Essay: Coaching Human Resource Development -- HRD

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Coaching

Human Resource Development -- HRD is a relatively small but extremely significant component of Human Resource Management -- HRM and deals with the training and development of employees so as to motivate them to realize their full potential. Even though the concept was present for quite some time, the field was defined and recognized only in the late seventies and has subsequently evolved to include a wide gamut of activities of which coaching has come to occupy an important place. Coaching is an HRD tool employed to guide and advise employees at all levels to perform better at their jobs so as to achieve both organizational as well as personal goals. There are a number of models like co-active coaching and the GROW model which can be employed to make coaching even more effective. Coaching benefits the organization in terms of increased productivity, profitability and efficiency and the employee in terms of enhanced motivation, morale, and skill-set.

Introduction

In the rapidly changing world of business, organizations must learn to adapt quickly to the modifications taking place both in the business environment as well as in the external and technological environment not just to bring out high quality products but also to come up with innovative products in order to maintain its hold in the highly competitive international market place. This requires strategic planning, prediction of demographic and economic trends, career planning, employee welfare and training and development of employees. Thus, human resource management developed more as an investment made to combine business strategies and human abilities in such a manner as to achieve organizational goals. The advantage gained is two-sided as the employees also profit by getting opportunities for skill development, higher learning, career development and increased remuneration. Human Resource Management or HRM includes a wide gamut of activities ranging from recruitment, staff planning, industrial relations, i.e. relation with trade unions, and training and development. Human Resource Development or HRD is simply a part of the HRM activities of an organization and concerns itself with the ways and means of helping the employees realize their full work potential. (Hargreaves; Jarvis, 1998)

Discussion

According to Chalofsky in 1992, human resource development can be defined as the "study and practice of increasing the learning capacity" not just of employees but also of organizations and various collectives by way of "development and application of learning based interventions for the purpose of optimizing human and organizational growth and effectiveness." However, some experts have stressed on the inclusion of methodical "learning experiences in a definite time period" whereas others have highlighted the importance of "a long-term, work-related learning" and the combining of career development and organizational development apart from employee training and development, in the definition of human resource development. Despite the plethora of definitions available for HRD, there is no single unanimously accepted definition of HRD. (Wilson, 2005) the diversity in these definitions may be a result of the differences in the underlying theories which range from the economic to the psychological and philosophical ones.

Human Resource Development as a term was first introduced by Leonard Nadler in the Miami Conference of the American Society of Training and Development in 1969. As a field of practice, human resource development is a long-standing and established one, but as an academic discipline, it is a fairly young one. (Wilson, 2005); (Swanson; Holton; Holton, 2001) Study of the history of human resource development shows that learning, training and overall development of an organization are by and large the outcomes of economic as well as social conditions. The early history of humankind reveals that even the most ordinary intellectual developments resulted out of a necessity to adjust to a tough and severe physical as well as social atmosphere. It has been seen that the level of knowledge and training required for human advancement was terribly slow in emerging. (Swanson; Holton; Holton, 2001)

The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome had realized the importance of education as an instrument for personal development and achievement and thus tried to use and even profit by the utilization of their talents through active pursuit of knowledge. However, they had a snobbish attitude towards menial labor and did not develop any training in manual arts. The Romans, being a more practical people, gave a greater level of importance to the development of manual skills through family apprenticeship. With the spread of Christianity in the medieval ages, the lower strata of society comprising of the labor class were embraced into the mainstream. Trades and skills including the professions of medicine and law became more specialized, and the passing of practical and technical expertise from one generation to another via the mode of apprenticeship became all the more popular. The apprenticeship system involved the three stages of apprentice, journeyman and master. Gradually associations like merchant and craft guilds emerged which protected mutual needs and benefits. These guilds later started offering education and training for the children of their own members. (Swanson; Holton; Holton, 2001)

The emergence of the Protestant Reformation, use of vernacular in writing, and development of printing technology paved the way for the future availability of education and training for people of classes other than the rich and wealthy. The Renaissance ushered in a new type of philosophical and scientific thinking. Eminent figures like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johan Pestalozzi, Martin Luther King, and John Locke had a profound influence on the progress of technical training in different ways. With the emergence of the United States, the apprenticeship system emerged as a key factor in the progress of individuals as well as the economy. With the beginning of the industrial period, the apprenticeship system started declining and entrepreneurship started growing. Industrial advances required a different sort of training for workers for the handling of new machinery and technologies. Gradually, training and corporation schools like the mechanics' schools gained prominence. Corporation schools were basically company-sponsored programs for employee training -- a sort of precursor to HRD. (Swanson; Holton; Holton, 2001)

Corporation schools were established by companies like Ford, General Electric, and Goodyear. Subsequently, governments also got involved in providing technical training with the passing of various legislations like the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. With further progress in industrialization, implementation of scientific management principles, and development of mass production system, companies started feeling the necessity of achieving production efficiency through relevant skills development. Just before WWII, the concept of TWI or Training Within Industry emerged. TWI included four programs, viz. Job Instruction, Job Methods, Job Relations, and Program Development. These four programs laid the foundations for the chief components of present-day HRD -- human relations, performance, and quality. TWI Service clearly pointed out the difference between education and training. The former is intended for the all-round development of a person as well as for the benefit of society whereas the latter is specifically aimed to arm workers with relevant skills required to solve production problems and increase organizational performance. (Swanson; Holton; Holton, 2001)

A major part of the methods and philosophy behind the organizational development part of HRD developed between 1940 and 1950. Theorists like Chester Bernard, Mary Parker Follett, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor, and Malcolm Knowles provided direction to much of the present day philosophy behind HRD. Today's flatter and downsized organizational structures combined with the rapidly changing nature of work have meant that employees have to develop skills over a wider range of tasks. (Swanson; Holton; Holton, 2001) This has resulted in the inclusion of a separate HRD division in the HRM department so as to keep the employees up-to-date with the needs of the organization. It has been observed that increasing the level of employee expertise by employing human resource development increases the chances of organizational objectives being achieved. (Swanson, 1995)

Human resource development is involved in three key areas: organizational, occupational and individual development. These are the areas in which training and development is required in an organization. Individual development involves skill development, career development, interpersonal skills, and so on. Development at the occupational and group level may require training to integrate cross-functional teams through team-building exercises, or specific courses for educating workers about specific services or products. Organizational development involves educating workers about processes or techniques that involve the entire organization. For example, introducing new ways of working or a new culture would require training and development across the whole organization, and not just a single employee or department. (Wilson, 2005) Until now, HRD or training managers had focused on arranging in-house courses and making sure employees attended external course. A restricted training budget and training facilities had made this difficult to manage. Therefore, a methodical on-the-job training approach has proved to be far more effective from all angles. This may involve coaching, job-rotation and work-based projects, which can provide a level of training that a classroom-based learning cannot hope to provide. (Reid; Barrington; Brown; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2004)

A number of studies have shown that a large number of organizations have adopted the use of coaching and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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