Coaching is an effective tool for all organizations, improving performance and skills, wellbeing, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation.1 Although some individuals continue to perceive coaching as a remedial intervention, integrating coaching into your organizational culture will provide substantial benefits.
A 2014 study by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Human Capital Institute (HCI) in showed that almost two-thirds of the employees in organizations with a strong coaching culture rated themselves as “highly engaged,” versus a little more than half in organizations without strong coaching cultures (Figure 1). Furthermore, 60 percent of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures reported that their preceding year revenue was above others in their peer group, versus only 41 percent in other organizations (Figure 2).2
Figure 1: Percentage of highly engaged employees by coaching culture. Courtesy of the Human Capital Institute, copyright 2014.
Figure 2: 2013 revenue growth in relation to industry peer group by coaching culture. Courtesy of the Human Capital Institute, copyright 2014.
Who provides coaching?
Coaching is provided by practitioners who are internal to the organization or independent and external. Organizations perceive that internal coaches understand the business and culture better than an external coach. It is reported that external coaches will be more likely to maintain confidentiality, have more training or experience and are more proficient at coaching executives and mid-level managers, however, they may be perceived to cost more than an internal coach.2
Managers and leaders may be trained in the use of coaching skills, inspiring and challenging team members to achieve their highest potential, to reach for goals they may have considered out of reach. Providing coach-specific training for individual managers and leaders will require some investment which will be returned through increased employee engagement, productivity, and teamwork.2
Benefits of coaching
Since coaching is a fluid and dynamic process it can provide a multitude of benefits. ICF/HCI study respondents said that coaching led to:
• Increased engagement,
• Faster on-boarding into a new role,
• Faster leadership development,
• Increased emotional intelligence for employees,
• Improved team functioning,
• Increased commitment,
• Increased job satisfaction, and more.
Integrating coaching into your organization
If coaching is new to your organization, you can begin on an individual basis, for example providing coaching to a high-potential employee or an individual embarking on a new, challenging assignment. As you are able to illustrate the significant value that coaching provides, you can develop policies and standards along with consistent promotion of coaching as a developmental tool.3
In early stages you can utilize external coaches and then begin to hire coaches full-time or provide training for existing employees to become coaches part-time or fulltime. These coaches typically receive training from a program accredited by an organization such as ICF and subsequently pursue an individual credential as a coach. Earning a coaching credential is an indicator of a coach’s commitment to excellence in coaching. Clients and hiring organizations will find comfort in knowing that credentialed coaches have had coach-specific training and significant coaching experience.
As your organization further embeds coaching into its culture, training and utilization can be proliferated up and down the organization. Ultimately, you may be able to utilize coaching as a means to accelerate strategic execution within your organization. Coaches Douglas Riddle and Natalie Pothier observed patterns within organizations that led to a strong coaching culture, including:
• The core values of coaching, such as thinking things through yourself, are required for organizational success,
• Top-level management utilizing and openly advocating coaching,
• Long-term commitment,
• Making a substantial investment, and
• Culture change is carried out in a systematic manner.
Coaching is about an individual moving forward, creating positive change in his or her life which will ultimately result in positive changes in your organization. It is relatively easy to begin coaching and then, as positive results are achieved, to support its proliferation throughout your organization and experience its benefits more fully.
1. Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. E. M. (2013). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18.
2. Human Capital Institute, & International Coach Federation. (2014). Building a Coaching Culture. Cincinnati, OH: Human Capital Institute.
3. Riddle, D., & Pothier, N. (2011). What clients want: Coaching in organizational context. In G. Hernez-Broome & L. A. Boyce (Eds.), Advancing Executive Coaching: Setting the Course for Successful Leadership Coaching (pp. 401-430). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.