Coaching & Leadership Development

Leveraging career coaching to support leadership development

By Jen Oleson, Operations Manager, Career Management

Can you imagine a time in your life when you would use a coach? For many people, a sports coach or a personal trainer will come to mind. Professional athletes use coaches to support their development, facilitate effective team communication and dynamics, and excel in a competitive environment. The coach’s role is to inspire and enable its athletes to grow, develop competencies, and support the team in achieving a goal. For these same reasons, organizations and their leaders can benefit from coaching.

What is coaching?

John Whitmore, the author of Coaching for Performance, says, “coaching focuses on future possibilities, not past mistakes.”

By focusing on the positive aspects of a situation, we can create environments for growth mindsets to flourish, enabling us to identify future possibilities and progress towards the desired outcome.

Imagine this scenario: a manager comes to you for advice on how to move a project forward when the project team doesn’t agree on the next steps. As their leader, you have two options for helping them:

1. Advise them on the solution to the problem

2. Coach them through it and maximize performance

Coaching is defined as a partnership between a qualified coach and an individual client sponsored by the organization. The coach facilitates the individual’s thinking, learning, and development to help bridge the gap between where they are now and what they must do to get where they need to be.

How can organizations leverage coaching?

Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has impacted organizations and leaders. Workers have more flexibility than they experienced pre-pandemic, reshaping how people work. Remote work is also a new norm. Many employees are reluctant to return to pre-pandemic ways, leaving companies and their leaders to mitigate the impacts on their workforce and bottom line. Trends like the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, or the rise of independent workers have left organizations and leaders with talent engagement and retention challenges.

To work through these challenges McKinsey & Companyfound that leaders of resilient organizations invested in coaching and recognition programs.

Organizations count on leadership to align employee engagement, commitment, and productivity with business strategies and path-forward plans. To support leadership in achieving these objectives and to foster a culture of coaching, organizations should consider providing executive coaching and training on how to hold effective career coaching conversations.

Executive coaching

Employees are not leaving organizations; they are leaving leaders. Investing in leadership development through executive coaching can serve your leaders and organization well, with a significant return on the investment. The ICF reportsa 70% increase in individual performance, a 50% increase in team performance and a 48% increase in organizational performance on the benefits of investing in executive coaching. 

But what is executive coaching?

Executive coaching, sometimes called leadership coaching, positions leaders and senior managers for future success by equipping them with the skills and tools to lead teams through change and maximize performance. It encompasses the definition of coaching — a partnership between a qualified coach (executive or leadership coach) and an individual client (the leader) and is sponsored by the organization.

More than that, executive coaching aims to enhance leadership or management performance and inspire continued development. Coaching is often customized to the individual and provides an in-depth understanding that facilitates self-awareness, learning, and development to help leaders get unstuck and lead effectively.

When an organization experience high turnover and reduced productivity, leaders are expected to facilitate positive change. Executive coaching is a proven method for supporting leadership and management development that contributes to a psychologically safe and engaging environment for everyone.

Career coaching

Leaders can leverage career coaching through career conversations to engage employees and support organizational development. Career conversationsare a tool to help leaders identify employee career aspirations and create development plans to support individuals who wish to advance their career goals.

Holding career conversations is critical to engage employees and supporting organizational development. Gallupsuggests that leaders can increase team engagement and productivity by providing more meaningful feedback and support.

Holding effective career conversationsis a strategic way to do this. Having a successful career conversation can take some practice. As a leader, you can be the one to initiate the conversation and help keep it going, but at the end of the day, the employee must be the one willing to stay motivated to keep it focused. If leaders, managers and employees are unfamiliar with career coaching conversations, consider providing them training or support to hold them effectively.

Benefits of investing in leadership development

When organizations invest in leadership development initiatives, like executive coaching and career conversations, they create systems that support growth and development. They keep leaders focused, inspired, and empowered to achieve goals, overcome challenges, and effectively lead people through organizational and career-related change. The trickle-down effect of implementing leadership development programs within your organization can transform your culture from a dependency hierarchy to one that fosters growth and interdependent mindsets that embrace learning and accountability at the individual and team levels.

If you are interested in learning more about how People First HR can support your leaders executive coaching and career conversations, connect with us to learn more.

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