In this blog Biran Yilancioglu explores the benefits for organisations of investing in an external coach.
Why invest in an external coach?
There’s no denying the benefits of a coaching culture – an environment where coaching is the norm is often one where employees and leaders are engaged, motivated and productive.
But there are times when the responsibility for professional development needs to be shared. Times when individuals, even a company, will benefit far more from working with external coaches.
Here’s what an external coach can provide for your company:
Specialist skills and experience
Some leaders and managers will have received training in coaching. But they may lack the depth of expertise and experience of a certified, professional coaching practitioner who will have undergone more extensive training.
External coaches have specialist knowledge and training in the complex theories and practices of coaching and know when and how to utilise them. For example, the Process Communication Model is particularly effective in giving managers and leaders a practical framework to understand personality differences and how to engage with them more constructively.
Particularly in situations where internal coaching leadership has been ineffective, investing in an external coach can be invaluable to reach goals, resolve conflict or settle discontent.
Another point to note is that external coaches often have a specialism. This means an organisation can seek out an external coach with the relevant industry or situational knowledge and match them with the needs of the company.
No other agenda
As a leader, you have multiple responsibilities – the company deliverables, your own performance goals, the targets of those you lead. And this is not always conducive to an effective coaching partnership with those in your organisation.
An external coach doesn’t carry the load of an internal agenda. Because they don’t drive the direction of the company or set employee targets, an external coach has the luxury of being able to focus solely on coaching – they are free of accountability, authority, company politics and preconceptions.
External coaches can be objective partners, motivated only by the aim of helping the individual understand issues and fulfil their potential. And when there is no agenda, open conversations, creativity and increased performance can emerge.
While discretion is expected in any coaching situation, it is more difficult to trust in absolute confidentiality when the coach has an internal role. Managers have other responsibilities and allegiances. They may be involved in decisions about promotions, pay and performance reviews. Consciously or otherwise, this could impact on their ability to maintain confidentiality and impartiality outside of the coaching partnership.
Because they are not involved in internal decisions or obliged to give feedback on conversations that take place within the coaching environment, an external coach can create an environment where trust can flourish.
Creating a safe, relaxed, confidential environment where people feel confident to talk openly about their feelings and situation, without judgement or repercussions, is essential to find a breakthrough. That’s when the power of coaching can really come alive.
The right outcome
Coaching often starts with a story of dissatisfaction. As a result, an employee may have decided there is no other way to resolve their issues but to leave the company. In this case, the employee is less likely to feel comfortable talking openly with an internal coaching leader.
An external coach, who has no investment in whether the employee leaves the company or not, can focus on finding a solution that is both right for the individual and the company.
The focus for the coach would first be to help the employee understand why they wish to leave, before helping them explore a range of solutions. Often, the employee finds a different perspective – a resolution within the company – and freely chooses to stay. But without the input of external coaching, the company could have lost that talent.
In other cases, the coaching helps the employee understand that the best solution is, in fact, to move on. It may be that they aren’t a good fit for each other and their role isn’t fulfilling the expectations of either party.
Either way, both parties can arrive at an outcome that is right for them, without the pressure of internal agendas or expectations. And in many cases, this turns out to be right for the company, too.
While the ROI of coaching services can be difficult to measure, there is increasing evidence in its favour. More and more companies worldwide are starting to see external coaching as a proactive, positive way to manage, motivate and improve the performance of their teams.
One study found that 86% of companies rate their ROI favourably for their investment in coaching, stating that they at least made their money back. What’s more, according to the International Coaching Federation (ICF) leaders who participated in coaching saw 50 – 70% increases in work performance, time management and team effectiveness.
The success of an organisation relies on the wellbeing, engagement and collaboration of its leaders. Investment in external coaches who can develop leaders without the complications of a multiple agenda, judgement or bias, will see huge benefits for your business and everyone in it.
TPC Leadership has been providing specialist external, executive coaching for leaders since 2000, working with clients across over 110 countries. Get in touch to learn more about how our coaches can reap benefits for your business.