Developing Leaders and Teams
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Internal coaching is becoming increasingly popular as coaching and mentoring continues to evolve. It makes sense for lots of reasons. It Increases the returns from a limited budget and consequently, makes it possible to bring the value of coaching to more people across the organisation.
It taps into and utilises the coaching potential from within the organisation. Your organisation will get two for the price of one as your coaches are developed as well. It also accelerates talent development with a more personally focused approach.
However, we’re convinced that, it’s a step that needs thought, planning and plenty of leadership support if it is to deliver it’s potential value. Done well, internal coaching will transform your organisation and positively impact the culture. However, it’s not without challenges and we’re happy to share our experiences and reflections about internal coaching.
Internal Coaching best practices
There are three key areas that need consideration if you’re thinking about introducing internal coaching.
The first one, which sounds obvious but needs mentioning, is to be clear on why you’re doing it and what your objectives are. Where does it fit with other processes? What will be the benefits for individuals and the organisation? How will you measure the programmes success? What does internal coaching mean for your organisation? How are you going to communicate all the information and get people engaged and excited about it?
The second area can be categorised as the process considerations. An early question to answer is the scope and scale of the coaching that will be available. Unless you’re very fortunate and have an almost limitless budget, your coaches will have a day job. A big risk of internal coaching is that it becomes unsustainable. Often this is because there is insufficient capacity within the coach pool. Therefore, it’s better to start small and build gradually. Another benefit with this approach is that you can iron out small issues easily and quickly.
One easy way to achieve the correct scale is to decide on the target audience. Who is going to benefit from working with an internal coach?
Another process consideration is the mechanics of the programme. By mechanics, we mean elements such as coach selection, matching, review processes, line manager involvement etc. This will be influenced by the administrative resource available and the culture of the organisation. We’ve worked in organisations with a strong culture of personal ownership for development and high levels of engagement. In such cultures, people need less structure and process – in fact, too much will have a negative impact. Other organisations lack these elements. They may be more paternalistic or they are bureaucratic and process orientated. So, the culture of the organisation, particularly in relation to learning, is a key consideration.
The final key area for consideration is the selection and training of coaches. Not everyone is a good coach – even with thorough training. Deciding how you will select coaches is very important. We recommend seeking volunteers but being clear that they will go through a selection process. This method will tell you who is motivated and keen to be a coach.
Once you’ve selected your coaches, careful thought must be given to their training and then their continued support and ongoing development. Much of this will be dictated by the considerations outlined above. Take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped with both initial coach training and continuous professional development for internal coaches.
The Food for Thought workshops have benefited our coaches tremendously. The value is evident in the positive feedback I have received from the coachees across the business. Caroline and her team designed and delivered a very professional and credible programme of workshops. Much of the success of these workshops is due to their approach.Leigh Naylor
Read case studies from our internal coaching clients
How we’re helping clients with Internal Coaching
- What size & scale is best?
- Is there leadership support?
- What’s the strategic fit?
- What cultural factors exist?
- How to find the best coaches?
Internal Coach Training
- What’s the common language?
- What models are best for you?
- How much time is available?
- Do you want to accredit?
- Is there a pass / no pass?
- Will you provide supervision?
- Can you build internal supervision ability?
- What’s mandatory CPD?
- How will you evaluate coaches?
- How to build a community of practice?