Why Is Coaching Becoming More Popular?
What is driving the uptake of coaching, and what are its benefits?
by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions
Organizations are increasingly using coaching as a means by which to grow and develop their people and businesses. What is driving this growth?
For one thing, the ever-increasing pace of change requires organizational leaders to develop quickly, and in the context of their current jobs. Traditional training programs are often set up to train or educate large numbers of people, but not to focus on a specific individual’s development needs. Coaching offers an individualized development option without removing leaders from their work.
Second, the war continues for leadership talent. As the hunt to find and retain talent intensifies, many companies have viewed coaching as a way to compete in the marketplace to attract and retain that talent.
Third, organizations find that the feedback gained through coaching seems to stick better, and leaders liked the opportunity to work with an unbiased external professional. More leaders, as well as many intact teams, have found the coaching process helpful for their development—and as leaders grew as executives, they look to develop their reports and cascade the coaching process to them in turn. This creates leverage and synergies over and above those realized from just coaching the leaders.
Coaching is used to assist high-potential or high- performing leaders, rather than those experiencing performance problems. Today, name-brand organizations such as Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, and Unilever have large managed coaching programs serving countless executives and use pools of highly-screened coaches, in all parts of the world.
Coaching is also moving internally, with many organizations using external coaches to train internal practitioners to coach their leaders. This approach is especially useful for companies who view their organizational culture as highly unique, and are looking to build this into their culture and develop the necessary in-house capabilities. Internal coaching is most frequently being implemented at the mid-manager and first-line supervisor level. External coaches remain the most popular solution for executives.
Organizations are also increasingly looking to create a coaching culture. Companies are training their leaders to better coach others in work-related situations. As more organizations understand the results of coaching, they are offering leader-as-coach training.
The benefits include one-on-one focused development, specialized personal learning, confidentiality, and personal accountability for improvement. In addition, coaching provides leaders the opportunity to develop individual capabilities faster than most instructional programs can, and in areas where training programs do not exist.
So, coaching is becoming more important and intrinsic to developing a successful organization. External coaches are increasingly used to assist in the development and retention of senior executives and leaders, whilst working with their reports to develop leaders-as-coaches and assist in the creation of a coaching culture. This builds the capabilities and bandwidth to grow and develop their people and businesses, and helps organizational leaders to develop quickly against a backdrop of an ever-accelerating rate of change.
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