Maximize your returns from executive coaching.
[Note: this is the second article in the series entitle “Contracting for Value: Contributing Factors for the Ethical Alignment of Confidentiality and Stakeholder Needs in Executive Coaching” — based on the author’s dissertation toward an MSc in Coaching and Behavioral Change]
Perceptions of what executive coaching is and how it is used differ widely between organisations. In some, it is considered a perk of position, on the other end of the scale it can unfortunately still be perceived as a ‘last-ditch’ remedial intervention. However it is generally accepted that coaching will deliver value for the individual being coached.
There is often a lack of awareness, though, as to how the benefits of individual executive coaching programmes can effectively be realized across the wider system. At this stage, there is still largely an individualistic approach to coaching, and consequently the opportunity of leveraging the investment and using it as a driver towards the organisation’s overall performance agenda is missed.
Taking a systemic approach to executive coaching can increase the effectiveness of key employees, improve the relationship between them and their organisations, and even enable beneficial culture change in the organisation.
Sandi Edwards of the American Management Association cautions, “Organisations need to avoid situations where knowledge is hoarded, activities are compartmentalised, silos are the norm, and people are competitive and motivated only by self-interest.” This applies as much to coaching as to other initiatives.
One of the challenges organisations experience is determining where responsibility lies for the implementation and management of coaching in the organisation, as well as the analysis of the results of coaching engagements. Most do not know the extent to which coaching takes place, how it is being used, the costs and whether there is any alignment with business objectives.
A defined coaching strategy (which can be stand alone, but preferably is part of an Organisational Design leadership model or Talent Management strategy), and which is readily available to all stakeholders (including contracted coaches) will encourage delivery to organisational requirements.
This requires that policies or frameworks be designed which govern the contracting and use of coaching in the organisation. These should combine clarity of approach and accountability with appropriate flexibility for situational adaptation. The coaching strategy should take into account the culture, values and processes of the organisation, and be managed to ensure consistency and quality.