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Stop Teaching Your Employees, Start Coaching Them

rolls royce harnesses the power of digital
Faizan Patankar
Written by Faizan Patankar

I work for Rolls-Royce Digital. And I feel lucky to be working in a business that is undergoing an exciting business transformation. Rolls-Royce and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating to harness the power of digital technology to transform the Aerospace industry.

However, what is the key to transforming into a digital business?

These are some pointers that I have observed small businesses use in disrupting traditional businesses:

  • Think like an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter how large or small your organisation is, innovate, accelerate and look for new business models
  • Hire an evangelical technology leader. Apple hires fashion designers to provide design inspiration for some of its projects. Apple’s expertise lies in technology, but it hires from outside to provide luxury design. Similarly, to transform into a digital business, you need a technology leader who comes in from the outside.
  • Don’t teach employees, coach/mentor  them – this is the one I am going to focus more on in this article.

Don’t teach your employees, mentor them

respect office dynamic in friendship with your boss

Traditionally, learning and development at large businesses has worked in the same old manner. Get assigned some learning courses, watch the learning video or attend a workshop. That’s your learning and development box ticked.

We should stop teaching employees.

We should start mentoring them. Start coaching your employees. The aim shouldn’t be to teach them, the aim should be to grow their confidence to ask questions.

In today’s fast paced environment, no business has the luxury to teach employees what it thinks will be beneficial. Instead, grow your employees’ confidence to speak up and ask what they need to do to help the business to transform.

Once your employees have more confidence, you are assured of the following:

  • Confidence to ask questions will enable employees to question bureaucratic practices that slow down the business.
  • Confidence to speak will enable all employees to approach customers and have a more collaborative approach to solving problems and developing new tools.
  • Confidence goes a long way in encouraging employees to ask someone to show them how to do something, learn something new, be open to change.

These are some examples of how coaching/mentoring employees to grow in confidence can help the digital transformation of your business.

Teaching employees v/s coaching employees

confidence to speak

A typical example of teaching employees what a business wants could be attending a course like:

  • Problem solving in 7 easy steps, delivered via an online tutorial and a video

Whilst coaching/mentoring employees to grow in confidence will lead to the following:

  • Employees will have the confidence to approach peers and ask how best to quickly solve a particular problem

Admittedly, I have a more hands-on approach to learning. However, I still believe that to go on a fast paced digital transformation, you need to start mentoring your employees to have more confidence and believe in themselves.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. For Successful Digital Transformation, Stop Teaching Employees, Start Coaching by Faizan Patankar.

Image Credit: Rolls-Royce on Flickr

About the author

Faizan Patankar

Faizan Patankar

I started Career Geek Blog in 2011 to share my experience in job-hunting. I now focus on careers industry and blogging is just a tool to share that info. Love hacking careers. During the day I focus on my hobby - Engineering.