How to build an executive coaching program

In recent years, coaching has become fashionable in many organizations and has captured the hearts and minds of those who see coaching as a revolutionary approach to management and leadership.

At its best, coaching is not simply a new buzzword for describing a more “people centered” style of management. Rather, coaching is a distinct and different paradigm for working with people and accomplishing results.

It is a way of relating and communicating in which the coach is committed to the commitments of the coachee or team and is competent to provide an opening for new possibilities and unprecedented actions to occur.

The historical culture of management is rooted in a commitment to predict or forecast the future and then control human behavior and processes to achieve that culture’s aims.

By contrast, a coaching culture is grounded in a commitment to create or invent the future and then empower the authentic commitment and actions of those being coached.

In effect, this is a shift in the locus of power and responsibility from the manager to those they manage.

In most organizations, coaching is not a formal role, but a body of competencies and a “way of being” in the world that can empower people in many roles, including the role of manager.

When looking at the nature of the action produced, in my experience, coaching is virtually synonymous with leadership.

Executive Coaching optimizes the potential of the leaders as well as the performance of key individuals.

Coaching is experiential and tailored to the individual’s needs.

It’s a commitment from the organization to the individual, an investment that results in increased productivity and retention of key people as well as a recognition that the individual is worthy of support and development.

By making an investment in your management team, you are making an investment in the future of your organization.

Coaching programs can take the form of one-on-one coaching sessions with direct heads or coaching engagements with third-party Executive Coaches.

Executive coaching is not like other areas of personal development – coachees are held accountable.

The rules often change in executive coaching. The Executive Coach has to hold coachees responsible, and some either don’t know how to do that or don’t want to.

What are involved are the following processes:

1. The program begins with one-on-one meetings with the appropriate Executive or the Manager to determine needs, intended outcomes and success criteria. According to Michael Haid, Chief Learning Officer, a business value chain can be used as criteria as it is a specific mechanism by which a coaching approach ensures that strategic objectives are translated into a practical focus for coaching and desired business outcomes.

For example:

1.1 Leader Competencies

a) Developing talent

b) Customer focus

c) Strategic thinking

1.2 Business Outcomes

a) Talent retention

b) Customer loyalty

c) Strategy-driven culture

1.3 Organization Capabilities

a) Talent management

b) Service excellence

c) Goal clarity/alignment The initial meetings are an opportunity for the Coach to gather essential information on the coaching candidate’s strengths, developmental needs and ultimate potential with the organization.

2. This is followed by a preliminary exploratory interview and an in-depth confidential discussion with the coachee to ensure understanding of and agreement on the purpose and goals of the program.

Identifying managers’ strengths and developmental areas means answering questions such as:

What is their management style?

Can they hold people accountable?

Do they share ideas in a collaborative setting?

Can they organize their own time, or do they rely on an assistant?

Answering these questions can help frame an effective management executive coaching program.

3. The next process may include the use of various assessment tools including but not limited to a 360° assessment, a personality assessment and a psychological assessment.

Executive Coaching programs are built specifically for those in Management positions, so understanding their personality and how they relate to job performance can enable them to work most effectively with their teams.

Further, obtaining feedback from peers can reveal strengths that managers didn’t know they had or areas of development that might not be readily apparent.

4. The most crucial process is to develop and implement an action plan.

Action plans should contain measurable short- and long-term goals that are revisited consistently.

Metrics should be determined before the coaching begins.

It’s important to measure the performance of both the organization and the individual leader.

Organizational success measures can also be used to set goals and evaluate progress at the business unit or enterprise-wide level.

Ultimately, measurement helps to determine the impact on such critical business outcomes as productivity, strategic change, employee engagement, leadership brand alignment, talent attraction and retention.

5. Finally, constant communication as well as frequent check-ins and feedbacks, if necessary, can help managers work toward measurable goals and increase effectiveness.

The leader’s proficiency at achieving targets is assessed at regular intervals.

Improvement in outcomes predefined by the organization and the achievement of strategic objectives become the ultimate measurement of coaching success, especially where the coaching engagement involves organizational leaders.

* Dr. Flor M. Glinoga, PMP, MBB is an internationally recognized Management and HRD consultant. With a B.S. in Psychology, M.A., and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Development Management, with a certificate course of Project Management at Wharton School of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, USA, Flor has a wealth of knowledge about individual, group, and organizational behavior. She is a Project Management Practitioner (PMP) and a Master Black Belt (MBB). She is the Consultant of Integrated Financial Management Systems (IFMS) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Consultant of Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV – holding company of Aboitiz group of companies) on Integrated Security Management Systems (ISMS). She is currently a Faculty in the graduate studies of Master of Science in Organizational Development of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) and MBA in People Management of Lyceum of the Philippines University. For the past thirty-six years, she has engaged individuals and organizations in the change process to increase their productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, including training on strategic business plan programs, developing leadership skills, and building self-mastery. She uses a systems approach to working with individuals and organizations.