Building Your Own Coaching Organization
by Virginia Bianco-Mathis and Lisa Nabors
Developing a coaching organization involves a systems approach that begins with creating a vision and testing readiness, then moves toward implementation and measurement. This ensures the creation of an infrastructure that will continue to support a coaching culture over time.
Create a Vision
- What are the benefits of becoming a coaching organization?
- What else within the organization would support a coaching organization?
- How would such a culture support organizational goals and values? What organizational drivers will be fulfilled?
- What would be the outcomes of becoming a coaching organization (for individuals, teams, and the entire organization)?
Assess Organizational Readiness
- Does the organization believe in contin¬ual learning and change, or is the status quo valued above all else?
- Is there a history or precedent within the organization for allocating money toward development programs? Is it valued? Is it considered during the budgeting process?
- Does the culture support openness, con¬frontations, honesty, and dialogue—or is it best to hide information?
- Are there other learning structures in the organization that the coaching program can depend on, be linked with, or build on?
- Is the human resource department valued and credible, or is it seen as merely a compliance department?
- Are managers encouraged or measured on how well they develop others, com-municate, and use a coaching approach?
- How have other programs been successfully implemented within the organization?
Design the Components and Implementation of the Plan
- Determine who can become champions of a coaching organization and establish a task force.
- Decide whether the effort will be totally homegrown or will incorporate outside experts.
- Define and outline the initial com¬ponents of each building block of a coaching organization: coaching tools and mindsets, dialogue, and supporting infrastructures.
- Given your particular organization and constraints, develop a project plan with a schedule, owners, steps, rollout plan, benchmarks, contingencies, tracking, and status meetings.
- Investigate and determine costs and how costs will be budgeted and tracked.
- Determine who will own and be admin¬istratively responsible for running the intervention/transformation.
- Determine the key benefits and success factors and institute the necessary measuring tools (software, accounting support, surveys, focus groups, strategic alignment factors, bottom-line factors) to continually track and sell the coaching organization activities.
- Establish how information about the program will be communicated in a multiyear communication plan.
- Determine the kinds of data gathering that are appropriate, costs involved, how data will be shared, and with whom. Consider outside benchmarking, surveys, 360-degree instruments, inventories, supportive coaching software, and technology.
Measure and Sell the Benefits
- Consider key stakeholders, link your agenda to their agenda, and develop appropriate negotiation strategies for ownership.
- Relate the coaching infrastructure com¬ponents to all other pertinent programs and demonstrate mutual support.
- Carefully plan costs, both short term and long term. Develop and sell the cost-benefit analysis.
- Prepare support materials, charts, graphs, role descriptions, and other marketing materials to guide your implementation plan.
- Install tools for measuring key success factors of the coaching organization and publicize these widely.
- Assess political climate within the organizational culture and plan for contingencies, formal and informal power channels, decision-maker involve¬ment, and how things usually get done throughout the organization.