A Call to Organizational Sponsors for Best Practice in Executive Coaching
There is a lot more to coach selection than scheduling interviews for three or four potential coaches with the leader to be coached. If the Company shifts the responsibility of selection to the leader solely, an opportunity to maximize the results of the coaching experience may be missed in part or entirely, adversely impacting the ROI of the coaching cost. A parade of coaches takes place when someone leading an organizational coaching function; typically, the Director of Talent/HR, i.e. the organizational sponsor, desires to encourage the chemistry between their leader/employee and his/her personal choice as the primary goal.
The leader to be coached then interviews the prospective coaches and selects the coach he or she is most comfortable with as their primary metric. That’s not best practice. A leader choosing his/her own coach from a parade of coaches ostensibly gives him/her a sense of control and ownership over the coaching experience. There is nothing wrong with the leader having a significant voice in coach selection; but the leader is only one in a handful of critical stakeholders in the coaching engagement whose job it is to ensure the best value and return on investment from the organization’s investment in the coaching engagement. Most of us have the experience of having a mentor or coach who has our best interests at heart and challenges us to grow, although vacation time with them would be furthest from our desires. The control is in keeping the choice to one of two best choices.
Firms, like ours, that provide coaches to organizations are experts in coaching and have recruited the most skilled and experienced coaches, trained those professionals, and closely supervised their performance over time.
The coaching provider knows best how to match and deploy coaches for any given engagement and it is about replicable and consistent process that gets measured results. This why we at Partners have chosen Contextual Coaching as our process and coaching platform.
Contextual Coaching simply means coaching with the organization in mind and aligning what individual leaders do best with what their organizations need most. This process calls for the coaching coalition, comprised of the Company sponsor, the leader herself, the leader’s manger and the coach. The stakeholders in the coaching engagement all bring different perspectives and expertise to the table. It is here where the coalition decides if the leader and the organization is ready to act.
In an ideal scenario, the fully-engaged stakeholders will work collaboratively — in real time — to select one coach based on:
- What the organizational sponsor believes the organization needs.
- What the leader perceives he or she needs to grow and develop.
- What the leader’s manager feels the department needs from the leader to be coached.
- The coaching provider knows who is the best coach(es) to meet those needs.
- Most important, is the leader ready to be coached and is the organization committed to the coaching’s successful outcome.
If any of the critical stakeholders in the original coaching coalition don’t carry their weight in a balanced coach selection, the company is in danger of returning to the parade of coaches and failing to maximize the coaching results. The most successful coaching engagements require the complete engagement of everyone in the coaching coalition.