Forward HR | August, 2016
Getting the Most from Your Coaching Investment
Executive coaching has the opportunity to support your companyís plans for growth, accelerate your leadership pipeline, and provide you the most significant ROI of any leadership development effort you will undertake.
What criteria do you use to decide who receives coaching, and how it is delivered? How can updating or adding to those criteria better support leaders while realizing higher levels of ROI to the company?
One of the most common criteria used is a leader who is critically important to the business, along that individual who is in danger of derailing, or simply cannot keep up to the changes occurring in the business.
There is nothing wrong using the criteria of critically important leaders, along with those who need help. The problem is that it is sometimes too little, too late.
Let me suggest additional criteria and the scenarios that will support your company growth and return on investment:
- Proactive: The example provided above may work, but often brings the decision-makers and the decision too late in the game. Iíve been called in after one-on-one discussions, training, reading books, etc. Everything else has been tried and now coaching is used as the last result.
Instead, what if you and the executive team sat down to decide what type and how many leaders you needed to accomplish your strategic goals? Youíd then review the leadership talent available and worked with the individual leaders to develop individual leadership development plans.
- Positive: The example provided may work, but another issue you will face is that the leader being coached is now seeing the coaching as a negative situation. What they really hear that is if I donít make this work, Iím gone. Even more significant, youíve taken the responsibility for their career out of their hands.
I prefer to approach the development of strategic leaders by preparing them with clear expectations, what you expect, and will not tolerate. From there, offer them the pathway to decide whether leadership positions are in their best as well as developmental options to reach new levels of performance. Their perspective will be much more positive, and youíve placed the career decision back in their hands.
- Productive: I hope Iíve illustrated that the too little, too late choice may sometimes work, but, that it is often counterproductive in other ways as well. When designing and implementing leadership development initiatives, itís not just the decision or event, but the consequences that follow.
So how can we build productive coaching engagements without going through a two-year design cycle and lots of money? Many of us believe that all employees, especially those ascending to new levels or organizational leadership need clarity on six questions. These six questions come from Steve King, in his book, Six Conversations: A Simple Guide for Managerial Success.
- What do you expect of me?
- What and how should I develop?
- How am I doing?
- How did I do?
- How will I be rewarded?
- What is next for me?
By having conversations at the appropriate time, and simple processes to support the identification and development of leaders, you will be in a much better place.
So, I leave you with the 3 Pís of Success: Proactive, Positive and Productive. Find ways to add to the criteria and process that you have, and you will see the results and returns on your investment grow significantly.
Enjoy the journey!
Dan is the founder and president of Loichinger Advantage (loichingeradvantage.com). The Madison-based firm specializes in executive coaching and peer roundtables for leaders of growing Wisconsin companies. Clients value our ability to increase their leadership effectiveness, improve their insight, accelerate strategic change, and increase their competitive advantage.