Selecting a coaching-training program for the leaders and managers in your organization is a big decision.
Your credibility may be on the line, so selecting the right program isn’t something to take lightly.
Business leaders confront a variety of coaching issues on a daily basis, so the coaching program you choose should be developed and designed specifically for a business setting.
However, as you look for the coaching program that is right for your organization, you might wonder what else should be present.
Whether you are replacing an existing coaching program or starting a new initiative in your organization, all great coaching programs should contain a few key elements.
The questions below will help you discover whether a program includes these important components; finding the answers will improve your chances of choosing a program that is the right fit, providing an effective and sustainable solution for your organization and avoiding a wasted investment in the latest short-lived trend.
1. Does the program give managers coaching skills that they can and will use often?
Leaders engage in formal and informal coaching discussions of all kinds. In fact, many of the interactions leaders have with team members and others are actually opportunities to coach. Be sure that the coaching program you select not only gives managers practical tools for developing skills for coaching, but that it also addresses other types of common, but essential, coaching discussions:
- Coaching as reinforcement (sustain and expand on the coachee’s strengths, successes, and achievements).
- Coaching for alignment (facilitate change and build commitment to new strategies, goals, processes, and standards).
- Coaching for improvement (elevate performance and overcome setbacks, shortcomings, issues, and problems).
2. What’s under the hood?
When we purchase a vehicle, we might initially be attracted to color, style, and outward appearance, but we won’t buy the car unless we’re sure it can perform. Likewise, many coaching programs come in intriguing packages, but when you look “under the hood,” it becomes obvious that these programs won’t work for most busy managers.
While glitzy packaging and catchy phrases may engage managers in the classroom, this fluff won’t generate long-term change or lasting results. Look deeper into the program to ensure that it’s usable in the real world, practical to implement, and substantive without being complicated.
3. Is the program based on real research?
Providing a reliable coaching tool to your organization is your main objective, so you need to make sure that the program you choose is valid. Do some of your own research. Has the coaching model developed from applied research? Has it been tested? A valid and sustainable business coaching program will be backed and supported by research conducted in an appropriate setting.
4. Is the coaching program customizable?
Great coaching programs have the ability to incorporate customized scenarios, examples, and business language into the educational content so that your managers can easily relate to the material. A vendor should be willing to align the coaching program with other curricula, initiatives, and systems that are central to your organization’s operations (such as your unique Performance Management System).
Customization will improve the odds that new coaching behaviors will stick: Coaching becomes part of the organization’s culture and systems when the organization’s culture and systems are embedded in the coaching process. In the end, coaching should feel like it fits naturally into the organization.
5. Was the program developed for the adult learner?
The coaching program should provide managers with opportunities to develop and practice their coaching skills so they leave the classroom equipped to use these skills immediately. Effective coaching programs have substantive, easy-to-remember models and concepts that are practical and applicable to the business world. Coaching programs should also provide tools and job aides that typical managers can realistically implement and incorporate into their daily operations.
Coaching is an important part of improving employee engagement and ensuring the long-term success of your organization, and choosing the right program is a decision that should be made with care. The questions and ideas above will help you formulate the criteria you’ll use to choose the best program for your organization—one that will help you generate positive outcomes and supplement the important work you and your managers do every day.