In a competitive and ever evolving business environment, the requirement for an organisation to adjust and change is inevitable. For many organisations 2020 required almost instant change: Adapt to an evolving norm or close. The first question that effective change rests upon is What is being changed? The second is How are these changes being implemented?
When used correctly, business coaching has proven to be a powerful tool for assisting with organisational change. Knowing what can help or hinder when harnessing the skills of a business coach will assist you in successfully achieving the changes needed.
What is Organisational Coaching?
The underlying purpose of organisational or business coaching is the long-term sustainability of the organisation or business. This can be achieved by improving the skills and capacity of individuals and teams, as well as facilitating leadership and career development.
Three approached of Business coaching:
- Random: Where individuals in an organisation find coaches and set off on their own journeys.
- Pool: Where the organisation has a process to create a pool of coaches from which individuals can select their own coach. There is seldom much coordination to this process.
- Formal intervention: Where a team of coaches is matched with participants and they set off on a shared journey, with common outcomes in a coordinated process.
According to Procoaching’s John Paisley, a formal intervention approach is the most effective in achieving organisational outcomes and a positive return on investment.
Laying the Ground Work for Effective Organisational Coaching
In order to have a shared journey with common outcomes, everyone participating needs to understands what is happening, why it’s happening and how it’s going to take place. Therefore, making sure that the link between coaching outcomes and business and human resource strategies is clear and aligned, will be very important in the determining the results of a formal intervention approach.
Professor David Lane, co-founder of the International Centre for the Study of Coaching at Middlesex University, lists five critical considerations to be considered in the design of an effective coaching process.
5 Critical Coaching Programme Design Considerations
- Outcomes: What is the end change an organisation’s leaders want to see? Is it growing the businesse’s bottom line? Investing in and retaining talent or improving leadership and teamwork? Alternatively, are they after a cultural change? Once the goals have been clarified an evaluation process can be designed to determine if the outcomes have been achieved and, if necessary, a return on investment calculated.
- Context: What is the environment in which the coaching process will play out? What is the corporate culture like? And what commitment is in place for growth and change? Practical consideration such as locations, numbers of clients, languages, and so on will play a role.
- Clients: Who is going to partake in the coaching and how ready are they to be coached? Understanding the background (skill set, level of management or responsibility…) of the people being coached will determine what coach is needed in order for the overall process to have the most impact at an individual and company level.
- Coaches: Which coach(es) will be most appropriate? The coaches qualifications and their work experience as well as the approach they plan to use are important considerations. This is because they are required to guide the process towards the intended outcomes.
- Coaching process: Coaching takes time and planning. Usually a 12-month, 18-session programme yields the best results. It’s recommended that the formal process starts with a launch event and a preparation for coaching workshop. Thereafter the coaching programme (individual and/or group sessions) can rollout.
5 Decisions to Make:
There are other important decisions that need to be made before coaching can kick off:
- Determining an Agenda: Who sets the agenda? The organisation, the participants or a combination of both? A mixed agenda can assist with enabling enthusiasm and commitment from the company as well as employees. With a mixed agenda a company can set business goals that align with company strategy and those being coached set a number of personal goals which remain confidential.
- Evaluating and Measuring: Determining how objectives are going to be measured as well as who will measure them needs to be done ahead of rollout. Remember, some data, such as churn rate, is relatively easy to collect. Some, like measuring leadership development is more challenging.
- Feedback and reporting: Given the confidential nature of coaching, the feedback provided to the organisation needs to be agreed upfront. What feedback will be provided, how and when will it be provided? Monthly reports are the norm.
- Logistic Coordination: From invoicing and payments to travel, venues and materials, the smooth running of logistics is only possible with efficient coordination. Therefore, a programme with a specified project manager, on both the company and coaching service provider sides, is recommended.
- The Coaching Team: Ahead of employing a coaching service, it is worth taking the time to decide what kind of dynamics your coaching team should have and researching a contender’s track record. This is because, the expertise, reliability and ability to work as a coaching team as well as the supervision thereof, often prove to be more important than the actual coaching model employed.
5 Reasons Why Coaching Fails
There are a number of factors that can hinder the success of any coaching programme. These include:
- Lack of Commitment: If management isn’t totally onboard, if they don’t encourage and support change or make resources quickly available when needed, a coaching programme won’t yield the desired outcomes.
- Lack of Understanding: Change takes time and requires a certain level of confidentiality. If immediate results are expected or people don’t feel comfortable sharing honestly, the programme will be hampered.
- Lack of Personal Prioritisation: Coaching is expensive. However, cutting corners on upskilling staff will have a negative impact on a company’s sustainability even where there’s substantial investment on other company resources.
- Lack of Coordination: When coaching programmes aren’t effectively managed, they fail. Management needs to be sensitive to providing support but not micro-managing it and thereby stifling the processes.
- Lack of Trust: Ahead of a coaching programme’s rollout a clear agreement and contract between the client and supplier needs to be in place. Being on the same page will better ensure collaboration and prevent the creation of accidental adversaries.
Commitment to Coaching
It is worth spending time, ahead of rollout, building commitment to the coaching process. During the rollout of a coaching programme, failure is close to certain if the manager does not support the participant by making time available, expecting and supporting change, as well as showing an interest. Therefore, it is of particular importance that a participant’s manager is informed and committed ahead of a coaching programme. As Margaret Wheatley, an American management consultant, says: “People support what they create and resist what they are excluded from”.
Are you interested in becoming a coach? SACAP offers a range of coaching courses, all accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and aligned with COMENSA. For more information, enquire now.