The HR Challenge: Creating a Network of Internal Coaches
Following the first successful experiences, coaching activities in big and middle-size companies are increasing. Coaching is now considered the best tool to develop leadership competences and bring out people’s full potential.
Nowadays many Human Resources Managers are facing several strategic challenges:
How to become “smart buyers” of external coaching services (how to select a free lance coach, which coaching processes to implement, how to align coaching with the other staff development activities, how to measure the results?);
How to create and develop a network of internal coaches in order to optimize investments and create a corporate coaching culture?
In the experience we made while supporting European companies in developing their own network of internal coaches, we’ve seen that there is a series of decisions that a HR Manager has to make:
What is the coaching strategy and which is the role played by the internal coaches in this strategy? Will coaching be a cost or a profit center? If it is a profit center, which fee can be negotiated? To whom will coaching be offered? What will the internal coaches need to increase their credibility within the organization? What level of sponsorship is necessary?
Characteristics and requisites of internal coaches.
Which background and what level of corporate experience do they have to have to be able to understand the coachee’s needs and challenges? Which certifications do they need to have obtained? Many international agencies, such as NASA and IBM, request internal coaches to be certified by the International Coach Federation. Which assessment tools do they need to know and be competent in? How will internal coaches be selected? How will they be assessed?
- Coach training and continuing education
Which training courses to chose for internal coaches’ development? How to chose a coaching school or a coaching organization whose courses are aligned with the coaching competencies of the ICF? Or will the company design its own training program, and maybe apply to have it approved by ICF? Which continuing education program and what mentoring and supervision policy will it implement? Who will be mentoring and supervising the internal coaches?
How will coaching activities be organized? Who will be responsible for matching coach and coachee? How will the coaching sessions be tracked? How will results be measured?
Many surveys show that internal coaching has a significant impact on coachees, on clients, partners and on the organization. Amongst the benefits there is a better engagement, a higher productivity and a better performance, with the consequent positive impact on the business results. Ibm.com Europe, one of the clients we are supporting in the development of a network of internal coaches, is seeing the benefits resulting from the investment made on training over 40 internal coaches all over Europe. Thanks to these coaches the company is becoming an “empowered organization”, as it was defined by the Vice President for Teleweb and Brand Sales.
In terms of ROI, different studies show it can range around 600% (the ICF survey on 2165 coaching clients from all over the world confirms that, for those able to provide figures to calculate the ROI on their coaching programs, it has been around 700%).
Internal coaching can be a powerful flywheel and generate change, knowledge and results. Nevertheless, it is important that the initiative is designed, planned and implemented in a strategic way, and is aligned with the long term vision and objectives of the organization.