Our recent internal coaching survey showed that 64% of organisations now have Internal Coaches and more than a fifth of these have over 30 Internal Coaches within their organisations.
This high level of internal coaching is indicative of just how far organisations have come in understanding the link between coaching, behaviour change and high performance.
More organisations than ever are investing in Internal Coach training and the creation of internal coaching functions, but do you really know what impact internal coaching is having or are you relying on blind faith?
Strikingly, our survey revealed that organisations appear to pay little attention to the organisation of Internal Coaching programmes. Few organisations set expectations for their Internal Coaches regarding who should be coached, how frequently they should meet or how long their sessions should be. In fact, many Internal Coaches appear to operate as unchecked consultants who have complete discretion about how to manage their coaching relationships.
In theory, this level of empowerment is honourable. In practice, however, a laissez-faire approach prevents organisations from approaching their internal coaching strategically. Without strategic intention, how can you know whether changes in behaviour or performance are a direct result of coaching or that the coaching has had any beneficial impact on the business whatsoever?
This is a huge blind spot but if you fix this issue you will soon see the impressive results that can be achieved from internal coaching programmes. With more of a strategic approach, effective, well-trained Internal Coaches have the ability to increase engagement, improve relationships, resolve conflict, mobilise talent, unlock potential, and ultimately, drive business results.
So, what has led organisations to invest time and effort in coach training and accreditation to then show little interest in its commercial results? With the promise of such fantastic results, why would you leave this to chance? Where does this blind faith come from?
Perhaps it’s a case of not knowing how to set clear objectives for coaching assignments or how to track progress and measure results. Maybe, the desire to try has been numbed by all the cloak and dagger around whether you can measure the ROI of coaching due to its confidential nature – you can’t measure that, can you? Well, quite simply – yes you can!
What transpires between the Internal Coach and their Coachees is indeed private but the purpose of the coaching assignment, its objectives and its outcomes can and should be shared – moreover agreed in advance and reviewed with pre-agreed stakeholders. Without this transparency and disclosure, you’ll never really know whether internal coaching is effective and in what ways it delivers value.
It’s little wonder that 87% of the organisations we surveyed didn’t know the ROI of their internal coaching, how could they if they don’t know what their Internal Coaches are actually doing. Just imagine what results you could achieve if your coaching objectives were clearly defined and linked to an organisational goal. Not only could the coaching process be expedited, but it would also be possible to monitor business indicators and report exact commercial results.
Unfortunately, having blind faith in internal coaching has resulted in mediocre (or non-existent) ROI. Eventually, without results, confidence will be replaced by despondency and dissatisfaction, which will critically undermine the internal coaching process. Sadly, blind faith is a naïve, short-lived and unsustainable strategy. However, if you open your eyes and replace faith with clarity, focus and measurement, you will be better positioned to ensure the future of internal coaching in your organisation.
Whilst it is surprising and pleasing in equal measure to discover that Internal Coaching is so prevalent in organisations it is also abundantly clear that until more strategic attention is placed on Internal Coaching, it will only ever have a marginal impact on organisational performance. When purse strings tighten it is the programmes that appear superfluous that will be the first to go. For Internal Coaching to survive and prosper, you must be able to demonstrate a return on investment. Internal Coaching needs to be held directly accountable (and recognised) for delivering real commercial benefits. If you exchange blind faith for 20:20 laser vision, you will be better equipped to closely follow your investment, manage inputs, assure quality and measure the fantastic results that can be delivered through internal coaching.
Notion is a global expert in behaviour change and coaching. Our internal coaching programmes have a strong strategic edge and a clear focus on delivering commercial outcomes. Click here to find out more about how our internal coach training can help you to maximise the impact of your coaching programmes, or call us for an informal chat on +44 (0)1926 889 885.