5 Factors That Could Make Coaching Engagements Successful for Organizations
Executive coaching is one of the most impactful leadership development initiatives that organizations invest in their people. Coaching helps individuals evolve and become a better version of themselves, address derailing behaviors, and become more effective in their roles. However, in some instances, it may not deliver the results as expected. This leaves resentment not just for the individual or the organization, but for the coach as well.
While organizations invest a lot of time to research and find the most suitable coach for their leaders, they tend to miss on some key factors, which if paid attention, can make the investment worthwhile for all stakeholders. From a research I conducted involving practicing coaches, on what could organizations do to make a coaching engagement successful, the following 5 factors emerged.
1. Coaching as a Reward:
Many times, coaching is seen by employees as a course correction or problem-solving initiative, there are also times when the executives feel that it is another learning initiative that is forced on them. When coaching is seen from this lens, the individual goes through it either with a sense of apprehension or tend to consume it as a to-do task, thus not justifying the process. Organizations should start to offer coaching as a reward or an incentive. They could also communicate it as an engagement that would take the individual to the next level rather than fixing a problem. Doing this correctly will increase the morale, commitment, and accountability towards coaching.
2. Setting Clear Expectations:
It is important to communicate the specific expectations out of the coaching engagement to both the individual and the coach, in each other’s presence, leaving no space for ambiguity. It would also be great if the organization can outline, how the coaching outcome would make an impact on the wider system. In addition to this, an assurance on respecting the confidentiality between the coach and client will provide a sense of safety. This will improve the individual’s trust towards the process.
3. Encouraging Individual objectives:
Coaching is a creative and non-linear process that leaves the client in a more resourceful state, professionally and personally. It is important that the organization should provide room for the individual to include their objectives, in addition to the objectives laid out by the organization. The objectives could arise from self-awareness, assessment, or a 360-degree feedback that the executive has received. This would make the executive feel more accountable and increase the willingness to actively participate.
Also read: 6 Reasons Why You Need a Leadership Coach?
4. Providing Support:
Change in any behavior takes time. The system and the stakeholders should provide adequate support and time for the executive to reflect, resolve any unforeseen roadblocks, make course corrections, and implement his or her learnings. In one of my coaching engagements, the leader undergoing coaching was expected to improve his work relationship with subordinates and get better at delegation. However, as he started the coaching engagement, he was shifted to an individual contributor role and had no team members reporting to him. Additionally, he was under high pressure to deliver in the new role that he seldom had time to reflect and implement his actions. This eventually left him frustrated and handicapped. The organization had no yardstick to measure his progress. The organization felt that once he gets better at the objectives, they would move him to the old role with people reporting to him. This was a deadlock.
5. Offering a Choice:
While there are many executives, who are willing to learn, bring change within themselves, evolve, and emerge as better leaders; there are some, whose willingness towards coaching is low or nil. Such executives, when forced, will lead to wastage of resources (time, money, energy, and effort). It is imperative that the organizations take the effort to explain coaching in detail, and then provide a choice to the individual to enroll or not. This empowers the executive and increases the success ratio.
Like other leadership development initiatives, coaching is impactful and can deliver the expected outcomes. However, it is important that the organization, executive, and the coach are aligned, accountable, and own the process during the entirety of its duration.