Three routes to making the best use of coaching in your organisation

There are only three different models of coaching delivery an organisation can rightly consider:

  • Qualified internal coaches
  • Qualified external coaches
  • Leaders / managers as coaches

Making the best use of coaching within your organisation is therefore a matter of making the best use of each of the three models. And of getting the mix right. There will always be times when one approach will be better than another, so organisations need to be flexible in their approach.

So just how can you make the most of each model and also get the mix right?

You need to step back and analyse your use of each one in turn, from basic principles, rather than simply looking at incremental improvements on what you’re already doing. Zero-based analysis, if you will. Perhaps the following questions will help.

Take your internal coaches, for example. Do you want them all following a common approach or not? Do you want them all to have the same qualification or not? There’s no shortage of qualifications to choose from, so if you’re looking at getting people accredited which one should you choose? And how should you use your internal coaches? When are they the right answers, when are they not? How are you measuring coaching outcomes and what lessons are you learning, specifically for your organisation? How mature is your coaching culture? Are trust and rapport an issue in your coaching relationships? What are the implications for how you use and develop your coaching resources?

With external coaches, again, what are the outcomes you’re seeing? Are you spending too much or too little? You’ve doubtless seen the CIPD research showing that L&D professionals say that coaching is in the top three of a list of the most effective L&D interventions but that it’s in the bottom three in terms of use. Is that your position too? If so, is that by design or by force of circumstance? Do you need to make a business case? Or do you just need to review your policies? A policy of only using external coaches at certain levels, for example, is helpful in keeping a tight rein on costs but can be very counter-productive if an issue remains unresolved. Equally, automatically using external coaches at higher management levels can be a shocking waste of money when there are other options available. And if you are using external coaches, what are your selection criteria? Do you need to refresh or expand the team? Do you need to make your current coaches more accountable? Can you demonstrate ROI?

And as to using leaders / managers as coaches, is this working as well for you as it should? Did you see Jack Zenger’s HBR article last year, reporting that 24% of leaders over-rate their coaching skills? They were poor listeners, poor role models, not collaborative, didn’t develop others, didn’t give feedback, didn’t encourage diversity, and lacked integrity. That’s quite a useful checklist against which to evaluate your managers and leaders’ coaching skills. And where should your managers/leaders be directing their coaching skills? Performance management, problem-solving or people development? And what are the implications for how you should be developing those coaching skills? What should you look for in a ‘manager as coach’ programme? And, again, how do you measure coaching – and coach training – outcomes?

We all know the business case for coaching. It’s not really something we should still have to worry about. It encourages engagement and it supports performance. But it is worth tracking your organisation’s ROI from coaching if you want to improve it. And it’s particularly worthwhile looking at your mix of coaching delivery models. As the last ICF / HCI survey report showed:

  • 60% of employees who worked in a strong coaching culture rated themselves as ‘highly engaged’ (against only 48% where there wasn’t a strong coaching culture)
  • A strong coaching culture correlates with better financial performance
  • Across the three coaching models the manager / leader as coach had the largest positive impact on employee engagement
  • The manager / leader model is the most rapidly growing form of coaching
  • Organisations that are strong in coaching have a balance of the three coaching models

Inspired? Then please give us a call on 01582 463461 to see whether we can be of service to you. We’re here to help!

Categories: Coaching, Development

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