Making the Business Case for Coaching: A 5 Step Plan to Get Buy-in

Coaching Mentoring Training Skills Expertise ConceptTo gain a competitive edge, organizations are going beyond traditional methods of developing their people and turning to coaching principles to bring out the best in their employees. According to research by CIPD, 51 percent of companies now consider coaching crucial to their strategy. Over 70 percent of organizations say they benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills, and 86 percent report they have more than recouped their investment in coaching (ICF).

So what are the advantages to spending part of your organization’s learning budget on coaching?  Coaching principles benefit the individual and the organization in several areas.

  • Coaching engages the learner and encourages ownership by drawing out the learning that comes with training. Creating or discovering solutions helps the employee feel empowered.
  • Coaching focuses on the learner’s specific needs quickly, concisely, and in a way group training cannot.
  • Coaching adapts to the learner’s preferred learning style which is easier to do on an individual basis than with a large training group.
  • Coaching offers a more flexible approach to development than do group training programs.

In spite of these advantages, learning and development professionals sometimes find that it’s not easy to make a business case for expanding the use of coaching principles. Sound familiar?  Start with this step-by-step approach.

  1. Assess what resources need to be in place to instill a culture of coaching by anticipating potential barriers and obstacles.
  2. Specify investment costs, benefits, outcomes, and examples of success.
  3. Link coaching to key metrics including strategic organizational goals, competencies, vision, and values.
  4. List potential benefits of implementing coaching versus risks of not moving forward.
  5. Identify executive allies and early adopters.

A coaching program can be combined with training or launched on its own by skilled managers, colleagues, or outside consultants. To help you as you build your plan, here are some of the more popular ways organizations apply coaching principles:

  • Coaching to support learning. Research shows that productivity, retention, morale, and employee relationships improve dramatically when training is combined with coaching. In case studies where coaching was added to training, productivity rose 88 percent. Without coaching, productivity rose only 22 percent.
  • Coaching as a leadership skill. Training leaders in coaching skills provides a way to create a safe, focused, and supportive environment for productive conversations. Research by Manchester Consulting shows that the use of coaching principles significantly improves working relationships among supervisors, direct reports, and their respective teams and demonstrates a 5:1 return on investment.
  • Peer group coaching is another resource used increasingly with department and project teams. It offers a forum where people can not only learn about how colleagues are using their skills but also share successes and challenges.
  • Executive coaching encourages leaders to take a step back and gain objective feedback, then challenges them with new ways of thinking and behaving. As a result, leaders are better able to focus on strategic areas of self improvement such as actions or attitudes that may limit their influence.

Coaching is a valuable medium for personal development that can dramatically help individuals and groups focus on purposeful action. Use these tips and resources to help you to tailor coaching to your organization’s needs and budget so that you can build your case for utilizing coaching principles throughout your organization.

About the Author

John SlaterJohn Slater is a Senior Director, Client Solutions for The Ken Blanchard Companies working out of Blanchard’s Toronto, Ontario regional headquarters in Canada.

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