How we work with clients
They seek out an understanding of the broad issues facing the company and take a more strategic approach, which leads to quite different conversations. - CEO, Health Industry
Organisations pay for executive coaching with an expectation that their investment will yield significant benefits for the organisation as well as for the individual. This is an aspect of executive coaching that distinguishes it from other forms of coaching; the person being coached isn’t usually the person paying for it. We work to a tried and trusted process with all our clients, to ensure the delivery of outcomes that are meaningful for the sponsoring organisation and all relevant stakeholders. Taking one-to-one executive coaching as an example, our process works as follows:
STEP 1 The Brief
At the beginning of an assignment we take a detailed brief from the client. We seek to establish:
- The likely focus for the assignment
- The ideal outcomes from the organisation’s perspective
- What the prospective coachee wants to achieve
- Other factors to be aware of in recommending a coach
On this basis we agree how to best work together with the sponsoring organisation and relevant stakeholders.
STEP 2 The Chemistry Check
After we have taken a brief we recommend the coach who we think is best suited to the assignment. We arrange for the coachee to meet with the prospective coach to see if the match feels right. If both parties are happy to proceed, the assignment begins. If either party has doubts, we arrange for another chemistry check. We conduct chemistry checks because research tells us that coaching works well when there is good rapport between coach and coachee.
STEP 3 Involving the Line Manager
We consider executive coaching to be a triangular relationship between coach, coachee and line manager.
One of the coach’s roles is to ensure that the coachee’s goals are broadly in line with immediate organisational goals. The coach manages this by meeting with the line manager shortly after the beginning of an assignment to give the line manager an opportunity to participate in the goal-setting process. In longer assignments the coach will meet with the line manager again, shortly before the end of an assignment, to check in on progress and to provide input into plans moving forward after the coaching has finished.
All our coaches are experienced at managing the triangular relationship, ensuring that the line manager is appropriately involved while respecting coachee confidentiality. This approach provides assurance that the outcome of a coaching assignment is likely to satisfy the needs of both coachee and line manager.
STEP 4 Delivering Strategic Outcomes
Coaching is often conducted in the context of broad organisational goals — such as talent management, leadership development, culture change — or simply a concerted effort to enhance overall organisational capability and performance. It may also involve remediation of behaviours that are limiting performance.
Where we are conducting multiple assignments in the same organisation, we seek to arrange regular meetings between coaches and the program sponsor. These meetings allow us to:
- Provide valuable insight on any emerging general themes or trends
- Make sure that individual assignments are headed in a direction consistent with high-level organisational objectives
Again, all of our coaches are experienced in managing these different relationships without compromising confidentiality. Negotiating these relationships effectively can be challenging, but is essential in ensuring that the organisation can be confident that resources allocated to executive coaching are contributing to the delivery of strategic outcomes. We report regularly on the progress of coaching assignments.