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  • Karen Stone

The ROI of Coaching: Accelerating Performance Through a Coaching Culture

Many organisations view coaching as a remedial measure - something to fix poor performers. However, when utilised strategically, coaching can accelerate performance across an entire organisation. Developing a "coaching culture" enables continuous growth, higher employee engagement and increased productivity.

2 women in the office in a conversation

The numbers speak for themselves. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, 86% of companies who invested in coaching reported increased productivity, and 96% said coaching delivered a positive ROI. Organisations with strong coaching programmes see improved retention, promotion rates, employee satisfaction and bottom-line results.

A recent Forbes article on being more coachable highlights the biggest differentiator of success in coaching engagements is how coachable the leader is. The authors of Becoming Coachable talk about building this critical competency (becoming coachable) in order to help leaders unlock their full potential and thrive.

In Dave Stachowiak’s Coaching for Leaders podcast episode 668, he interviews the authors Scott Osman and Jacquelyn Lane. Key insights from the episode include:

  • Leaders who create value at moments of inflection really need a coach.

  • Two common reasons leaders seek coaching: (1) getting support with an issue that’s tough to navigate and (2) accelerating their leadership growth.

  • Interview three coach candidates and utilise those interactions to discover different ways that you may reach your goals.

  • Coaching fees should reflect the value the organisation receives from the coaching. Most high-end coaching is funded by the organisation.

  • Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. To speed up, a coach may invite you to slow down in the immediate short-term.

So how can HR leaders develop a coaching culture? Here are some practical tips:

  1. Lead by Example - Commit to your own coaching development and publicly share your coaching goals with your team. Your participation signals the importance of coaching to them and the organisation.

  2. Train Managers - Equip people managers with coaching skills and practice to become more skilled and confident. Consistent and impactful coaching conversations should occur between managers and direct reports - authentic conversations that simply become 'leadership conversations'. This also reduces the stigma that coaching is "remedial" or requires a 'special' (aka scary!) conversation.

  3. Offer Team Coaching - Build high-performing, empowered teams through facilitated team coaching sessions focused on aligning around shared goals, taking time to reflect and creating momentum for action. The team learns the value of coaching first-hand and it becomes and powerful part of the team's routine.

  4. Provide Access - While executive coaching is helpful, make sure that coaching resources (internal or external) are available at all levels, regardless of job title or seniority. If someone's interested in building their coaching capability, provide the opportunity! Increase coaching capacity organisation-wide.

  5. Tie to Business Goals - Connect coaching to strategic business priorities and competencies. Demonstrate and communicate how coaching conversations help unlock potential, increase engagement and improve performance in your organisation. Embed it into the culture instead of executing coaching adhoc.

  6. Measure Impact - Track participation rates (set expectations of coaching engagements with the participants) and coachee satisfaction scores as hygiene measures. The true value metrics should include the correlated impact measurements including employee engagement, performance improvements (decide what metrics work for your user case) and leadership bench strength. Build and communicate ROI case studies - tell real internal stories that your audience can relate to. Continually make the business case for coaching and connect it with business improvement.


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