that drive even greater success.
For example, because the coaching consultant saw the entire operation first-hand, one simple strategy helped a large B.C. sawmill increase productivity. Instead of a memo passing through multiple stages in a chain from administrators to employees, the mill manager gathered everyone on the floor and outlined the week’s plan. Supervisors and staff gave feedback then and there. That fast, that simple, that efficient.


When an on-site coach joins your meetings, watches people interact, notices how problems are handled, or sees how a tough client is calmed and helped, you get “real time” insight into how effective you are and where there are opportunities to create stronger results. On-site coaches offer strategic advice, ask questions, explore alternatives, and provide mini-training modules.

So how does this help the environment and your bottom line? Well to start, employees are not adding to overhead or the carbon footprint by driving or flying to off-site workshops or conferences, staying in hotels, renting cars, eating in restaurants, racking up phone bills, and missing deadlines due to absences. Instead they are saving money and reducing the carbon footprint. Projects stay on track because people are still on the job. They learn how to be more effective — while they work.

Projects gain momentum as skills are developed, often reducing budgets. Employees gain real insights that fit the situation in their worksite. Other employees see the results, which gives them encouragement to engage in the same behaviour.

On-site coaching eliminates or significantly reduces travel and many traditional costs of corporate education. It guides small, medium, and large businesses to an unbeatable triple bottom line: sustainable planet, sustainable profits, and supported people. Or as coaches everywhere like to say: win, win, win.

Heather Hughes is a Victoria management consultant and professional shadow coach with 28 years’ experience.