A few weeks back I attended a talk presented by Mia O’Gorman and hosted by Animas, called ‘Adventures in Corporate Coaching’. The talk was essentially an introduction into the world of corporate coaching. I now have a fair understanding of personal coaching (what this entails, how the process works, some of the issues clients may present with), so I’m now keen to gain an understanding of what corporate coaching involves and how this differs from personal coaching.
Mia has a wealth of experience of coaching in corporate environments, one of the things I learned from her is that corporate coaching is usually sought for one of the following two reasons:
- An organisation makes the decision to support the development of its staff through coaching. Coaching may be offered to a specific individual or a number of staff who require additional support with their roles, or those who feel they may benefit from self-development (they may have a specific goal they’re looking to achieve, may want to improve their confidence, perhaps they’ve been promoted or are facing a particular challenge in their career, or this could be an individual who is under-performing and requires additional support). The coaching may be provided by someone internal who has received training – or a professional coach, external to the business.
- A CEO/Director/Senior Manager (usually someone in a leadership position) is looking to develop in a particular area, for instance they may want to enhance their working relationships or alter their management style, they may be looking to readdress their time management, work/life balance etc. Coaches tend to be sourced externally.
One difference with corporate coaching compared with personal coaching is that often the individual will be coached on an issue(s) relating to their work environment, for instance some of the examples noted above. This is not always the case however, if an employee is unhappy due their personal circumstances or is facing a challenge outside of work (for instance financial difficulty or a relationship breakdown), this could affect their performance at work, so it may be useful for them to have coaching on other areas of their life. Because of this, it can be useful for a coach to have a holistic approach; or at least be prepared to address other issues outside of the working environment. It’s worth noting however that the scope of the coaching should be agreed between the coach and the client and/or individual being coached upfront, so all parties are clear on the remit and expectations can be managed.
Mia explained the general process when it comes to coaching in a corporate environment:
One way of establishing the brief is to initially meet with the client/line manager/person who has organised the coaching to understand their objectives, then meet with the client and the individual being coached to discuss the objectives/remit of the service together and gain some input from the individual being coached. This helps to ensure everyone is on the same page. Lastly there may be a session between just the coach and the individual where they have the privacy to speak more openly prior to the coaching commencing.
This may be a one off session but more often than not takes place over a number of sessions (the length, the frequency and number would usually be agreed in advance).
The organisation may require some specific measures as to how successful the coaching has been; or the coach may have their own way of determining this. Either way, it is usual for the coach to have a discussion with the individual privately following the coaching and another with the client and individual (and perhaps a further discussion privately with just the client) to reflect on the process.
The process appears a little more formulaic within corporate coaching compared with personal coaching, and can clearly be more complex when multiple people are invested in the outcome(s).
The Ridler Report was also discussed during the talk. This is a source of information about the world of coaching from corporate coaching practice Ridler & Co. The report includes research, analysis and insights about coaching, which can be useful for businesses looking to hire coaches or train their own coaches internally. Some of the long term objectives for companies in investing in the report (and their staff) include the development of individuals, which can help to gain and retain staff and increased business performance.
To demonstrate how well recognised the Ridler Report is, numerous organisations from various sectors are involved with providing content including: Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline, BBC, Nestle, John Lewis Partnership, Quantas, Save the Children and Lloyds Banking Group. The aim is that the report will continue to provide useful insights and developments within the coaching world and be a ‘global resource’ for organisations to utilise.