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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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3 steps to building an internal coaching culture in your organisation


Last week I had the privilege of speaking at CIPD HRD 2013 about innovation in coaching. In my talk, I raised the point that many firms and organisations are trying to develop their talent on a shoestring budget. Building an internal coaching culture is seen to be one answer to doing this. If your organisation is thinking about going down this path, this blog post looks at the three steps required to kick off this work.

1. Establish the organisational ‘why’

Building an internal coaching culture isn’t something that will happen overnight. It is a major cultural change initiative – which if managed and led correctly will be an exceptionally cost effective investment for the future. However, before you can start it, you need to build your business case for the work, i.e.:

  • Why the organisational needs it? E.g. To develop the organisation’s talent without a major investment in on-going L&D spend, change the organisational approach away from workshop/exec coaching to self-service blended learning approach, get value for money from investment in face-to-face/workshop/courses….
  • What are the objectives for doing this work? How will this be measured?
  • What is the organisational saving or risk of not doing this work?

2. Decisions to be taken

The first thing to decide is who to do you want to have coaching skills; your line managers and/or internal coach specialists? (who may or may not have another day job)

You will need to decide the mechanism of how an employee requests a coach – and when is it appropriate? Does it need to happen formally, or can it happen informally – such as a line manager coaching their direct report. What situations will it be appropriate to sign off an expenditure with an external executive coach

Once you have decided on the provision of coaching options you will provide to employees, you then need to define the level of skill and competency needed by each of the different types of coaches – e.g. your line mgrs vs your internal coaching specialists.

3. Find your champions

For an internal coaching culture to be effective, you will need to have a visible champion from your board. It needs to be someone in a leadership position. The board member needs to be willing to talk about how a coach has helped them, and how they are helping their direct reports improve their ability to coach their teams.

How has your firm embraced or not yet embraced an internal coaching culture?

Author Credit

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the Go-To-Expert. She is the author of the  award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 1000 professionals at every level of the UK's most ambitious professional practices.

Heather blogs regularly at Partnership Potential, How to make partner and Joined Up Networking

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Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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