Upskilling | Five tips on how to implement a scalable career coaching programme

Five tips on how to implement a scalable career coaching programme

Most career coaching programmes are not designed to serve a large group of people effectively. In addition, individual coaching initiatives can be expensive, time-consuming, and inconsistent.

Given the barriers to delivering career coaching at scale, it may seem like such an initiative is a non-starter, but that needn’t be the case.

Successful career coaching programmes that operate at scale are well planned, executed based on data, and are designed around a high-tech and high-touch model that includes built-in support for learning and individualised career coaching sessions.

Here are five tips to implement a successful programme:

1. Define the business objective for career coaching

Defining the business goals of a career coaching programme will help you determine the who, what, when, and where of individual coaching opportunities.
Improving retention, engagement and productivity are all metrics that HR should be able to quantify – and all things that career coaching can have a positive impact on. At a more granular level, and to avoid individuals focusing their coaching on areas that may not link to organisational goals, coaching interventions can be linked to KPIs.

2. Establish the hot-spots where you can have most impact

When deciding where to begin offering career coaching, identify the groups, divisions, and roles in your organisation that have the most impact and find those individuals who are most likely to help you achieve your business goals. Once you’ve defined who they are, offer them coaching first.

Prioritising participants doesn’t mean necessarily limiting the programme to high-performers. There may be other valuable employees in highly impactful roles who are seeking a clear career path and opportunities for growth. Getting started with groups and teams with high visibility will help you to demonstrate your business case for the initiative with early wins.

3. Integrate career coaching with other learning, especially online learning.

Career coaching can take many forms. The most efficient way to use a career coach is to integrate the coaching programme with an existing Learning Management System (LMS) or to purchase the programme as a bundled offering. Increase the effectiveness and efficiencies of coaching by giving the coaches access to the LMS. Career coaches will know how to elevate the coaching experience for the employees by directing the learning activities to the LMS system, while providing the feedback and individual direction not possible through a portal-only solution.

4. Use data and insights to inform programme trajectories

Use data from coaching to drive your learning and development plan. When multiple people in an organisation are coached around the same general topics, trends easily emerge that can help drive other learning plans.

Of course, you won’t be able to obtain specific data on each individual’s career coaching discussions or progress. However, having access to the aggregate data about which topics people are choosing to focus on, both in the LMS and in their coaching sessions, will give you insights into organisational or team trends.

Using data and insights from initial and ongoing coaching to inform the entire career coaching programme will elevate your coaching initiatives and drive engagement. Identifying topics that can be generalised to the larger population will ensure that the coaches are focused on larger organisational needs and can move beyond simply covering the basics for every employee.

5. Prepare the culture to devote time to coaching

As part of your planning process, include a manager training session to help leaders understand what they can expect from their employees during this time. It’s critical that managers and supervisors observe employees who are taking part in coaching and comment when they see positive improvements in work quality or when they notice new behaviours emerge.

Ideally, senior leaders will also be participating in career coaching and will be able to communicate to others the importance of taking the time to participate in coaching and the value in integrating it into their daily work routines.

Workforce engagement, productivity, candidate attraction, employee retention, and business success are all challenges for which HR leaders today are seeking solutions. While there are plenty of learning and development solutions available, the challenges still remain. Online learning is not enough and career coaching models that can’t be scaled don’t serve organisational needs or meet goals. Careful planning, leadership buy-in, and a hybrid approach that combines online learning and a robust career coaching model may be the best step forward for organisations looking to solve a few of the many talent challenges facing them today.

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We ease workforce changes as people move into, within, and out of your organisation. We are the only provider of outplacement, redeployment and career development expertise that can offer you a total talent mobility solution on one integrated platform. Our contemporary and innovative approach means your people benefit from career-transforming experiences whilst you maintain engagement, strengthen your employer brand, and generate greater productivity.