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- 26 Oct 2015
Posted by: Kendall Hogg

Research and studies have implied that over 60% of organisations use some form of internal coaching.  When carried out with deliberate purpose and focus, it has a high 'Return On Investment'.  Some would suggest a higher impact on individual results than traditional performance management strategies that rely on appraisal ratings…What do you think? 

Interestingly, many managers have admitted having limited coaching skills and rely on meetings, giving advice and formal quarterly review sessions as a coaching proxy.  There are many coaching strategies and formal frameworks to assist your internal coaching efforts – the challenge is how to grow your coaching skills inside an already busy day packed with competing priorities…  In the Eisenhower Matrix internal coaching often falls into the “important/non-urgent” quadrant.  This article won’t turn you into an internal coaching expert – it might however, provoke some thoughts that help move the needle when coaching for performance inside your team or organisation.

Internal Coaching Element 1 – Discuss, Don’t Judge…

Internal coaching is a dialogue, not a performance appraisal.  To be effective, the person you coach must feel secure in knowing that coaching sessions are safe places to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas without the fear of being evaluated or judged.  This is one of the toughest internal challenges to overcome.  There can be real or perceived conflicts that reduce a person’s desire and capacity to share their full journey and thought process with an internal coach (particularly if the internal coach is in direct line of influence over the person’s daily responsibilities). 

If possible, appoint internal coaches from other areas of the company. It will broaden the depth and understanding of how different teams function and provide some reassurance that the coaching can remain non-judgemental.  Also has the added advantage of a different perspective. 

Aim for internal coaching sessions to be organised, safe and thought provoking.  Take time to prepare, listen and build a trusting relationship that is focused on helping the person succeed.  Effective coaching is a two-way, lateral discussion with a specific agenda based around desired outcomes.   Maximise effectiveness by building your own template and methodology for conducting coaching sessions (or ask us how, if you don’t know where to start)…

When internal coaches show they have taken the time to prepare, it adds meaning to the process.  We have intelligent, creative and awesome people – sincerity, trust and goodwill are sensed the moment a person walks through the door.  A “tick the box” managerial session will only result in a “tick the box” reflection during the session.  Don’t blow your credibility on conducing coaching sessions that lack purpose, focus and outcomes – go grab a coffee and chat about the weather instead (at least you might learn something new about each other)… 

Internal Coaching Element 2 – End Goals…

End-goals (outcomes) must be clearly understood and reviewed prior to starting the coaching process.  Help people identify areas they want to grow or improve.  Listen to their desired outcomes from the coaching sessions and help form plans/methods for moving towards those goals.   

Help people organise their own journey through open-ended questions, reflection, self-evaluation and ultimately self-management.  Your role as coach is to act as a purposeful guide that helps focus activities around agreed outcomes. Centre discussion around facts, research, data and information rather than managerial opinions or evaluative judgements.  This will help keep the discussion open and focused on their journey with reduced defensiveness. 

Internal Coaching Element 3 – Organisational Goals

Organisations have a vested interest in people.  As an internal coach it is critical to understand why the coaching is important to the company and what outcomes it may expect from the coaching process.  Being able to share and relay how the goals tie into the strategic objectives of the organisation can make an enormous difference to the focus areas a person may want to concentrate on during the coaching. 

In summary, internal coaching is an extremely effective management tool, when conducted with deliberate intent and focus.  Used effectively, it will help unpack the brilliance in people and contribute significantly to positive results.  You don’t need to be an expert in coaching to make a difference, you simply need to develop your own formula for success (or borrow one!!). 

If you want to find out more about how to become a better internal coach, please call us – we’d love to hear from you!





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