I was recently talking to a senior leader who asked me to explain more about coaching and the benefits she could expect to receive through the process.
The discussion was a useful prompt for me to look afresh at where coaching can be most effective and the kind of benefits and impacts that individuals and organisations can expect from a professional coaching intervention.
There are a number of different situations in which coaching can be very effective:
- Supporting a leader during their transition into a new role or on return to work – to identify the main areas they need to focus on, and in creating and working a plan for their first few months in the role.
- Developing capability and confidence in individuals who have been identified as having the potential to move to more senior roles.
- Working with experienced leaders who are looking to stretch their capability.
According to feedback we receive following coaching interventions, the impact that coaching has had on leaders we have worked with has included the following:
- Increased clarity and confidence in their role and their ability.
- Increased productivity through being able to focus on the important elements and avoid being dragged down by the other ‘noise’.
- Clearer thinking with fresh perspectives and ideas through being able to stop and think in a supportive and non-judgemental environment.
- Achievement of challenging goals which they have been able to break down and work on with a supportive third party.
- Gaining new insights and deeper self-awareness through reflection and open discussion.
- An increased sense of personal satisfaction and purpose – both in their professional and personal lives.
- Strategies for leveraging strengths and dealing with potential ‘blockers’.
Organisations report that coaching delivers the following types of benefit for them:
- Increased capability and capacity in key leaders and the organisation as a whole (through those leaders then leading their teams better) – what might be called ‘the ripple effect’ of coaching.
- A way to demonstrate that the organisation values the individual – increasing their motivation and engagement.
- A way to leverage previous investments in training and development courses. Through coaching, the leader is encouraged to embed the prior learning into their day-to-day leadership – turning the theory into action.
- A way to model an essential leadership skill (coaching) to leaders.
- A way to attract and retain talent by being seen to be an organisation that values and develops its people.
As a coach I sometimes take it for granted that people understand what a coaching approach can do for leaders and organisations. My recent conversation reminded me that not everyone is involved in coaching (as I am) every day and so I need to be clear on the potential impacts working with a coach can have. I hope the above helps those of you who may be unsure whether coaching might be something worth exploring further.