Sifting Through the Sands: How to Identify the Right Business Coaching Service for a Transformational Change
“If you’re going to have a team of role players, then you better have a team of players who truly understand their roles.” – Steve Kerr, American professional basketball coach
Business coaching has emerged as a key component in determining the success of business operations today.
The notion of workplace culture and workforce, as understood sometime back, is undergoing a tectonic shift. An organization cannot be valued in terms of its financials or profits alone. The modern business ecosystem is a complex interplay of purely enterprise-related, social and economic factors.
Organizations need to be flexible to constantly adapt their operations and re-align goals along the changing requirements, such as demands of consumers or expectations of the various stakeholders across levels.
Flexibility demands preparedness on all fronts, from constant skill enhancement to developing the right mindset and workplace behavior. And this is no longer restricted to the top or mid-management. Workers across the organization need to be agile, adaptable, and inclusive to keep pace with the change.
This is where business coaching steps in. It is an excellent development tool to shape the workforce in terms of the required skills and behavior.
The yields are both tangible and intangible. The tangibles include an increase in productivity and revenues; improvement in employee performance, engagement and retention; and decrease in costs. Intangibles comprise rise in confidence levels, improvement in communication, and stronger interpersonal relationships across the organization.
Data demands attention
According to a February 2023 article on digital software and review platform Gitnux, business coaching is a large industry, valued at over $15 billion.
- The number of coaches currently exceeds 71,000 worldwide, up 33% since 2015.
- The online coaching platform market is projected to reach $4.5 billion by 2028, clocking 13.03% growth annually.
The prospect notwithstanding, there’s a hitch.
The disconnect between coaching and organizational goals. This often results when leaders thoughtlessly implement learning & development programs without doing the due diligence on requirement, and alignment of individual with organizational goals.
What should be done?
Leaders, don’t be in a haste to decide before you’ve considered the matter 360 degrees.
Endless stairs require endless efforts, not senseless efforts: How to identify the right business coaching services?
Press down the accelerator with specific intent.
Business coaching services are not the same as the regular internal training sessions conducted by HR or other departments. These are conducted by professionals with deep knowledge and expertise in the domain, like Vantedge Search. They know how to connect with people, assess the requirement and facilitate alignment between organizational and individual goals.
Vantedge Search is an expert in executive coaching. We facilitate leadership development, onboarding, and career & role transition. Our bespoke and strategic coaching support is a mix of a result-oriented, project-based framework that includes best-in-class assessment, 360-degree feedback, smart goal-setting, reviews, and action plans.
The first thing is to be clear about the business coaching services you need. This means having a firm grip on the requirement across levels.
Start with conversations at the board level. See if there is a skill gap there that needs to be filled. This could be in negotiation or conflict resolution, or related to other aspects of leadership qualities.
Hold conversations with HR head and the heads of other departments to assess the requirement at the practice level. Understand the requirements. You may also want to consult the line managers to get a deeper and more direct understanding of the skill enhancements required.
Conduct a skill-need mapping exercise across the organization. Zero in on the capabilities you are looking to extend.
If it is internal mobility or leadership potential development or succession planning, you can go for executive and/or leadership coaching services.
To build an inclusive workplace and engaging work culture, DE&I-specific coaching would help.
If you want to invest in your employees eyeing career growth, scalability, talent acquisition, retention, goodwill maintenance, and employee engagement, career-specific coaching, including career transitioning, will help.
Similarly, there’s sales-related coaching or peer coaching for other aspects of organizational growth.
Take the wrong road and you’ll hit the potholes.
The time spent in recce is not a waste.
You’ve understood the requirement. Now shoot the dart for the right coaching service provider.
The benchmarks for deciding should not be arbitrary. Here are some best practices you can keep in mind while hiring a coaching services provider:
- What’s the track record?
Don’t go by name alone. This will help you get rid of the quagmire of whether to go for large exec firms or boutique firms. Boutique firms, like Vantedge Search, come with deep domain experience and sound understanding of individual requirements. Often, the results they deliver surpass expectations. Try them out for a change.
Find out as much information as you can. Visit the websites of business coaching services providers. Look for their case studies, blogs and insights. The content they publish is a window to their expertise. Look for testimonials from clients.
Scan their social media activity. Observe how they are trending there. Who are their followers? If it’s organizations, then see which companies are these, or which sectors do they belong to? If it’s individuals, see the following typically among the younger generations.
Watch their posts. Are these on contemporary topics? Do they offer actionable insights?
Look out for referrals. Word of mouth, especially from credible sources, helps in ascertaining credibility.
- Do they solve the right problems?
Their approach to coaching should be comprehensive and detailed.
- What is the first level of assessment? Is it the organizational requirement or individual goals? How much effort are they willing to put in to understand the organization and its objectives? Do they get the mission and vision the enterprise is pursuing? What techniques or methodologies do they employ to identify the core skills/expertise? What is the depth of research? Does it include market landscaping or study of competitors to understand the industry standards vis-à-vis the requirement?
Setting standards is important to establish the benchmarks for coaching.
- How do they assess the individual? Do they use best-in-class proprietary tools and assessments? How many levels deep is it? Scanning an individual thoroughly is important to understand their inclination, requirement, and mindset. Complete profiling will provide direction for coaching and help in obtaining the desired outcomes.
- What is the package they offer? Is it a mix of content and digital tools and resources? Is the program customized to suit individual requirements? What is the level of interaction during the coaching sessions? Is it more dialogue-driven? How are the modules and templates designed? Do they use immersive tools and technologies, such as AR and VR, for effective simulation-based learning?
- How do they interact with the candidates? What is the interpersonal relationship they are looking to build with the candidates? Learning can only be transferred if the two sides connect well.
- What is their modus operandi? Do they only download information? How do they assess whether it is being received? Do they believe in taking feedback intermittently? Are they willing to re-look and re-assess at every stage, if need be, for the effectiveness of the program?
Are you willing to take the uneasy path?
Do you want to manage your talent internally – not an easy task? Are you looking to build an internal coaching team?
As a leader, at some point, you could consider this. Some organizations even have internal coaching teams. The key is not to just have one for the namesake. You need to consider the value add.
How well-equipped is this team? What resources are you offering them to enable coaching? Do you have technologically advanced platforms that can be leveraged, or can you offer learning simulation technologies?
How will you make coaching attractive? What value proposition will you offer to draw talent? Is providing coaching enough? What avenues or roles/responsibilities are there that can put the learning to test? Knowledge, if not put to use at the right time, will rust.
Business coaching is all about bringing transformation to the workplace. It is a highly effective tool in employee development and talent management.
The efficacy of business coaching depends on certain parameters: requirement, on-time delivery, and the skill of the provider. The role of a leader is to ensure all these parameters are aligned with each other. Only then the outcome will be in line with expectations—alignment of individual with organizational goals for other tangible and intangible benefits.
Given the implications of business coaching on the bottom line, leaders must take it seriously to get that edge in leadership. A leader is also a coach. You don’t just need to see where you are going—you have to help others as well reach the leadership milestones you’ve achieved.