It’s International Coaching week and we’re excited to take this opportunity to answer some common questions regarding executive coaching, best practices, and how to implement a winning leadership development program to help your employees and the business thrive. Guest blogger and executive coach, Paul Tripp, outlines the best practices for employing executive coaching at scale.
Executive Coaching at Scale: Benefits and Best Practices
What is coaching at scale, and how does it differ from traditional one-on-one coaching?
Coaching at scale refers to coaching a large group of individuals simultaneously. This process differs from traditional one-on-one coaching, which involves a coach working with a single individual to help them achieve specific goals.
Think of it like this, coaching at scale is simply one-on-one coaching – for the many.
Coaching at scale can take many forms, such as executive coaching, digital coaching, leadership coaching, group coaching, team coaching, and other digital programs that allow coaches to reach more people simultaneously.
The key difference is the level of personalization and attention given to the individual.
In traditional one-on-one coaching, the coach can tailor their approach to each individual client’s specific needs. While this is still true for coaching at scale, there is another layer added on. This layer ensures that all coachees in an organization are working towards measurable growth in areas agreed upon by the organizations they support. The coach is then able to facilitate discussions aligned with the mission of the organization as well as the growth goals for every individual they work with – no matter where they are in their career journey.
Coaching at scale offers a cost-effective and efficient approach to reach and serve a larger audience, while still enabling a personalized learning experience that elevates leadership performance at every level of the organization.
What are some best practices for aligning executive coaching at scale with the overall strategy and goals of an organization?
This is where it’s beneficial to work with a strategic partner who can help guide you through this process and how best to implement coaching at scale. Below, we’ve outlined some general guidelines, but it’s always best to tailor this approach to the individual needs of your organization.
- Define clear objectives and outcomes: Before launching any coaching at scale program, it is essential to define clear objectives and outcomes aligned with the organization’s strategy and goals. These objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) and communicated to all stakeholders involved in the coaching program. In addition, it’s best to communicate these objectives early and often, even as the program matures. Reinforcing the goal is key to staying on track, long after kickoff.
- Define your mission for executive coaching: Once you have clear objectives in place, it’s time to define your mission statement. This should clearly align with, and more importantly, guide every decision you make in regards to rolling out your new executive coaching program. When crafting your mission statement, it is important to consider all stakeholders as well as employee sentiment. Are there departments in the organization that are more in need of executive coaching than others? Have you surveyed employees recently and discovered areas of concern that coaching can help tackle? Consider a broad range of factors when crafting your mission statement. If all else fails, start with why and let that be your guide. Why executive coaching? Why now? According to Simon Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So when all else fails, Start with Why. Let it be your guide.
- Identify your target audience: The coaching at scale program should be designed to meet the specific needs of the organization as well as the program participants (or coachees). This could include high-potential employees, middle managers, executive leadership team, or other stakeholders. Understanding the needs and preferences of your target audience is essential to ensure that the coaching program is effective and well-received.
- Identify the key traits of effective leaders at your organization: How do you go from good to great? Well first, you need to identify what “great” actually means. Compile a list of some of the top performers in your organization. What traits to they share? When their team gives them positive feedback, what are these comments focused on? Having concrete examples of what greatness looks like helps you define your north star. Keep in mind that everyone is unique and what works for one group or department may not work for another – and that’s ok. At an organizational level, the key traits or skills your leaders should possess need to be inclusive, accessible, and be able to be adopted by a diverse group of individuals from across the organization.
- Align coaching content with the organization’s strategy and goals: The content should align with your organization’s strategy and goals as well as your executive coaching mission statement. This means that the topics covered in the coaching program should be relevant to the organization’s objectives and support the development of critical skills and competencies required to achieve those objectives. AceUp’s Leadership Competency Model includes 4 competency clouds – managing self, managing others, managing change, and managing organizations. Each component of the model focuses on specific competencies which drive and measure behavioral change. The competencies can be tailored to fit the needs of your business as well as the skill gap areas you’ve identified for program participants.
- Evaluate program effectiveness: It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of the coaching at scale program regularly to ensure that you are delivering the desired outcomes and identify areas for improvement. This can be done through surveys, feedback sessions, or other evaluation methods that allow for ongoing monitoring and adjustment of the coaching program.
- Monitor and measure results: To ensure that the coaching at scale program is aligned with the organization’s strategy and goals, it is essential to monitor and measure results. This may include tracking metrics such as employee engagement, performance, or retention rates, as well as assessing the overall impact of the coaching program on the organization’s bottom line.
What are the benefits of coaching at scale for individuals and organizations?
Executive coaching at scale can offer several benefits for both individuals and organizations. Below are just a few!
Benefits for individuals:
- Access to world-class coaches and experts in the science of coaching: Individuals can receive expert guidance and advice from experienced coaches who enable them to improve their performance and gain new skills. Coaching at scale brings reskilling and upskilling to a whole new level while encouraging a culture of leadership development and knowledge retention.
- Flexibility and resources at your fingertips: Coaching at scale programs are tailored to your busy schedule and pace, utilizing scale-enabled technology to offer options like flash coaching, digital coaching, and personalized content. These out of pocket resources combined with personalized learning modules can transform the way you approach coaching and easily fit it into your hectic lifestyle.
- It’s cost-effective: By partnering with an external coach for personalized coaching sessions, your team can remain focused on achieving greater organizational objectives. The added benefit of scale? Improving productivity while reducing per-person costs.
- Networking opportunities: Executive coaching at scale programs often provide individuals with networking opportunities and the ability to connect with other like-minded individuals who share their interests or goals. In a hybrid working environment, these networking sessions can prove value both for the individual in their role and in terms of strengthening the culture of an organization.
Benefits for organizations:
- Increased productivity: As mentioned before, executive coaching at scale can help organizations increase productivity by providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs more effectively. In the end, this is a win-win for organizations and their employees.
- Improving the employee experience: Coaching at scale programs can be a valuable tool to connect and unite teams under a shared purpose. By providing opportunities for growth and development, learning and development programs can improve employee engagement, retention, and foster a greater sense of connection among team members. This, in turn, has a positive down trickle effect on every part of the organization. For example, research from the Hay Group finds that highly engaged employees are, on average, 50% more likely to exceed expectations than the least-engaged workers
- Succession planning: Scaling executive coaching programs supports robust succession planning for organizations. At a time when baby boomers are leaving the workforce in droves, it’s more important than ever to ensure equitable access to learning and training resources as a means of future proofing your organization. Executive coaching helps you do just that by providing consistent training and personalized coaching to employees of all levels. This ensures equal and engaging developmental opportunities in the organization and sets the foundation for emerging leaders to grow.