How Coaching gets Started

Shawna Corden

Executive Coach/Shawna Corden Coaching - AdvisoryCloudTM

How coaching gets introduced to organizations.  These are the three major players:

HR- Tasked with bringing innovations in human capital to the organization.  When introducing coaching to their organization they may be trying to solve a problem or keeping up with trends and case studies in the marketplace. They more than most understand the millennial generation’s driver to develop via relationships.  (I believe our traditional experiential learning pyramid of 70/20/10 mix of on the job training, relationships and classroom training- will shift dramatically in the next 10 years to a 40/40/20 mix due to the millennial influence) HR often acts as the gatekeeper to the relationship with external coaches or talent management brokers of coaching. 

Executives- Always on the lookout for what is happening in the marketplace around them, peer conferences and development share coaching as a must.  Most executives are coached by external coaches for the benefits of mastery and experience of the external coach, many are former executives themselves, and the extra layer of confidentiality that allows them to speak freely regarding business changes that may affect an internal coach.  These executives are swift to see the benefit that coaching may bring to the organization particularly in the areas of retaining high potential talent, retaining newly recruited employees, or helping those new to a level acclimate to the stepped-up challenges of the new role.   Executives are the most likely to desire Key Performance Indicator (KPI) measures and Return on Investment (ROI) or Return on Expectation (ROE). Some of the major accounting firms around the world use coaching- and ROE is good enough for them.  

Internal Coach- This may be a trained coach that is already an employee of the company who wants to share their skill set and value add with the organization.  Alternatively, this may be a person who has experienced the benefits of coaching and believes it should be added to the organization and wishes the organization to fund training to become a coach.   These coaches make proposals of internal pilots to grow the portion of their role that uses coaching, and attempts to make this a formal part of the organization to solve business challenges.  These employees should be evaluated as possible coaches looking at credibility, high emotional intelligence.  Often being part of the business as opposed to HR may gain greater respect for delivering actual business results, from business skeptics who may associate coaching with ‘feel good’ activities. 

The introduction of coaching by an executive or HR may be a bit smoother rather than trying to push for approvals at lower levels, but in any case, the project management must be strong.  The expectations for the program must be well-defined, and key performance indicator’s baselines well established.  If you are trying to improve retention or sales performance- you must understand where you are today to realize if you have arrived at where you want to be. 

The interesting challenge of these three perspectives in introducing coaching, is that they don’t often have full understanding of one another’s challenges and desires around coaching.   The internal coach doesn’t have full understanding of the executive’s numbers and headcount controls.  The HR partner doesn’t always understand surrendering a resource to coach, means there is one less project manager or engineer to execute on projects.   To gain a full understanding all the parties need to be involved in planning.