Pulling back the curtain on coaching

When you engage a coach for one of your employees, do you know what you are buying?

All too many of our clients complain that coaching is becoming a sink-hole into which their budget disappears and they have little or no control or sight of results.
So what can you do to ensure you are getting both results and value?

There are a few steps all HR and L&D professionals can take which will set effective parameters.

1. Select with care
A partner or director arriving in your office to say he met a ‘great coach’ at a dinner party or that their friend is starting up as a coach and needs a client is not a great selection process.

Better to choose your coaches though

(a) referrals from trusted fellow professionals
(b) qualifications
(c) your gut feel

Always do a qualification check. A one day coaching taster course is not enough.

Your coaches need to be trained through an accredited course, supervised and committed to personal CPD. Then think about limiting your coaches to a defined panel. In this way you have a group of trusted coaches who build up deep knowledge of your business culture and so quickly understand the context and working life of a new client.

2. Chemistry match
Coaching is a very personal process and good rapport between coach and coachee is essential. Select from a few biographies and then meet their shortlisted coaches for a 20 minute chemistry meeting. Most coaches are happy to do this at no-fee.

3. Scope and contract
A coaching intervention should not be an on-going, unlimited relationship. That way lies dependency and a badly managed budget. A coach should be willing to scope out and contract to do a certain number of sessions with a defined review point. The standard coaching contract is for six sessions with a review on progress after session three or four.

In deWinton-Williams we also contract with the coachee – setting out the number of sessions, objectives, limitations, fees and cancellation terms. Generally this acts as a very effective tool for focussing the learning and reducing last minute postponements.

4. Get full value
You may be paying a coach per session, but a good coach will deliver beyond the hours spent in face to face coaching. Always ask whether the coach will go the extra mile and use tools and techniques to nudge their clients along between coaching sessions – anything which drives momentum and gets you a return and results.

5. Track results
While coaching is personal and confidentiality should be assured, this does not mean that business goals have to be kept behind the curtain. In deWinton-Williams we differentiate between two types of goals – measurable business goals and private personal goals. Business goals can be shared, measured and all progress reported. That is what you are paying for. Measures, as far as possible, should be agreed at the outset and review points agreed. If there is no progress then you have to question the sense of your investment.

So, there you have it, the 5 steps to ensuring you get the best results from your coaching experience. It all boils down to pulling back the curtain and ensuring you have chemistry, clarity and consistent momentum towards your goals.