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Coaching Strategy


Any advice on how to go about the development of the coaching strategy including gaining buy-in and training would be vry much appreciated.
Nigel McPolin

4 Responses

  1. Buy in is everything
    The only thing to worry about is the buy in.
    If you have their buy in then the strategy will be written by the coachees.
    They will tell you what they need and your job will be to provide it.
    If the coaches have already been told that they will attend it is probably too late to get their buy in and you will have an uphill struggle.
    If they haven’t, consider how you can involve them in the decision to give them coaching.
    If you don’t get buy in then the strategy will not matter because there will be little sustainable change.

  2. Get top level buy in and train your coaches thoroughly
    Hullo Nigel
    The most important single question is what your client organisation wants to get out of this investment in coaching. Once you know this, ask yourself, is it realistic? Can this no doubt noble aim actually be met through coaching? Often there are other organisational problems which could NOT be addressed through coaching. If you agree to deliver coaching under flawed assumptions, guess what, both you and coaching will get the blame and the scpetics will chortle that they have been proved right.
    Secondly, who is your client? Are they powerful enough to sway opinion and set an example? It is essential that this intervention is endorsed by the top team, and endorsed means that they embrace it by having coaching themselves – and are seen to do so, talking enthusiasticlaly about what they are getting from it. If this happens, suddenly, coaching is the new sliced bread and everyone wants some because it is a sign that you have arrived.
    Obviously, your delivery of coaching has to be superb, but again, be realistic – coaching can’t do everything.
    Set clear goals and agree performance measures – eg 360 feedback before starting and then again after coaching. Build business success measures into the coaching you do with individuals and aks your clients to be prepared to talk about their achievements and about how much of these achivements they attribute to the coaching.
    Re training: there is often pressure in organisations to use inexperienced coaches for this sort of project by training in-house people onthe assumption that this will cut costs. It takes about 1,000 hours of practice/experience to become even moderately all round safe, so avoid this route if you can, unless you can hot-house such internal coaches through a programme of accelerated learning and practice not just in the theory but in the practice, observed and rigorously assessed, ideally externally accredited. Some people want to be coaches for all thew wrong reasons and you should feel free to reject them if this proves to be so.
    Best wishes. Please contact me if you would like further info about how my company trains coaches, or look at our website
    Jenny Rogers
    Author, Coaching Skills: A Handbook, OU Press 2004

  3. Perception vs Reality
    I couldn’t agree more with Jenny’s comments. Clearly someone with insight.

    Working for a business-focused coaching firm, I often have clients (correction: POTENTIAL clients) asking similar questions about gaining buy-in at the top. Sometimes it is because coaching is seen as a remedial intervention (IE: as a means of turning performance around, like a visit to the headmaster).

    Alternatively it may be because many people still labour under the misperception that coaching is nice and soft and fluffy. A cosy fire-side chat that goes nowhere. When I explain that it will focus on the delivery of business results through the applied performance of an individual (or team of individuals), unblocking and galvanising them, and that measurements can provide evidence of its effectiveness and contribution, I can almost SEE the ears pricking up.

    Commerce needs to be aware that coaching can be a talent retention/development tool that can have a strong part to play in a succession planning strategy.

    The approach outlined by Jenny in the earlier comment, is very similar to our approach and it has been very effective.

    A poster I saw recently exclaimed: “Don’t hire new talent. Grow it”. And once again I couldn’t agree more.

    btw, feel free to email me if you’d like some more details about this kind of thing. I have a couple of Word docs and case studies that provide insight into coaching strategy

    Good luck in the meantime.

  4. Time to coach?
    It is probably implicit in the previous answers about getting buy in from the top but in my experience of implementation of coaching strategies at four large organisations there is one single huge hurdle.
    “We don’t have time to coach staff, we are under constant pressure and coaching takes too long”.
    I’ve heard this arguement from prospective coaches and coachees in the public and private sector.
    One large organisation I have recently been involved in has very successfully (according to the bottom line as well as opinion) introduced coaching for all staff. One of their first moves was to address the issue of time to coach and make coaching a measured part of managers job roles.(removing some other parts rather than making coaching a task to be completed at 11 o’clock at night.) They had realised that if coaching isn’t a measured part then it does usually become a cosy fireside chat with no particular objective or benefit.
    Feel free to contact me if you want to know about any other aspects of their experience.


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