Coaching has grown in popularity in organisations during the last couple of years, as it is a recognised effective employee development method (CIPD, 2020). In a survey by the CIPD (2015), more than ¾ of organisations offered either a coaching or mentoring programme. However, just because coaching may be available in organisations, it does not necessarily mean that it will be a successful intervention (Clutterbuck & Merrick, 2014). Before launching any development activity, including coaching, there a few factors to consider which contribute to success.
We will explain some of these considerations (Knights & Poppleton, 2008) and help people that oversee development activity decisions, whether in a Human Resources (HR), Learning and Development (L&D), Organisation Development (OD) department or the Senior Leadership Team to decide if coaching is the best intervention for their organisation.
This factor relates to long-term strategies and short-term necessities that the organisation has set. Coaching offerings should be integrated into the wider L&D, HR and business strategy. At this stage, organisations may want to consider:
The coaching offer within an organisation needs to be compatible enough with the current culture so that it does not get rejected but also challenging enough to make a difference. Additionally, it should be adequately reinforced e.g., professional supervision, additional recourses, etc. Key considerations are:
Organisations should be clear about the overarching purpose for coaching using SMART-type (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) objectives at a company-wide level. The purpose should also link with business priorities to make it a relevant intervention. Some key considerations:
There is no ‘one size fits all’ model of coaching, so organisations should carefully consider what the best type may be weighing the benefits and cons e.g., external coaching vs. internal.
It’s important to consider how the business perceives L&D or HR and therefore the buy-in that will occur if coaching and mentoring were offered. Conversely, there is a wide variation of understanding about the utility of coaching and mentoring across people professionals. For initiatives to succeed, people professionals (along with line managers) should be champions of coaching e.g., providing support and having relevant skills and knowledge.
Senior management support is integral to the success of coaching activities. When there is a high degree of support offerings can be high-profile, however, if senior members do not endorse coaching, any offerings of this nature will be low-key and experimental. Therefore, it is worth considering:
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CIPD. (2015). Learning and development-Annual survey report [online]. Available: https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/learning-development_2015_tcm18-11298.pdf
CIPD. (2020). Coaching and mentoring, Factsheet [online]. Available: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/development/coaching-mentoring-factsheet.
Clutterbuck, D., and Merrick, L. (2014). What every HR director should know about coaching and mentoring strategy [online]. Available: https://davidclutterbuckpartnership.com/what-every-hr-director-should-know-about-coaching-and-mentoring-strategy/
Knights, A. and Poppleton, A. (2008). Developing coaching capability in organisations. London: CIPD.