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5 Keys to Scaling Leadership Coaching in Your Company

by Thuy Sindell, PhD. and Milo Sindell, MS.
Published on May 4, 2017

Want to hear something alarming?

The Institute for Corporate Productivity conducted research with 665 global organizations and found that half of managers admitted to hoarding talent – keeping their best employees in their current roles. That’s not all…

Lending credibility to the premise that talent hoarding can have a detrimental impact to an organization, the research also cited that high-performance organizations were twice as likely to prioritize movement of talent, compared to low-performance organizations, which were 2.5 times more likely to say the movement of talent doesn’t matter.

Ultimately, our experience helping clients with our C4X solution supports the idea that leadership coaching is best utilized when it is extended to more than just the top 1% of an organization’s hierarchy.

But how can leadership coaching be scaled effectively? We further draw on our experience to share with you these five keys to cultivating leadership coaching with a wider breadth.

Have a Clear Process and Structure

In the simplest terms, leadership coaching initiatives need to consider two elements:

  • Identifying which groups of leaders will be coached, and
  • At what point in their career paths.

As a starting point, organizations need to create a guideline for the timing and constituency of the leadership group to be coached.

It’s also important to outline which internal resources will manage the coaching function. Is it the Human Resources department or a specialized Learning and Development team?

How will the process and structure be provided – in-house or through a leadership coaching firm like Skyline? Perhaps, it’s a task assigned to a range of companies and individual coaches. Either way, ensure you have the process in place to vet and manage vendors and coaches. As with any business expense, create a framework for measuring your investment. Whether an in-house program or a vendor program, you’ll want to track the broader development goals, as well as track the success of each individual leader and the efficacy of their coach. (Hint: that’s all baked into our C4X platform)

Communication of Process, Structure and Expectations to Key Stakeholders

The people in your organization that have a vested interest in the success of your leadership coaching program include coaches, leaders, managers, and the HR department, and others. This group needs to be keenly aware of how the coaching program is structured and what the objectives are. These things need to be evangelized throughout this group of stakeholders, and agreed upon by all – the team deploying the program and senior leadership sponsors. Communication will range from setting the stage of the initiative, timing, roles and responsibilities, and other key factors.

It’s not a one and done communiqué either. There is no “set it and forget it.” Ongoing communication between the stakeholders is so crucial.

Partnering with the Right Leadership Coaches

The good news when it comes to leadership coaching? You have lots of options. The bad news? You have lots of options to weigh. Depending on the size of your initiative, you will want to evaluate the various coaching options –including (1) partnering with individual coaches, or (2) with a company and their respective solution.

We’ll help guide you with a few pros and cons of both options.

Working with Individual Coaches

Pros: You can identify specific qualities to which you will coach, down to the smallest detail
Cons: (1) Can be time-consuming; (2) You must trust what the coach says at face value; (3) It’s a high-risk proposition if the coach is not a fit and leaders perceive coaching as a waste of resources (which can torpedo your coaching initiatives fast)

Working with a Company and Their Solution

Pros: (1) One point of contact; (2) Coaches that are vetted and seasoned; (3) Consistent, streamlined processes **
Cons: May not have coaches that are hyper-specific on a certain subject matter

Clear Goals that are Differentiated by Leader-Level and Organization

People are unique; each of your leaders is unique and each leadership level wrestles with their unique issues. Thus, we’ve found that the most effective leadership coaching programs must consider the unique needs of individual leaders, positions, and specific challenges facing each organization. A cross- company coaching program is a prime opportunity to look at company objectives, and the leadership skills required to execute and achieve those goals. Some words of advice: When working with the leadership team:

  • Look at your leadership bench strength
  • Review succession planning
  • Identify the objectives of each organization

As you identify the various strata of individual skills, organization goals, and broader company objectives, use those analyses to further identify any specific competencies and themes that align with achieving company success.

Use Tools to Track and Measure Success

This is where our expertise comes into play. Our clients find our C4X solution to be supremely helpful in tracking and measuring the success of leadership coaching initiatives. You must identify company-wide, organization-wide, and individual objectives – as we stated in the previous section. But whether you use C4X or not, the visibility you have into those objectives and how they’re being met can be crucial.

At the company level, identify goals that are aligned with specific leadership objectives – like “increasing revenue by 10%” or “50% increase in employee satisfaction.” At the organization level, identify goals that are linked to individual leader performance and leadership team performance.

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