Coaching has arisen as one of the key tools in management’s toolkit today to assist employee development, increase performance and support job satisfaction in the workplace, along with training, mentoring, and career planning.
Coaches are knowledgeable, experienced and trained facilitators who aim to bring out the best in their clients. Professionally, they are discouraged by their certifying organizations to state or offer specific dollar returns, or to guarantee specific behavioral results. This is because results lie with the coachee, based on her or his willingness and ability to think introspectively, act on insights and work toward goals established in the coaching relationship.
That being said, it should be mentioned that leading research and publications have shown that there is a positive ROI for executive coaching.
- “80% of coaching clients report a positive change in work performance, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and relationships” – PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Association Resource Center, 2008 global study surveying over 2,000 coaching clients in 64 countries.
- “Asked for a conservative estimate of the monetary payoff from the coaching they got, managers described an average return of more than $100,000, or about six times what the coaching had cost their companies”. – Results of a poll by ManchesterUS, as quoted in Fortune Magazine, February 2001
- “Coordinating executive coaching with other leadership development, performance improvement, and rewards initiatives should increase business impact.” – American Psychological Association
Executive coaches contract most often with human resources, and in some cases with training and development or the actual coachee, to provide confidential, one-on-one support.
In the coaching relationship, a professional coach works closely with the executive to understand his or her work environment, performance strengths and challenges and desired areas of growth. More often than not, their work together includes an initial assessment, usually of a panoramic nature (peer review or 360-degree input). Sometimes additional assessments are called upon to help the coachee better pinpoint management style, collaboration preference or other predispositions, in order to choose more relevant behaviors and develop more informed goals and plans.
The coachee and coach work together to build a general plan to address all of these areas, session by session. In the most successful coaching relationships, the coachee drives the trajectory of the relationship and the management of goals within it, with facilitation by the coach. When the coachee is in the driver’s seat, he or she psychologically “owns” the goals and the outcomes.
To summarize, coaching IS
- An interactive partnership between coach and coachee, usually sponsored by human resources, that uses a thought-provoking and creative process to inspire the client to maximize her or his personal and professional potential.
- Engaging on a range of areas that are important to the client and to the organization, such as career advancement, developing blind areas and skills, improving upward and downward management, and communications, to name a few. Professional coaching results in clients setting better goals, taking more action, making better decisions and using their natural strengths more effectively.
…and coaching is NOT
- Therapy, training, mentoring or passive conversation.
- Past oriented, but future-focused. Coaches do not focus on deep seated reasons for behaviors or psychological processes. This keeps the discussion firmly rooted in the here and now, allowing plans for changing the future.
- One-way, but collaborative and highly interactive.
- Corrective, but developmental.