I saw first-hand the benefits of an internal coaching programme having implemented and supported a scheme over several years, but reflecting back it seems many of these benefits were hidden from the wider view. This made it challenging to promote the service and to gain buy-in from the business at times, as we could not use the individual experiences and successful coaching outcomes for the obvious reason of confidentiality, and instead had to rely on more general messages around coaching and its success stories.
In terms of gaining buy-in from the business to invest in such a scheme, this is one instance where ROI is slippery, and it is better to take a ‘big-picture’ holistic view that considers the wider benefits. Of course, all the individual instances where coachees were helped with their particular issues add up to time saved, less conflict, potentially less grievances, less HR time etc. However, there is also a wider business benefit. Just the fact that employees know that coaching is available, should they need it – sends a message that theirs is an organisation that believes in supporting its people, and one that wants to support their development. That is a powerful message, and I believe was reflected in our repeated high scores in employee surveys on all the people and development indicators.
Of course, as we worked with and supported our coaches several themes as to why individuals came to coaching were apparent:
Coaching through change
Coaching was used a lot by employees when there was any kind of large-scale change such as a restructure in their team – as a useful way to deal with the uncertainty and all the accompanying emotions. Our feeling was that by having access to an internal coach they had a neutral ‘safe’ place to discuss what was happening, this will have helped the individual deal with an anxious and unsettling time. In terms of the restructure, this would have meant things may have progressed more smoothly, with less conflict and friction, less issues for HR and the line manager to deal with, and the ‘change’ process would have been worked through much quicker than it would have been without that support mechanism for the individual.
Coaching for interview support and practice.
We found our coaching service was used frequently by those that wanted assistance when preparing for an interview, whether for an internal or an external role. One individual had several unsuccessful attempts at applying for internal roles and finally sought some guidance through coaching and then had a successful interview outcome. Again, coaching for interview support may be a strand of the restructure process, or just something that is promoted and offered independently. Whichever way, having an organisation that actively enables employees to do well at interview is one which supports their career development generally.
Coaching for those exiting the organisation.
It may sound a strange concept to assist someone to leave your organisation, but if there is no longer job satisfaction or a person has merely outgrown their role, then a lack of motivation becomes almost inevitable. In some cases, the best outcome for all concerned is for that individual to move on to pastures new. Coaching is an excellent tool to help an individual who finds themselves at a crossroads in their career to make that decision and will benefit the organisation as you will be more likely to ensure a smooth handover and transition.
Coaching for conflict situations.
The beauty of coaching is that it offers a ‘safe space’ for those that may be undergoing any kind of conflict, whether with a line manager, colleague or others. Without this safe space and support, the cost could be counted in reduced productivity, higher absenteeism through stress, and ultimately people leaving. Although coaching is not specifically designed to combat the fall-out of bullying and harassment, the neutrality of the coach means that individuals can explore options and practice techniques for dealing with situations.
Talk to us if you are interested in implementing an internal coaching programme, we’d love to help!