Thursday, July 8, 2010

Is Coaching Just "Nice to Do?"

Jack Zenger and I have recently led some webinars regarding how to build a coaching culture within organizations. On one of these recent webinars, we had over 300 leaders and learning development professionals join us. In the course of the webinar, we asked several “poll” questions to assess what was currently happening in their organizations related to leaders providing coaching to their employees.

One of the questions we asked was, “What grade would you give the managers in your organization?” Here was the response rate to the answers:

“A”: Extraordinary coaching—making a significant difference 2%

“B”: Good coaching—having a positive impact 16%

“C”: Average coaching—helpful 43%

“D or F”: They do it so poorly it hurts more than helps 17%

“I”: Incomplete—they just don’t do it! 21%

We were frankly surprised by how few respondents believed that their leaders were actually providing helpful coaching, and shocked by how many leaders weren’t coaching or were perceived as actually doing damage in the process of coaching employees.

When we asked whether these organizations were helping equip managers with the necessary coaching skills to be effective, we received the following responses:

1. We have not done any training on this topic 16%

2. We teach some awareness but don’t attempt to build skills 30%

3. New managers get training on coaching skills 12%

4. Only select populations of managers get training on coaching skills 24%

5. Every leader in the organization is being trained to be more skillful 18%

A full 46% of respondents are not building skills within their leader populations. It is no wonder that managers are therefore not providing coaching, or the coaching they are providing is not perceived as helpful.

You might be wondering if there is anything wrong with this picture. From original work conducted by Zenger and Folkman, we know that leaders who excel at “Driving for Results” have a less than 10% probability of being a great leader. However, when leaders are highly effective at driving for results and highly effective at coaching and developing others, they have almost a 90% probability of being an exceptional leader. And, we know that exceptional leaders create breakaway results that are far superior than merely “good” leaders.

Leaders who are more effective at coaching have employees who:

  • Express higher engagement and commitment
  • Are more willing to go the extra mile
  • Are more willing to put in extra effort
  • Are less likely to think about quitting

Coaching is a very powerful lever to increase organizational effectiveness. Instead of viewing coaching as “nice to do” when the business gets taken care of, consider reversing the order of priority. Focus on coaching as the way to enable superior results and foster engaged employees. The payoff will be there at the bottom line!

For more information about coaching training for managers, contact me!