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For Maximum Impact, Treat Coaching as a Change Initiative

There are lots of warnings around wasting good corporate money on training.  Read up on a few of the latest studies and there is compelling evidence to support the view that the spend for training has gone up and leadership capability has gone down.  In these financially-hard times, we especially need to know that our corporate money is being well spent.

Blessing White in their report entitled ‘Coaching Conundrum 2009 – Global Executive Summary,’ state that ‘organisations and leaders worldwide are struggling to reap the rewards that coaching promises.’  Their findings paint a complex and contrasting picture of good intentions, missed opportunities and conflicting messages about the importance of coaching of employees by managers . They call it a ‘Coaching Conundrum’.  The report says that many organisations provide lip-service to the value that managers’ coaching activities have on the business, workforce engagement and strategic talent management.  Few have succeeded in ‘creating cultures where coaching of employees is a regular, fully supported, and rewarded managerial practice’.

Everyone seems to love coaching.  Typically about three-quarters of managers participating in surveys have taken at least one course in coaching in the last five years.  There is evidence that when measurement and reward do happen, it can make a significant impact on performance and engagement.  But measurement and reward aren’t common practice.  Most organisations expect it, provide training in it, occasionally measure it, but seldom reward it or create accountability around it.  The impact of this is that organisations have made substantial investments in coaching skills and processes, but have not followed through and leveraged from the initial investment in learning.  Money is not being well spent.

This concurs with how we see things at Altris.  Often, getting robust measures from the client for successfully implementing a coaching culture is ‘like pulling teeth.’

From our experience, as dedicated change specialists and executive coaches, we conclude that to get sustainable and concerted results, it is very useful to think of the establishment of a coaching culture as a change management initiative.

Altris’ wisdom says that it takes time and unified direction to get the gains from coaching.  More specifically, on an individual level, the process of behavioural change typically takes at least three months and that assumes that the coachee is ready, let alone able, to engage with the coach.  Embedding of behavioural change takes time, and importantly it takes reinforcement and recognition.

‘Coaching needs to be part of what the organisation needs to achieve overall.  A coaching approach needs to be inter-linked with the overarching focus of becoming a high performing organisation,’ says Julie Ingram, General Manager Human Resources, of Competenz.

For it to continue its upward climb, coaching must demonstrate that it helps an organisation achieve its strategic and operational goals.  Metrics will indeed need to take a bigger role in the future of coaching, if the sustainable power of coaching is to be realised.



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