Interview with Tim MacCartney, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific at CoachHub

Coaching is a developmental approach to working and interacting with other people. It can help people develop their capabilities, interpersonal skills and capacity to understand and empathise with others.

And for the longest time, it is perceived as a C-level thing, but coaching works for everyone.

And that drove the creation of CoachHub as they aim to democratise coaching.

Over a recent event, I managed to speak with Tim MacCartney, their Senior VP APAC to learn more about coaching:

What typical interventions would companies adopt to drive retention, and what are their general shortcomings?

Traditional training and development strategies do not work.

The status quo response to the pandemic was to invest in broad brush elearning across the organisation, a Netflix-of-learning type approach.

It delivered mixed results.

More recent broad-brush applications of wellness benefits may also fall to the same outcome.

The ‘one size fits all’ approach has been redundant for a while now, and a personalised approach has taken over.

Mapping career pathways are often reduced to one or two conversations with the line manager in a year. To top it all off, companies are still trying to derive the right formula for a flexible and balanced workplace.

In the current environment, the war for talent is real. Unfortunately, many enterprises and businesses continue to apply band-aid solutions to counter the effects of the Great Resignation, be the raises in salary or any tangible perks to entice workers to stay.

The problem partly lies within the lack of engagement in employees – whether or not they feel that they are being challenged in their career and whether there is a sense of belonging to the place where they work at.

A Singapore survey highlighted that one out of four workers was looking to leave their current job within the first half of 2022.

Employees not immersed in the company culture, discontent or overworked have higher chances of moving out despite being offered a salary raise and perks.

What are areas that Coaching plays a better part in (which past interventions failed)

Different employee profiles require different learning approaches, and digital coaching makes personalised learning easily accessible, scalable, and measurable. 

It is also a business imperative for companies to offer coaching to a multigenerational workforce within the organisation.

In APAC, about 80% agree that external coaching is more effective than traditional classroom training and Individual Development Plans but is not used as frequently as needed in succession and leadership planning programs.

At CoachHub, we categorise the use cases of coaching success under three areas.

The first is leadership development, including learning and development, under which our coaches help develop leadership mindsets and soft skills and enhance the coachee’s knowledge in different subjects.

The coaches work with them to set clear goals and achieve them, while the coachees can gauge how effective it has been or what impact it has had on their lives.

The second one is organisational or workplace transformation, including developing a culture relevant to the companies. Research shows that the human element to change and transformation is often the missing ingredient in its success.

The third one is well-being, where companies use our solutions to support the mental well-being of employees. 

As a business coaching organisation, we believe well-being is addressed through coaching around resilience, which helps to address burnout and stress challenges.

Share a few examples of companies that benefited at the business level (revenue) due to their adoption of Coaching.

Employees in different industries or companies face unique challenges that require unique solutions.

We have supported the electronic component manufacturing company, TDK Electronics, the FMCG giant, Coca Cola and a medical technology company like B. Braun, amongst many others, to increase employee productivity and engagement through digital coaching.

According to the recently released Total Economic Impact (TEI) of CoachHub report by Forrester, conservative estimates for enterprises using our AI-driven, one-on-one coaching platform over three years include a 260% return on investment (ROI), productivity gains up to $115.9M, 3% to 5% improvement in employee retention and an hour of HR time saved per employee.

Given the self-service nature of digital coaching, is this just for type A personalities? What can businesses do to encourage adoption from more passive employees?

At CoachHub, we have crafted a Holistic Coaching Framework with primarily two purposes – grow as a person and inspire as a leader, which is personality agnostic.

The fact that every employee has a different personality, motivation and strengths make it essential for companies to look at them as individuals rather than a group while planning learning and development programs.

At CoachHub, we use artificial intelligence to match individuals with specific coaches for an innovative, personalised, and robust experience.

Your coach is available in your pocket any time, anywhere.

We have seen that if companies invest in coaching their employees holistically, the employees experience the benefits like personal and professional growth and, over time, prefer to continue.

Can coaching address burn-outs and the always-on culture that is typical in Singapore?

With its open economy, world-class talent and innovation ecosystem, Singapore is one of the most competitive countries in the world.

Employees feel the pressure as they are expected to be the best every moment, which is why burn-outs and stress are at an all-time high.

According to reports, 92% of workers in Singapore are experiencing burnout, with 36% reporting high or extreme levels. Increased workloads, pressures to meet deadlines and always-on culture are impacting Singaporeans’ mental health.

Burnout is like your vehicle running out of fuel. You find it extremely tough to keep going, affecting your personality, demeanour and performance. Coaching can be a great resource to help people during these periods.

Professional coaching provided by an employer is a fantastic benefit and genuine investment in people – a great way to retain and attract talent in this environment. While everyone has difficult days when we lose our energy levels, working on personal resilience, sharing feelings with loved ones, and having a fitness regime and a personal coach to talk through professional issues can help people get through tough times.

Given that we are transiting back to hybrid or in-person, will digital coaching be seen as another contributor to Zoom fatigue? Why not?

On the contrary, the SaaS-driven nature of digital coaching is a game-changer in the industry.

From in-person coaching, an expensive exercise for companies, digital coaching is scalable. It can reach far more people through an organisation in various locations and be measurable as a tech platform with dynamic results.

The former is even more relevant in the light of covid.

Moreover, what works for companies is that it is affordable and standardisable.

Affordability is key versus the high cost of in-person learning. A “revert” back to in-person is to revert to “traditional training interventions” which don’t stick and drive more L&D waste for companies.

Unlike classroom training, digital coaching is individualistic and personalised, delivering more tangible benefits.

The adoption of digital coaching will only increase as the hybrid working trend becomes the new normal.

Across ASEAN, 65% of employees believed that their quality of work has improved while working hybrid and 64% indicated a productivity improvement, according to Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study this year.

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