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  • Writer's pictureMike

The business case for coaching

"The majority of teams wouldn't pay for an hour of their manager’s time, while select teams would pay $150–$500 for that same hour; the difference is managers who are effective coaches"

I help organisations grow. Leaders often tell me 50% of their teams don’t have the right capabilities to do their job or the capacity to upskill and acquire the right skills. About half of their teams say they don't have effective management to help them develop or to do their jobs. What I have found is that when asked, the majority of teams wouldn't pay for an hour of their manager’s time, while select teams would pay $150–$500 for that same hour; the difference is managers who are effective coaches.

“Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve” - Bill Gates

In Stephen Covey's The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness he writes about the four needs of the individual and the organisation — Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit.

For an organisation to create impact, they must have a combination of these needs met and the coaching layer between team/manager is pivotal to all facets required:

· Body for fiscal health

· Mind for growth

· Heart for relationships

· Spirit for meaning and contribution

Why don't we have better coaches and leaders?

Many reasons, but here is the typical one - when people move up from technical roles to leadership, they don’t get leadership training, or they are thrust into leadership training where they are 'trained' for a whole day or week on academic leadership models. This may not include coaching as part of the syllabus. It isn't uncommon for the immediate feedback on these courses to be positive, but what happens three months after the program finishes? What happens when they try to apply what they have learned in their workplace? Do leadership training participant’s attitudes towards coaching, developing and leading teams change? The research suggests not - 80% of training is lost within 90 days of course completion.

Can we be better coaches and/or leaders and/or managers?

The difference between coach, leader and manager is a discussion for another day. But the topic of whether they are born or can be made is important. There are lots of views and I would say 'yes' to both, but ultimately what 16 years in the leadership space has shown me, is that all leaders, managers and coaches can be made or can be made better. The number 1 executive coach in the world Marshall Goldsmith agrees.

How do we get better?

Many organisations provide leadership training and what is missing is making it stick. How do we make the training stick? My coachees know the answer I have "practice makes permanent". Workplace coaching unlocks the potential of the coachee because it enables future self-directed learning and development (Passmore & Lai, 2019). It also helps them apply it to the specific role they perform.

High quality coaching unlocks the growth required to create that impact that Covey talks about and brings benefits for individuals, organisations, stakeholders and customers. Above all it satisfies teams’ desires to be led and guided (not managed, also another topic for another day).

Be a good coach

Aim to be in that $150-$500 of value per hour for your teams. Also seek good coaching to unlock the potential of yourself. Those who know me will be looking for the proof point:

One of my coachees in a B2B sales organisation approached me with the problem of being deemed more expensive by their customer who found a cheaper competitor. Rather than price-match or race to the bottom, we spent two hours together working on how we change the conversation from price to value. That coachee got the deal signed without hard negotiation and at 17% more cost than the cheaper competitor.

Dedicated to the coachee who encouraged me to pick up the pen again.

I’d love to about hear your experiences of how you coach teams or want to be coached. Please do comment, like and share the article. If you would like to see more articles about business leadership subscribe for the latest content.

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