An organization is only as effective as its leaders. The Washington Post reported that 4.3 million people left their jobs in January of 2022. At the same time, hiring the right talent is competitive, so it’s important to create a sense of attraction that brings people to you and helps them want to stay in the organization. A 2022 LinkedIn Global Talents report found that professional development is a key driver in retention, and a December 2021 Gallup article opined leadership development as a critical part of helping organizations thrive.
That is where coaching comes in. Coaching is a highly effective leadership development strategy that helps engage and develop competencies for an evolving workplace and fuel your organization’s succession pipeline.
Understanding The Types Of Leadership Coaching
There are three main types of leadership coaching, each with their own areas of greatest effectiveness and their own limitations.
1. Enterprisewide Leadership Team Coaching
Enterprisewide coaching is highly effective in creating organizational alignment, goal focus and culture. Leaders at the same level representing different parts of the organization gain awareness of the impact of their interpersonal and functional behaviors on organizational performance, and they learn shared behaviors needed for the business.
2. Intact Team Coaching
Intact team coaching is designed to refocus and create collective behaviors that support success by focusing on open dialogue, team reflection, what’s working, and the barriers to success, feedback and support for new behaviors. Team coaching is highly useful when teams need to create a clear team vision, gain role and responsibility clarity, and develop team operating norms and identity.
3. Executive 1-to-1 Coaching
Executive 1-to-1 coaching sessions are tailored to the leader’s development in their current position or in a role they aspire to. From my experience, maximizing 1-to-1 coaching requires a deep sense of self-awareness and an understanding of how one’s behavior is impacting others.
Important to coaching is determining what kind of coaching is needed and the limitations. Executive coaching isn’t a substitute for therapy and understanding the past; rather, it centers around developing skills focused on leadership behaviors that impact others. In team coaching, the coach should be focused of helping the team find its outcomes rather than directing the team to outcomes. At the enterprise level, ensuring that the coaches understand the organization’s goals and competencies will support the alignment and impact of coaching leaders across the enterprise.
What To Look For In Leadership Coaching
Leadership coaching is an investment in you and your organization. This form of personal and organizational development with leaders is designed to improve their skills to lead themselves, their teams and the organization by focusing on competency-based behaviors, such as emotional intelligence, team development, active listening, creating and maintaining change and working across the organization. To get the most out of leadership coaching, whatever program you work with should include certain features:
• Accreditation: Work with an accredited coach from a well-known certification body, such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The ICF certifies training programs, mandates the number of coaching hours needed to reach certification levels and requires re-certification.
• Coach Chemistry: Coaching is based on trust, and your willingness to be open will increase the likelihood of success.
• Experience: Look for coaches who have worked at levels and/or roles comparable to yours. This will increase their ability to relate to your issues, and their sharing of their own experiences will be more likely to help you avoid pitfalls.
• Coaching Process: Effective leadership coaching develops the leader through inquiry, self-reflection and action. Hence, active listening skills are a must. It’s not about the coach telling you what to do from their perspective.
• Successes: Leadership coaching is about reaching your goals. A coach should be able to articulate how leaders who have worked with them benefited from the relationship.
Why Consider Enterprise Coaching?
Having enterprisewide leadership coaching can be enormously helpful for providing clarity for leaders’ specific leadership goals as well as the enterprise as a whole. The variety of benefits includes:
• Uncovering Growth Opportunities: Most organizations probably have untapped people with talents that, when used, benefit the person and the organization. Coaching can help leaders develop and use those skills.
• Creating An Enterprisewide Growth Mindset: Enterprise coaching prompts employees at all levels to look at themselves with a growth mindset and see setbacks and challenges as opportunities for growth, so they are more likely to tackle challenging projects that can positively impact your company. Growth mindsets give staff members a vested interest in themselves.
• Positively Impacting Team Performance: When your leaders develop effective and consistent behaviors, employees within the team perform better. Coaching helps teams improve their overall team awareness and strategic decision-making.
• Enhancing Company Culture: With an enterprise view on coaching, teams develop shared behaviors that define a performance culture, such as psychogical safety, feedback and a willingness to take risks. In effect, everyone on the team has a stake in performing well.
• Instilling Leadership Skills Across The Organization: When your leaders are developing skills that increase their ability to work across departments and divisions, they are increasing the organization’s strategic alignment to its “north star.”
The Bottom Line: Coaching Pays For Itself
I’ve heard from various chief human resources officers, “My training budget is modest; I can’t send everyone to conferences and training programs.” But development is a business imperative. The cost of replacing a senior leader can run as high as five to eight times their annual salary in recruiting costs, productivity loss, organizational knowledge loss and strategic misalignments.
Leadership coaching is not just for the top level, however—it’s for all levels in an organization. Every leader who has a coach will learn new skills and practice new behaviors. These positive behaviors resonate with others, making teams more effective and increasing retention.
Dr. Andrew Rahaman is the co-founder of bluSPARC™ a learning and development company with coaching at its core. Drawing on extensive experience in curriculum design for executive education, Andrew is a trusted advisor and coach in talent management, leader development, and executive coaching both domestically and internationally. He works with clients to develop leadership capacity, high-performance teams, and provides tools and processes that enable organizations to meet their strategic initiatives and maximize growth opportunities. Andrew holds a doctorate from The George Washington University and is a contributor to Forbes Business Council. Andrew can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.