An interesting aspect of the use of coaching in companies is that it often starts in a small ad-hoc way as coaching is identified as a potential solution for a particular executive. Then the use of coaching slowly spreads among similar people. At some point it becomes noticeable that there are quite a few coaches working with the organisation, but that no-one is monitoring the learning results and how the organisation is benefitting. It’s then difficult to back-track and evaluate the results and put systems in place.
Frank Bresser in his book “The Global Business Guide for the successful use of Coaching in Organisations” (edited by me), identified the Value Chain of implementation. The Primary Activities for implementing coaching in a strategically-aligned way follow a logical approach and enable effective planning and risk management. By taking this step-by-step approach the advocators of coaching can consult appropriately and ensure that people are ready for coaching and buy in to the concept – essential for successful implementation.
The 12 steps are:
- Put coaching on the radar screen: raise awareness of coaching and its various forms, especially among the owners of any coaching programme and the decision-makers. Coaching services are increasing and improving in this ‘young’ profession, so research into what’s out there and how others are using coaching is the first step.
- Acquire coaching literacy: This builds on your research and is about deepening your knowledge such that you are able to assess what coaching forms may be of most value in your organisation.
- Make a needs analysis: This is the starting point of any L&D programme – what are the needs and how might they be met? Coaching forms may be part of a larger solution.
- Identify potential areas of application: From the needs analysis and your understanding of coaching forms and how they can add value to individuals and the organisation, you will do a first assessment of where to use coaching solutions.
- Develop the coaching concept: This important step clarifies exactly how coaching can be effective in your company. Consider the desired benefits, the areas of application, the coaching forms, the resources available etc and develop a company-specific coaching concept. This will provide the frame for all decisions on coaching. For example, if you decide for executive coaching for the top layer of leadership only, that will drive very different strategies than if your decide to build a coaching culture throughout the company.
- Ensure the availability of required resources: Before you get going with your coaching concept, make sure you have the people, knowledge & skills, time and energy, the budget and the backing of the key stakeholders that will enable you to implement the plan. Most importantly who are the coaching sponsors and champions? Are they ready, willing and available to help make this happen?
- Prepare carefully: Planning and preparation are critical, especially if you are now introducing coaching in a strategic way, when in the past it was just ad-hoc. You need to ensure your plan covers all aspects, right down to having thought through how you will evaluate the results, before you get started. This is particularly relevant in that it is often helpful to establish a baseline against which you can measure progress.
- Introduce coaching /the coaching programme properly: A professional approach to the communication and launch of the coaching programme will help to establish its credibility and generate demand. Involve the key sponsors/top management in communicating the initiative and remember to provide plenty of information and promotion, as most people under-communicate by a factor of 10.
- Enlarge the coaching initiative step-by-step: It’s a good idea to start small (but beautifully-formed) and establish success, then to grow the coaching programme.
- Manage and maintain the programme: Pay attention to the coaching programme and monitor its progression, supporting appropriately and continuing to promote it. Make sure you deal with any glitches quickly and continuously improve the programme. For example, if you’re developing internal coaches, their CPD and supervision is important as part of this maintenance.
- Evaluate effectively and carefully: Evaluate both quantitatively (hence the baseline in 7.) and qualitatively. If you have sold coaching with particular benefits, you need to have set up a system whereby you can measure those benefits. In qualitative evaluation you need to get useful feedback, and still guarantee appropriate confidentiality.
- Develop the concept and measures further: On the basis of this evaluation, you will develop the coaching programme further. This may be spreading the reach of coaching, introducing new coaching forms, possibly even stopping coaching in a certain domain, where it has not been delivering results.
These primary implementation activities are part of the Value Chain and need to be taken in context. For more information on the Value Chain and on the 7 frameworks for the successful use of coaching in organisations, please visit www.bresser-consulting.com. The book is available in both paperback and electronic versions through leading retailers, including Amazon.
If you would like to discuss these tools or the implementation of coaching is companies further, please do contact me, I’m happy to get involved in conversations on this topic.