Coaches from all over the world have shared their knowledge and their skills during this years ICF International Coaching Week! I am inspired!
It is abundantly clear that coaching is being used in organizations across the globe more now than ever before. But how?
According to an article in Advancing Executive Coaching – Setting the Course for Successful Leadership Coaching called What Clients Want: Coaching in an Organizational Context, there are five levels of coaching in organizations.
I have found this to be true in the organizations I have worked with.
Level One Coaching – Ad Hoc
Coaches are engaged by individuals or by an HR business partner to assist an employee in their growth and development.
In my experience: These have typically been high potentials operating at a senior leadership level, or groups of emerging leaders. This is the most common type of coaching I am asked to do. Individuals who are on a growth path feel ready to take on a new role or want to build bench strength or leadership capacity. They need a confidential thinking partner. They reach out to me for a proposal on the work. Then they run it past their manager for budget approval. They get the green light to proceed and we start coaching. Some have opted to finance their coaching personally because they are seeking professional development that is unrelated to their current role.
Level Two Coaching – Organized
Senior HR staff allocate resources specifically for coaching and develop a process to integrate coaching as a part of a larger initiative to bring greater maturity to the learning practices of the organization. More formalized standards are outlined for coach selection and employee participation.
In my experience: These are the engagements in which organizations create a roster of coaches that meet the standards that they have identified as important. When an employee or team is seeking a coach, they are directed to a list of pre-approved coaches and provided with a process for making a selection. This is most common among the public sector organizations I work with. I have been involved in helping organizations create their coach rosters and processes. I have also been on various rosters over the years. This is an excellent approach for bringing coaching into organizations. It allows for involvement from both the individual being coached and the sponsoring organization.
Level Three Coaching – Extended Coaching
Coaching is fully integrated into the HR overall strategy, and coaching is a highly regarded and recognized part of the leadership development and talent management initiatives. The selection of coaches, criteria for coaching and opportunities for coaching are primary areas of focus.
In my experience: Organizations reach this level when they have a champion at the top of the who is aware of the overwhelmingly positive impact that coaching can have in employee growth and engagement. This individual is a strong driver for the process and also fully understands the critical role that coaching can play in talent acquisition and retention. Coaching is not an extra or a luxury. It is written into the learning and development strategy and is a line item in the budget.
Level Four Coaching – Culture
Coaching is a scalable means to increase team and organizational performance and is used in a wide variety of ways including coach training for managers, executive coaching for leaders and provision of coaching skills in-house.
In my experience: Organizations who posses a strong coaching culture see coaching as so important that they have invested heavily in making coaching skills available across the employee population. Whether through introducing one model or several, supervisors, leaders and teams are encouraged (and sometimes required) to learn how to coach and to continue to build their coaching competencies.
Level Five Coaching – Driver of Business
Coaching is built into the strategic planning process to increase involvement and engagement of a significant part of the workplace.
In my experience: This is a rare and wonderful find. We can all learn much from these organizations. My hope is that workplaces aspire to this level and integrate practices that will help them reach it over time. Launching coaching at level one or two is a good place to start.
So, as we reach the end of another annual week of celebrating and promoting coaching I find myself energized by the possibilities ahead. I’ll keep on coaching, of course. And, I’ll continue to be an advocate for coaches who are growing their skills and the organizations that invite them in to do their important work. Onward we go!!
Be sure to download my Coaching Week Giveaway. It’s available for International Coaching Week only.
Get the book Advancing Executive Coaching – Setting the Course for Successful Leadership Coaching for more information on the five levels I mentioned in this article.
And if you have had a positive ICF International Coaching Week experience, post a comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Author: Cathy Shaughnessy
Cathy Shaughnessy is a PRISM award winning ICF Master Certified Coach and author of the book series The Really Competent Coach. Cathy coaches senior leaders, mentors credentialed coaches, trains fledgling coaches and helps organizations build strong coaching cultures.
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