Implementing any program within an organization generally begins with creating buy-in at all levels of the organization. Adding coaching to training is no exception. To earn buy-in, have conversations with key players. Ask for their thoughts and ideas. Provide information on the impact of similar coaching programs at other organizations. The more people are involved in planning, designing, and implementing a program, the greater level of support you will have.
Begin the design process for a coaching program by defining the goals, target audience, and resources. Examples of some goals a coaching program can be designed to achieve are listed in the previous post in this series. The more specific and measurable the goals of the program, the easier it is to determine its success.
After defining goals and resources for the program and generating support, the next step is to identify program participants. If your organization will use internal coaches, determine how you will provide training for them. A study done by the American Management Association shows that external training for internal coaches is most effective. Coach training programs can also serve as a professional development opportunity or as a component of leadership training. You will want to ensure the training is aligned with the ICF’s 11 core competencies.
Coach training generally includes
- an explanation of how coaching is different from other roles, such as mentoring or training
- ethics (you can tailor this section to your organization’s code of ethics)
- understanding and working with different personalities
- listening skills, assertive communication skills, and effective questioning techniques
- focus and motivation
- coaching with supervision
- case studies.
The benefits of coach training go far beyond enhancing the success of a coaching program. Learning such skills increases the ability of a leader, manager, or supervisor to engage and motivate his employees.
If you decide to use an external coaching program, ensure that it is approved by the ICF. The ICF lists over 300 approved programs through its Coach Referral Service. LinkedIn is another good place to begin searching for external coaches. When selecting an external coaching program, you should consider whether it offers continuing education units (CEUs) that meet the requirements for other professional designations. Of course, the location and cost are also considerations. Some programs are available online; others will be delivered onsite.
After implementing a coaching program, support and engagement can be maintained with continued communication. Some organizations communicate results from such programs through an internal blog or bulletin board, some use a newsletter, and others add coaching updates to the their meeting agendas.
Support for participants in a coaching program should also be demonstrated by ensuring appropriate and helpful resources are available. Such resources can include the following:
- Time—either pre-determined or flexible. Let participants know that coaching is part of their work days.
- Space—small meeting rooms or even break rooms. Let participants know which rooms are available, and when, for coaching sessions.
- Information—recommend articles, books, and websites that have useful information for both coaches and coachees.
- Skill development tools—these may include training sessions (both in-person or online) or just-in-time resources like mobile learning apps, content libraries, training videos, and so forth.
- Encouragement and recognition—when individuals being coached achieve results, acknowledge and celebrate their success.
Read more on coaching in Cathy’s prior blog post.