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Malcolm Sleath


Principal Coach

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Looking for HR feedback on the value of coaching


Are you an HR person who has commissioned external coaching for a member of your organisation? How did it come about? How would you describe the value you were looking for? How did that compare to the outcome?

I'm shortly going to lead a discussion with a group of experienced executive coaches about communicating value to clients. Most of the things I find on the net are written by coaches who, in one way or another, are aiming to justify what they do. I know what I think, but I'm trying to get 'out of my box' and look at coaching from the HR point of view. Can you help shift my focus?

4 Responses

  1. What is the impact of coaching?
    have used internal and external coaching as a training manager for many years now as well as providing it as one of my services when freelancing for four years. Within my training manager roles coaching has been provided alongside a programme of development such as leadership. I feel very strongly that the inclusion of coaching in combination with other personal development is a really good idea because:

    1. They feel a great sense of trust with the coach very quickly and this above all else seems to accelerate the development process. Whenever using coaches within a development programme the discussions between coach and employee are always confidential leaving the employee to share what they decide to share with their manager. In practice most employees in such programmes have become far more open about their development areas after some time with a coach.

    2. Many delegates have explained to me their feeling of duty and loyalty in preparing to meet their coaches, something they do not always feel when dealing with their own manager or internal trainers. They do not want to let them down as the coaches are always very helpful, resourceful people who help them see things more clearly.

    3. Coaches, the good ones, are helpful, resourceful people who help the client to see, hear and feel things in a new way. Many people being coached have expressed the experience that they find it much more helpful when someone else asks a set of questions and they listen and respond than when they simply read the questions.

    4. In terms of noticeable behavioural changes coaching has been the most cost effective development approach £ for £. It is used only by one person and is therefore is the ultimate tailored product. You pay for exactly what you get with direct feedback from the recipient (I hate the term coachee).

    5. The coaches I have worked with have also offered useful advice and suggestions about the wider development programme and one or two have attended the training courses to see what their clients are experiencing (and they did this without additional charge)

    All the best with your discussion group.



  2. Looking for HR feedback on the value of coaching

    Thank you Nick. That was extremely helpful. Plenty of food for thought.


  3. Value of Coaching

    Hi Nick,

    Having worked as an L&D Manager and internal coach, justifying expenditure for coaching is a very relevant issue, particularly as it doesn’t seem to be done terribly well…
    My approach, which has largely focused on coaching around leadership and management development, is to look at changes in behaviour over the course of the coaching programme. In order to get a baseline of an individual’s current behaviour, I use some form of staff survey or 360 tool which is then repeated after the coaching programme with the same respondents that completed originally. For me the key factors are to agree and be explicit about which behaviours the client wants to change and how you will measure this behaviour – if you use an inappropriate measurement tool, you probably won’t be able to confirm any changes…
    I’m not always looking to justify all ROI in terms of purely financial measures – I’m quite happy to confirm change through improvements in employee engagement or perceived changes in the client’s behaviour by their team, direct reports, peers or line manager.  We spend huge amounts of money on employee engagement surveys but I’ve never seen one yet that directly relates engagement back to financial performance so why try to do so for coaching….
    I’ve also seen examples where specific behavioural changes weren’t agreed up front and the whole coaching relationship turned into a drain of money and resources with little benefit to anyone other than the external coach that was appointed.  That’s why I always try to adopt this approach.
    This may be quite a simplistic answer but it works for me…
    I’m happy for you to contact me outside of this forum to discuss further if you want to…
  4. Value of coaching

    Thank you Bob. Again, it’s valuable to have a thoughtful response from someone who has both commissioned and delivered coaching – and seen it succeed and fail. I may well take you up on your offer to contact you outside the forum at some point, but for now your contribution has been extremely helpful. Malcolm

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Malcolm Sleath

Principal Coach

Read more from Malcolm Sleath

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