The key to reaping the full benefits of executive coaching is to secure company-wide buy-in and commitment. Here’s how.
Tailor Your PitchExecutive coaching has different meanings for different people and different organizations. The applications of executive coaching are far-reaching; it’s critical to understand how different organizational stakeholders are likely to reap the greatest benefits. The sales department might be struggling with high costs or low customer satisfaction ratings. On the other hand, the marketing department may be struggling with leadership issues that have given rise to a toxic working environment. It’s important to understand and appreciate how executive coaching might be applicable to different stakeholders. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to tailor your pitch to specific stakeholders and more effectively secure buy-in.
Demonstrate the Value of Executive CoachingOnce you’ve developed an understanding of the benefits of executive coaching as they pertain to different parts of your organization, it’s important to communicate the ultimate value—the "So what?" The more stakeholders understand how they can benefit from executive coaching, the more incentivized they’ll be to adopt, implement, and embrace it.
Consider, for example, that the marketing department is struggling with leadership issues among many of its managers. It’s important for stakeholders (the vice president of marketing, the chief marketing officer, and so on) to understand the specific ways executive coaching is able to address and rectify the situation. Explain the purpose and value of relevant executive coaching instruments, including developing human synergy, emotional intelligence training, and assessments such as 5 Dynamics, Myers-Briggs, and HBDI. When the tangible results are readily apparent, stakeholders are more likely to cross the metal chasm preventing them from embracing executive coaching.
Obtain Employee SupportAny skilled salesperson appreciates the value of recruiting "product champions" and proponents as a means of obtaining organizational buy-in and support. Most employees yearn for the opportunity to participate in executive coaching or would like to see their organization implement it. The more effective you are at demonstrating high demand for executive coaching, the more successful you'll be in building a business case for it. It can be beneficial to administer anonymous surveys and polls among employees asking whether they’d like to participate in executive coaching or whether they appreciate its value. Senior management will be less likely to resist change when there is strong demand from their employees.
Calculate ROIThere's nothing like cold, hard numbers to drive home the impact of executive coaching. To effectively calculate the ROI associated with investments, it’s important to clearly outline the objectives. The table below delineates the top 10 competencies of C-suite level leaders that can be addressed by executive coaching. Identify the highest-priority objectives, determine the associated costs, and assign a monetary value to each primary objective.
Competencies of C-Suite Level Leaders
||Positive Impact to Executive and Employees
||Positive Impact to Business
||Distorted sense of self
||Increased awareness of blind spots, enhanced leadership abilities
||Increased ability to meet objectives, increased business performance
|Interpersonal relationships, listening skills, and empathy
||Inability to build and foster a collaborative work environment
||Improved relationships with leadership, co-workers, and stakeholders
||Increased employee satisfaction, increased retention rates
||Inability to affect positive change
||Increased levels of motivation, inspiration
||Increased business performance
|Leading during times of change
||Lack of adaptability in times of transition, “change fatigue”
||Increased sense of involvement, decreased sense of uncertainty
||Increased competitive positioning, increased global positioning, increased financial performance
||Confusion, unclear direction
||Increased business transparency, reduced conflict
||Improved brand image, improved internal/external communication
|Motivation and engagement, leading with vision and purpose
||Low levels of productivity
||Increased felt responsibility, increased engagement levels, increased sense of purpose
|Building effective teams
||Misaligned strategy, missed deadlines
||Increased opportunities for career advancement, improved workplace culture
||Improved product/service quality, shorter time to market
|Strategy and strategic thinking
||Short-term focus, inconsistent business results
||Increased sense of pride
||Enhanced long-term planning efforts, more consistent ability to deliver business results that meet/exceed forecasts
|Working with uncertainty and ambiguity, decision skills
||Low levels of engagement
||Decreased levels of absenteeism, decreased stress levels, improved workplace culture
||Improved innovation processes, improved risk management
|Mentoring relationships, listening skills, empathy
||Lack of leadership development opportunities, strained internal and external
|Increased opportunities for personal and professional growth
||Increased customer loyalty, increased customer service, improved diversity and inclusion efforts
Source: Based on the top 10 coaching topics for C-suite level leaders as outlined by Korn Ferry’s research.
Want to learn more? Check out my new book, The Art of Executive Coaching.