Research managers who adopt a coaching approach drive innovation and excellence in academic research.
Coaching research staff in higher education can have numerous benefits for both the individual researchers and the institution as a whole. These benefits support individual researchers to become the best versions of themselves. And good individuals who work together become great teams.
Here are five reasons to adopt a coaching mindset when managing research staff.
Reason 1. Enhancing staff skills and knowledge
Coaching can help research staff to develop and enhance their skills and knowledge.
By working with a manager who coaches, researchers can identify areas where they need to improve and receive guidance on how to develop their skills and knowledge in those areas. This helps ensure that researchers are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct high-quality research and can contribute to the wider academic community through high quality publications and increased acquisition of external funding.
Reason 2. Proactively supporting career development
Coaching can help to support researchers in their career development.
A manager who coaches can help researchers to identify their career goals and co-create a plan with them. This can include identifying opportunities for further training and development, as well as networking and collaborating with other researchers in the field.
Networking is one of the most fundamental tools for a successful research career.
Reason 3. Improving research outcomes and performance
Coaching can help to improve research outcomes.
By working with a manager who coaches, researchers can gain new perspectives and approaches to their work. This can help them to identify new research questions and develop innovative methods for addressing them. Additionally, coaching can help researchers to identify and overcome obstacles that may be hindering their research progress.
Reason 4. Fostering teamwork and collaboration
Coaching can help to enhance collaboration and teamwork amongst research staff.
By working with a manager who coaches, researchers can develop their communication and interpersonal skills, which can help them to work more effectively with others in their research team. This can lead to improved collaboration, greater innovation, and ultimately more impactful research outcomes.
Reason 5. Enabling cultures of continuous improvement
Coaching can help to promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the organisation.
By investing in coaching approaches for research staff, institutions demonstrate their commitment to supporting the ongoing professional development of their employees. This can help to create a culture of continuous learning and improvement, where research staff are encouraged to seek out new knowledge and skills and apply them to their work.
Coaching also builds research leadership capacity – researchers who experience the benefits of a coaching manager start to coach junior researchers to achieve further success.
In conclusion, coaching research staff in higher education can have numerous benefits for both the individual researchers and the institution as a whole. By supporting the ongoing professional development of research staff, institutions can promote innovation, collaboration and excellence in academic research.