What Business Leaders Expect and Strategies to Get There

This benchmark study is the result of a partnership between Cylient and the Center for Creative Leadership that gives voice to 347 leaders regarding the trends for utilizing coaching in organizations. While the strong trend toward growth in coaching continues across a wide base of industries, the variety of ways in which coaching is being used also seems to be expanding. In addition to individual coaching – which continues to be focused more on high-potential leaders than just on derailing leaders – coaching skills workshops, team and group coaching and coach-to-coach mentoring are emerging as additional coaching activities that  organizations use as they expand the use of coaching.

Senior leaders in non-human resource functions represented 80% of the survey population so the voice of the business is clearly being heard, and for most of these leaders, creating coaching cultures is top-of-mind. The surveyed leaders believed that seismic shifts in their organizations’ performance are possible if coaching is ingrained in their culture. The leaders believe that a coaching culture increases focus on developing others and managing performance; increases sharing and utilization of knowledge; leads to more participative and transparent decision-making; and makes learning and development a top priority.

The effective management of coaching as a strategic initiative appears to be lagging as coaching needs to be more fully integrated with talent management and other leadership development initiatives. The expectations for what coaching can deliver still exceed what is being achieved. When leaders were asked what outcomes they expected from coaching and how effectively these outcomes were being realized, wide gaps emerged. Creating coaching cultures requires a new approach to change, and the leaders identified five key strategies to achieve the desired end:

  1. Seed the organization with leaders and managers who can role-model coaching approaches.
  2. Link coaching outcomes to success of the business. Develop a competency model with strategic coaching goals, tactics and measures around coaching behavior.
  3. Coach senior leadership teams in creating culture change. Over twice as many leaders wanted team coaching as those who said they were receiving team coaching.
  4. Recognize and reward coaching-culture behaviors. Highlight role models and the positive outcomes produced by these new behaviors.
  5. Integrate coaching with other people-management processes.

The results of this study indicate that leaders are confident that coaching cultures benefit the business in ways that include:  increasing employee engagement, job satisfaction, morale, collaboration and teamwork. Yet, these same leaders recognize that their organizations may be out of step in their current use of coaching compared with the potential of coaching. The outcomes and benefits of coaching cultures identified by the leaders in this study provide encouragement that the rewards for achieving these cultures will be well worth the investment. Assisting senior leaders and their teams to develop coaching skills, weaving these into an overall talent-management strategy, measuring the business impact and driving coaching deeper into the organization all represent rich opportunities for realizing the full potential that coaching offers.

Additional Authors

Merrill C. Anderson, Ph.D., Cylient
Merrill Anderson is a business consulting executive, author and educator with over twenty years experience improving the  performance of people and organizations. He is currently a principal and chief business architect of Cylient, a professional services firm that offers coaching-based leadership development, culture change and MetrixGlobal® evaluation services.

Merrill has held senior executive positions with Fortune 500 companies including chief learning executive and vice president of organization development. He has consulted with over one hundred companies throughout the world to effectively manage and measure strategic organization change. He has over one hundred professional publications and speeches to his credit including his latest book Coaching That Counts, co-authored with his wife and leadership coach Dianna Anderson, MCC, that broke new ground by presenting an insight-based leadership coaching process proven to deliver strategic value to the organization.

Merrill was recognized as the 2003 ASTD ROI Practitioner of the Year and more recently was recognized along with Caterpillar, Inc. with ASTD’s 2006 Excellence in Practice award for Managing Learning to Ensure Strategic Alignment. His work has been recognized as best-in-class by the American Productivity and Quality Council, the International Quality and Productivity Center, Training magazine, the Corporate University Xchange and other professional industry groups. He has been widely quoted in the international press on issues of organization change and ROI.

Merrill has served as adjunct professor for graduate learning and organization development programs at Drake, Pepperdine and Benedictine universities. He earned his Ph.D. at New York University, M.A. at University of Toronto and his B.A. at the University of Colorado. Merrill may be reached at merrill@cylient.com.

Gina Hernez-Broome, Ph.D., CCL
Gina Hernez-Broome served as senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership’s Colorado Springs campus from 1996-2009. Gina was project manager and lead researcher for the Center’s coaching research and evaluation efforts. Her research on  coaching has focused on coaching best practices, the use of technology in coaching, and coaching effectiveness. Additionally, she designed and was lead faculty for the Coaching for Human Resource Professionals (CHRP) program as well as the Leadership Development for Human Resource Professionals (LDHRP) program. Gina has authored numerous articles in professional publications including most recently, the co-authoring of a chapter on ecoaching in Virtual Coach/Virtual Mentor (D. Clutterbuck & A. Hussain (Eds), in press) and has presented her work at a variety of conferences including those sponsored by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Academy of Management, the international Leadership Association, and the International Coaching Federation.

Prior to joining the Center, Gina was an associate for a Denver-based consulting firm and worked closely with a diverse mix of client organizations, designing and facilitating customized training. In addition, she gained extensive experience designing and  implementing various assessment processes including certification processes, assessment center technology, and 360-degree feedback processes. Gina holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from Colorado State University. Gina can be reached at broomeg@hotmail.com.

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