Increased use of business coaching has created a greater need for accountability and clearer contracts.
In this white paper, we explore the limited research available on contracting—the setting up, use and monitoring of the business coaching relationship. We do not try to develop a standard coaching contract as that would be too constraining for the majority of business coaches—each contract must be customized to the client’s requirements. Instead we provide a list of factors that should be considered in developing an effective contract.
Poor contracting creates issues for all parties—business coaching contracts are much more than who, what, when and where.
What is contracting?
The business coaching interaction uses all the elements we associate with wholesome and effective human relationships such as dialog, reflection, enquiry and exploration of meaning. But this interaction takes place within a specific and unusual context—a learning conversation where the agenda for the interaction is determined by only one of the partners in the conversation. This mix of familiar and unique can lead to misunderstandings and dilemmas for both parties unless the implicit psychological contract that is operating is made explicit. The initial exploration of the terms of reference for the relationship and its continual monitoring are at the core of contracting.
Other disciplines and helping therapies such as counseling have a wealth of experience in the management of these areas. Our research identified good practice that recognizes clarity of mutual expectations as vital for a good working relationship. We describe three types of contracts that invariably operate in any helping arrangement:
Contract early using all three contract types—seek transparency for all—review the existing contract often.
The elements under each of these contracts are varied, and we have reviewed what communities of practice and professional associations have identified as critical. These groups include the International Coach Federation (ICF), the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC). The Executive Coaching Forum, for example, provides a valuable service with the Executive Coaching Handbook where they have a competency model that describes the requirements of a coach, including a specific section on contracting. The complexity of this section illustrates the dynamic nature of the contract. One area of particular interest is clear accountability. Negotiating the coaching contract can be an ideal opportunity to engage the sponsor fully with setting the coaching goals and designing the evaluation criteria. Real sensitivities are, however, involved in such three-way contracts, and we suggest the use of a no-fault exit clause for both sides if it becomes clear that things are not working. Some practitioners have identified issues with the three-cornered contract specifically and even the four-cornered contract, where the line manager is not the direct manager of coaching.
In general, the business coach can effectively steer through the maze of who the client is in this relationship by maintaining transparency and appropriate ethics. For example, a mismatch between the career aims of the individual and the requirements of the organization is not unusual. The business coach must negotiate goals based on the common ground between these two perspectives and use the business coaching intervention as a method of bringing them together.
The WABC Professional Standards for Business Coaches are explicit in the need to hold the potential tension between organizational and client agendas: “I will put the client first while at the same time respecting the objectives of the client’s organization.”
The issue of confidentiality is particularly marked in this regard as sponsors/line managers often assume they will receive reports of the progress of the coaching. Clearly this is not at the business coach’s discretion and a contracting conversation must take place with the sponsor and the executive to agree on the frequency and extent of reporting.
Proper business coaching contracting protects all parties (e.g., client, business coach, organization)—efforts are rewarded.
We suggest including the following key elements in the business coaching contract. Additional elements are identified in the full paper.
- The duration, number, frequency and venue of sessions
- Fees, cancellation policy and the availability of the business coach both in person and for email/telephone discussions
- The business coach’s area of practice and the mechanism for onward referral. This is critical when the coach is able to competently provide more than one type of service (e.g., consulting, training, mentoring). A contract should be limited to one type of service unless the client requires a “master” or “broad” contract, in which case each service must be explicitly covered.
- Indication that the coach may be in professional supervision and will be discussing the intervention under the appropriate confidentiality agreement there
- A limitation of liability clause, information about the business coach’s professional indemnity insurance and a no-fault exit clause and process
- The goals of the business coaching, identifying the specific outputs and behavior changes required in a manner that is measurable and clear, including time, cost, quality and milestones
- The model of practice to be used, including its limitations and strengths. Identify if real-time coaching is expected and if observation of the client is required. Identify with whom any assessments will be undertaken and who will see the results.
Full White Paper
The evidence shows that a business coaching contract should be negotiated early in the relationship and revisited often.
Coaching can help business executives to fine-tune skills that are crucial within today’s economic and market constraints. These include, for example, the ability to exert influence across organizational boundaries, to manage conflicts, and to create and articulate a vision. Coaching has also been shown to help leaders develop a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities. But perhaps most importantly, coaching can help new leaders deal with the aspects of transition, transformation, and change (Stout Rostron, 2009:61).
In order to make this happen, it is important for coach and client to carefully set out the boundaries for how communication is to take place. Developing the habit of both formal and informal contracting is one of the first steps in beginning to understand the dynamics of forming a coaching relationship and setting boundaries. The coach and client agree to conditions of time, space, fees, confidentiality, and goals. In contracting, the business coach agrees to a specific set of conditions.
Contracting the Relationship
The purpose of the contract is to open up the potential for trust between coach and client that is essential if the client is to trust his or her own self-exploration. As the agreement lays the foundation for the relationship, it must be adhered to in action for trust to develop.
The contract between coach and client sets out which services have been agreed upon and delineates all fees as well as the outcomes and deliverables that can be expected. The contract sets out ground rules for the coaching relationship so that both parties are aware of their obligations. This helps prevent future misunderstandings and provides a firm basis to deal with disagreements. The contract describes the relationship between the coach and multiple parties, such as the individual client, the client organization, the HR unit, and line management.
Objectives for the individual executive and for the organization need to be clarified, with boundaries made explicit in terms of confidentiality, fees, cancellation, and termination of the contract. Often in coaching, the contracting process is linked to the generation and fulfillment of outcomes. Contracting usually deals with the management of the process, roles being played, evaluation of the process, learning and outcomes, and exit clauses.
Another important aspect of contracting is the review of the contract when necessary, including termination or renewal. In any business contracting process, it is important to draw up the “marriage” and the “divorce” papers at the beginning: a bit like a prenuptial contract. It is important to specify the boundaries and parameters of the entire coaching intervention, i.e., how the process will proceed from beginning to end and how to terminate the process, whether at the contracted termination point or sooner if required by either party.
For example, last year one of my clients terminated the contract prior to the agreed upon period for the coaching intervention suggested by her organization. She and I verbally re-contracted together how she could manage her exit from the coaching process, how she would defend this position to her line manager and sponsor, and how she could negotiate re-entering the coaching process in the future when she felt more ready. This was made very transparent to the sponsoring organization. It is important that your contracting allows for this type of flexibility, yet keeps you within the bounds of your agreement with the third party or sponsor.
Defining Coaching in Your Contract
It is useful to include a definition of coaching within your contract, specifying how coaching differs from other helping professions. For example, “the services to be provided by coach to client are designed jointly with the client. Coaching, which is not advice, therapy, or counselling, may address specific personal or professional projects, business issues, or general conditions in the client’s life or profession.”
In our organization we use the following clause in our coaching contracts:
Throughout the working relationship, the coach will engage with the client in direct conversation. The client can count on the coach to be honest and straightforward in asking questions, making interventions, and facilitating the setting of goals. The client understands that the power of coaching is in the relationship between client and coach. If the client or the coach believes the coaching is not working as desired, either client or coach will communicate this.
Your Model as a Contracting Structure
A model is a metaphor for the entire coaching journey, yet embodies a structured process. The Purpose, Perspectives, Process model developed by David Lane within the scientist-practitioner paradigm (Lane and Corrie, 2006) can help you in three ways: to contract with the client, to structure the entire coaching journey, and to guide your coaching conversation. Out of the specific conversation about process can emerge the client’s purpose; the way your perspectives fit together can help clients to achieve their purpose; and the process within which you will work helps you both to achieve the outcomes desired.
Essentially, to contract the overall journey, coach and client discuss the overall aim of coaching for the client (purpose) and what each brings to the relationship (perspectives). Coach and client then discuss and contract how the coaching will take place: timing, boundaries, fees, the tools and techniques to be used by the coach, and the way the client would prefer to work (process). They also discuss the overall results and outcomes the client hopes to achieve from the coaching intervention, results that need to be visible to the organization, including thinking, feeling, and behavior that the client would like to change (outcomes as a result of process).
As a rule, I start the coaching conversation with perspectives: “Where are you now?” “What’s happening with you?” “What’s informing your thinking?” “What are your reflections on your current (or specific) concrete experience?” We move on to identify purpose: what they want to talk about, what their needs are for today, and what key outcomes they want to achieve. Once we have identified what needs to be worked on, we agree on the process we will work with using whichever question frameworks, tools, or techniques are relevant to that process. At the end of the session we summarize actions, learning, and outcomes that have resulted from the coaching conversation.
Any model that you use for your regular coaching conversations can help you to define a structure and process and set boundaries for working with your client. However, the name of the game is flexibility and working to the client’s needs, so anything prescriptive will only be for your needs. Remember, the conversation is about them.
Often when things go wrong it is due to poor practice on the part of the coach, perhaps from not setting proper boundaries (Ting and Scisco, 2006:19). Contracting and relationship building are crucial to the outcomes of any coaching intervention. Contracting is complex as it determines in what areas, and how deeply, the coach can work with the individual client, the team, and the organization in a holistic, integrated, and systemic way.
This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (October Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 3).
Lane, D.A., and Corrie, S. 2006. The Modern Scientist-Practitioner: A Guide to Practice in Psychology. Hove: Routledge.
Stout Rostron, S. 2009. Business Coaching International: Transforming Individuals and Organizations. London: Karnac.
Ting, S., and Scisco, P. 2006. The CCL Handbook of Coaching: A Guide for the Leader Coach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron, DProf, MA
Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron, DProf, MA, is an executive coach and consultant with a wide range of experience in leadership and management development, business strategy and executive coaching. The author of six books, including Business Coaching Wisdom and Practice: Unlocking the Secrets of Business Coaching (2009), Sunny is Director of the Manthano Institute of Learning (Pty) Ltd and is President Emeritus of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa).
The focus of the coaching conversation is to help the client work toward achieving their desired outcomes. It is in this process, where coach and client reflect on the client’s experience, that the potential for learning and action emerges. Business coaching has been defined in many different ways, but is essentially a one-on-one collaborative partnership designed to develop the client’s performance and potential, personally and professionally, in alignment with the goals and values of the organization. Business coaching should be aligned strategically with the overall values and objectives of an organization.
However, an important question is raised for executives: if goals are to be motivationally achieved, are they also aligned with the individual’s values, beliefs, and feelings? Often organizations merely pay lip service to organizational values, and don’t necessarily create them as a synthesis of the core individual values that make up the culture of the organization. Ethical dilemmas can arise during the coaching process if the executive needs to make difficult choices that are incompatible with their own value system.
Goals, Motivation, and Performance
If you wish to help your clients improve their behavior and performance, it is useful to understand the psychology behind adult behavior, goals, and motivation. Alfred Adler, who worked with Sigmund Freud for ten years, reasoned that adult behavior is purposeful and goal-directed, and that life goals provide individual motivation. He focused on personal values, beliefs, attitudes, goals, and interests, and recommended that adults engage in the therapeutic process and reinvent their futures using techniques such as “acting as if,” role-playing, and goal setting. All these tools are utilized and recognized by well-qualified business coaches worldwide.
Motivational theories primarily focus on the individual’s needs and motivations. I have typically worked with coaching clients to help them understand more fully their intrinsic motivators (internal drivers such as values, beliefs, and feelings), and how to use extrinsic motivators (external drivers such as relationships, bonuses, environment, and titles) to motivate their teams. If an individual’s goals are not in alignment with their own internal, intrinsic drivers, there will be difficulties for them in achieving those goals.
In an International Coach Federation study (ICF, 2008a), Campbell confirmed that coaches often assume clients are aware of their values, but within the confines of the study this appeared to be incorrect. The clients interviewed indicated they were not aware of their values, and that acquiring a process of awareness and reflection led them to become more aware of their emotions, their values, and the need to clarify their goals. Whitmore (2002) supports this and states that the goal of the coach is to build awareness, responsibility, and self-belief.
The coach’s intervention and questions help the client to discover their own intrinsic drivers or motivators, and allow both coach and client to identify whether the client’s personal, professional, and organizational goals are in alignment.
Adult and Experiential Learning
Adult learning theory has influenced coaching from the start: the goal of adult learning is to achieve a balance between work and personal life. In the same way, most business coach-client relationships involve an integration of personal and systems work. Personal work is intended to help the client develop the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual competence to achieve their desired goals; systems work may be found within a partnership, marriage, family, organizational team, or matrix structure.
Another powerful influence on goal-setting in coaching is experiential learning because it emphasizes a client’s individual, subjective experience. In this process, coach and client probe the essence of an experience to understand its significance and to determine any learning that can be gained from it. The importance of experiential learning is that coach and client use the business coaching conversation to actively reconstruct the client’s experience, with a focus on setting goals that are aligned with the client’s intrinsic drivers, i.e., values, beliefs, and feelings.
Other considerations may be language, social class, gender, ethnic background, and the individual’s style of learning. In learning from experience, it is useful to understand which barriers prevent the client from learning. Often it is a matter of developing self-reflective skills as much as self-management skills. What clients learn from their experience can transform their perceptions, their limiting and liberating assumptions, their way of interpreting the world – and their ability to achieve results.
Types of Goals
The coach is responsible for ensuring that goal-setting conversations get the best results. O’Neill (2000) differentiates between two kinds of client goals, business and personal, and links the coaching effort to a business result, highlighting and prioritizing the business areas that need attention. Business goals are about achieving external results; personal goals are what the leader has to do differently in the way they conduct themselves in order to get the business results they envision.
Yalom (1980) talks about two types of goals: content (what is to be accomplished) and process (how the coach wants to be in a session). However, he also describes the importance of setting concrete attainable goals – goals that the client has personally defined, and which increase their sense of responsibility for their own individual change.
If the client is to learn how to learn, they need to cultivate self-awareness through reflection on their experience, values, intrinsic drivers, the impact of these on others, the environment, and their own future goals. This process is often implicit in the coaching relationship through the process of questions and actions that develop critical reflection and practice. As a coach, you will be asking questions to help clients reflect, review, and gain useable knowledge from their experience. A useful structure for your work with business executives is along the continuum of a development pipeline developed by David Peterson (2009). Your questions and challenges in your coaching sessions can help your clients reflect in five areas:
- Insight: How are you continually developing insight into areas where you need to develop?
- Motivation: What are your levels of motivation based on the time and energy you’re willing to invest in yourself?
- Capabilities: What are your leadership capabilities; what skills, knowledge, and competencies do you still need to develop?
- Real-world practice: How are you continually applying your new skills at work?
- Accountability: How are you creating, defining, and taking accountability?
Business coaching places great emphasis on clarifying and achieving goals. Often within the complexity of the organizational environment, the client’s overarching goals may be set by a more senior power; where that senior individual may have different worldviews, paradigms, and limiting or empowering assumptions. It is crucial that the client have a “living sense” of what their goal may be. In other words, goals must be aligned with the values of the individual as much as with those of the organization if they are to be achieved. This article is adapted from “Goals and Goal-Setting” by Sunny Stout Rostron (COMENSANews, February 2010 (www.comensa.org.za).
This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2).
Griffiths, K. E, and Campbell, M. A. (2008). Regulating the Regulators: Paving the Way for International, Evidence-Based Coaching Standards. International Journal of Evidence-Based Coaching and Mentoring, 6(1):19-31.
International Coach Federation (ICF). (2008a). Core Competencies. Lexington, KY: ICF.
International Coach Federation (ICF). (2008b). ICF Code of Ethics. Lexington, KY: ICF.
O’Neill, M. B. (2000). Coaching with Backbone and Heart: A Systems Approach to Engaging Leaders with Their Challenges. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Peterson, D. (2009). Executive Coaching, A Critical Review and Recommendation for Advancing the Practice (in S. Zedeck (Ed.) Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Stout Rostron, S. (2009). Business Coaching International, Transforming Individuals and Organizations. London: Karnac.
Whitmore, J. (2002). Coaching for Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose. London: Nicholas Brealey.
Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential Psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.
Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron, DProf, MA
Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron, DProf, MA is an executive coach and consultant with a wide range of experience in leadership and management development, business strategy and executive coaching. The author of six books, including Business Coaching Wisdom and Practice: Unlocking the Secrets of Business Coaching (2009), Sunny is Director of the Manthano Institute of Learning (Pty) Ltd and founding president of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa).
You may be the best coach in the world, but if the person you are coaching shouldn’t be coached, it’s not going to work. I’m sorry to say that try as I might to help some people change I have come to the conclusion that some people are unsalvageable. Through years of trial and error, I have shed all illusions about my astounding behavioral change methods, and concluded that some flaws just can’t be coached away by anyone.
So, how do you know when someone is uncoachable? How do you detect a lost cause? Following are four key indicators that your coachee is not coachable:
- She doesn’t think she has a problem.
- He is pursuing the wrong strategy for the organization.
- They’re in the wrong job.
- They think everyone else is the problem.
She doesn’t think she has a problem.
This nice woman is a successful adult who has no interest in changing. Her behavior is working fine for her and she just doesn’t care to convert. If she doesn’t care to change, you are wasting your time! Here’s a little example. My mother, a lovely woman and much-admired first grade teacher, was so dedicated to her craft that she didn’t draw the line between inside and outside the classroom. She talked to all of us, including my father, in the same slow, patient manner, using the same simple vocabulary that she used with her six-year-olds every day. One day as she graciously and methodically corrected his grammar for the millionth time, he looked at her, sighed, and said, “Honey, I’m 70 years old. Let it go.” My father had absolutely no interest in changing. He didn’t perceive a problem. So no matter how much, how hard, or how diligently she coached, he wasn’t going to change.
He is pursuing the wrong strategy for the organization.
If this guy is already going in the wrong direction, all you’re going to do with your coaching is help him get there faster.
They’re in the wrong job.
Sometimes people feel that they’re in the wrong job with the wrong company. They may believe they’re meant to be doing something else or that their skills are being misused. Here’s a good way to determine if you’re working with one of these people. Ask them, “If we shut down the company today, would you be relieved, surprised, or sad?” If you hear ‘relieved,’ you’ve got yourself a live one. Send them packing. You can’t change the behavior of unhappy people so that they become happy: You can only fix behavior that’s making people around them unhappy.
They think everyone else is the problem.
A long time ago I had a client who, after a few high-profile employee departures, was concerned about employee morale. He had a fun, successful company and people liked the work, but feedback said that the boss played favorites in the way he compensated people. When I reported this feedback to my client, he completely surprised me. He said he agreed with the charge and thought he was right to do so. First off, I’m not a compensation strategist and so I wasn’t equipped to deal with this problem, but then he surprised me again. He hadn’t called me to help him change; he wanted me to fix his employees. It’s times like these that I find the nearest exit. It’s hard to help people who don’t think they have a problem. It’s impossible to fix people who think someone else is the problem.
My suggestion in cases like these? Save time, skip the heroic measures, and move on. These are arguments you can’t ever win.
This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Fall Issue 2007, Volume 3, Issue 3).
Marshall Goldsmith, MBA, PhD
Marshall Goldsmith, MBA, PhD, founder of Marshall Goldsmith Partners LLC, is a world authority on helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting behavioral change. His executive coaching expertise has been highlighted in Forbes, Fast Company and Business Week. The most recent of his 22 books is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (Hyperion, 2007).
I am sometimes surprised to learn that coaches are failing to gather a range of information from their clients prior to the commencement of the coaching process. In the absence of such information, how is it possible to calculate an ROI?
In the early 70s, Donald Kirkpatrick introduced a model for evaluating the benefits of training. This same model is used today by training and human resources departments to evaluate the ROI of coaching. The model has four levels:
- Reaction: How well did the client like the coaching?
- Learning: What principles, facts and techniques did the client learn?
- Behavior: What changes in job behavior resulted from the coaching?
- Results: What were the quantitative results of the coaching in terms of reduced costs, improved performance, improved efficiency, etc.?
Each level in the model requires information from both the client and the organization. In order to be of value, the information must be gathered before, during and after the coaching process.
In an article entitled An ROI Method for Executive Coaching: Have the Client Convince the Coach of the Return on Investment (2005), Mary Beth O’Neill outlines a method for engaging the client in taking responsibility for the gathering of this data. By taking ownership of their learning and measuring their progress and outcomes, clients support their own development through the coaching process.
A recent client of mine began to keep a reflective journal of each of our coaching sessions. In this journal, he identified different areas on which he wanted to comment (leadership, finances, emotions, family, learning, and ideas). After each session, he would record what he had learned about himself during the coaching or note something that had stimulated his thoughts or feelings. This journal became an invaluable resource for the client, as he would often revisit entries that were several months old, reflecting on how much he had changed and the progress he had made.
He and I took the outcomes he had recorded in his journal and applied them to Kirkpatrick’s model. The Results (Level 4 of the model) showed improvement in his leadership style, his interaction with his staff, the speed with which he could think creatively, and his understanding of self on an emotional level.
With all of this in mind, what data should you be gathering? Be very clear and specific about what, why and when you require any data from your client or from the organization. Provide a clear context for the use of the information.
A list of potentially useful data to gather is provided below. This list is by no means exhaustive:
- Strategic goals and initiatives of the organization
- A description of the organization’s vision
- A coaching needs analysis, which is similar to a training needs analysis. (This information could be obtained via interview, and could then form the basis for a case study.)
- HR data (e.g., absenteeism, occupational health and safety measures, performance reports)
- An audit of your client’s skills
- Assessments measuring the client’s emotional intelligence, team role, leadership style, etc.
- Any financial results that are directly or indirectly impacted by your client’s role
Once you have captured your data, apply it to the different levels of Kirkpatrick’s model.
One small but rather important tip is to remember that coaching results occur in both the short term and the long term. ROI calculations sometimes focus solely on the “now,” computing gains, savings, and losses as of the completion date of the coaching partnership. Yet the benefits of coaching continue long after the coaching relationship has ended. Building in an evaluation at the completion of the coaching process, and then re-evaluating results at subsequent time intervals, will provide you with some excellent information. And, if the client takes ownership of the process and can see the benefits for him or herself, the result is a great win-win for both of you.
This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Spring Issue 2006, Volume 2, Issue 1).
O’Neill, Mary Beth. 2005. “An ROI Method for Executive Coaching: Have the Client Convince the Coach of the Return on Investment.” International Journal of Coaching in Organizations 3:39-47.
Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland is the CEO of International Coach Academy, an international coach training school. She has been an executive coach for over 10 years.
The Value of Business Coaching for Organizations
Organizations and businesses of all kinds have new challenges to face in our quickly changing global environments. Success today requires advancing on many fronts simultaneously, including facing new industry entrants and disruptors, adapting to customer demands, competing to attract and retain top talent, and establishing clarity of vision through tumultuous times. Leading organizations know business coaching is essential to support the alignment between organizational goals and the leaders, teams and individuals responsible for driving their success.
ALIGNMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Achieve Success and Adapt to Complexity More Seamlessly
Organizations have new challenges to face in our quickly changing global environments. Success today requires advancing on many fronts simultaneously, including facing new industry entrants and disruptors, adapting to customer demands, competing to attract and retain top talent, and establishing clarity of vision through tumultuous times.
As these challenges grow increasingly intertwined, traditional siloed thinking lacks the relevance to operate effectively in this new context. It takes enduring commitment to continuously focus on the right business initiatives at the right time, find the precise balance of objectives, resources and timing, and build transparency and accountability at all levels of an organization to realize sustained success.
This shift requires new knowledge and skills. Developing a learning mindset, building resilience and adopting adaptability are key to driving growth, innovation and peak performance from leaders, teams and individuals alike. Achieving organizational goals requires alignment and accountability at every level of an organization.
As organizations rise to meet these demands and realize their strategic intents, business coaching can support the alignment between organizational goals and the leaders, teams and individuals responsible for driving their success.
Business Coaching Drives Enhanced Performance and Stronger Business Results
Business coaching impacts individuals, teams and the organizations they work within. A business coach will leverage their expertise to build on the current state of both the organization and the individuals within it, to enhance performance and leadership potential. It is a role that is, by nature, supportive, disruptive and progressive.
DUAL-FOCUSED FOR RESULTS
Business Coaching is Distinct
Business coaching is distinct in that it addresses the needs of both the individual and the organization they work within. This distinction makes business coaching a unique discipline within the world of coaching more broadly. Business coaches can go by many names—including executive coach, organizational coach, leadership coach, or corporate coach—yet each one focuses on the shared business goals and objectives of both the client and the organization. This dual focus separates business coaching as a distinct practice from all other kinds of coaching.
Business coaches support organizational goals and objectives, at an individual or team level, by identifying opportunities and supporting clients in their actions to achieve results. The business coach’s role can take on many forms—it can be supportive, disruptive and progressive to encourage insights, development, change and growth.
Business coaching is industry agnostic, meaning the competencies of an effective business coach can be applied to any sectors or industries. Some business coaches may choose to specialize and offer their services in a particular industry. This is especially true with WABC business coaches, as they are required to have business and organizational experience before earning their WABC credentials.
Business Coaches Can Help
All Organizations, Roles, Levels & Industries
BENEFITS OF BUSINESS COACHING
Enhance Your Organization’s Diverse Strengths
Business coaches are strategic partners who build your business and operational success. Among the broad array of service offerings, business coaches may help:
COMMON BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Business Coaches Create More
Effective Businesses and Organizations
Business coaching engagements can be initiated for many reasons—ultimately, the goal is to remove roadblocks or challenges or to stimulate new insights or pathways so a business, company or organization can achieve its full potential and sustain or grow its market position.
Business coaching helps leaders, individuals and teams respond more effectively to change and accept greater accountability. It is often used to help high-performers reach even greater success as they engage with new opportunities for growth, at both a professional and organizational level.
Common Challenges That Business Coaches Can Address
An internal manager is taking over a new team and wants to understand how to integrate into an existing dynamic and build trust.
A business coach can help facilitate a smooth transition and provide the leader with clarity on how to build a vision and engage their team effectively.
An organization is going through a business transformation related to their goals, processes or technologies.
A business coach can help manage change effectively by implementing strategies to support the transition and adoption of the new priorities.
A president or CEO is ready to step down and is looking to build a succession plan to ready the organization for a significant leadership change.
A business coach can help the leader transition their expertise and knowledge effectively, and build clarity of vision while navigating a complex leadership handover.
If a team isn’t working well together, performance challenges and missed targets are common symptoms of underlying tension and lack of trust.
Business coaches can work with both individuals and teams to improve their dynamic, build trust with one another and find new ways to collaborate to increase productivity.
Supporting mental health is instrumental in retaining top performers and building an optimal, innovative work environment.
A business coach can improve employees’ understanding of how they contribute to an organization’s priorities, how to maintain an appropriate work/life balance, and how to be more authentic and open within the workplace.
Where Business Becomes Better
The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) leads the business coaching industry in identifying the qualities, actions and skills you need to drive leading business outcomes and harness emerging opportunities.
As the industry leader since 1997, WABC has elevated business coaching practices worldwide and helped countless coaches, clients and companies successfully navigate complexity and achieve tangible business results.
Our global community spans more than 125 countries, and includes business coaches who work with entrepreneurs, managers, CEOs, presidents and professionals from all industries, all sectors, and all organizational sizes.
TARGETED BENEFITS OF BUSINESS COACHING
Accelerate Transformation Through
FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
Amplify Client and Team Relationships
Enhance your customer service experience and build trust and loyalty with clients. Business coaching can help improve relationships and align individuals’ actions more closely with performance goals.
Drive performance with your team by strengthening internal engagement to drive greater innovation and more insightful decision-making. Improve the confidence, emotional intelligence and communication skills to motivate team members towards better performance.
FOR NFPS AND NGOS
Build Change for Good
Improve your organization’s ability to more effectively deliver on your mission to the communities you serve. Boost creativity, innovation and accountability for your programs, and more clearly articulate the need in ways that resonate with the public.
Increase the efficacy of your program delivery by thinking more strategically and spotting opportunities that drive greater results. Build support more effectively, both within your organization and with external partners and stakeholders.
For Professional Services
Guides Clients with Strategic Intent
Gather the right information from clients by asking more insightful questions and tailoring your approach more effectively. Guide your clients towards clarity by offering clear, strategic intent.
Build trusted partnerships founded on advice, authenticity and a sense of being in your client’s corner. Enhance your strategic deliverables with solutions that address clients’ challenges realistically and effectively.
Unlock Organizational Transformation
Strengthen the ability to identify client needs and get to the root cause of operational challenges more effectively. Gain a wider strategic view on how technology infrastructure supports business and operational strategy.
Build organizational roadmaps that take into account the diverse requirements across departments. Equip teams with the relationship-building skills and empathy needed to drive stakeholder satisfaction.
Foster a Safer, More Productive Culture
Increase employee focus by fostering a positive working environment through setting clear expectations of organizational priorities and safety. Align business objectives and team priorities more closely by equipping leaders with the skills to manage their teams more effectively.
Improve your customer service experience with increased loyalty and customer satisfaction. Build a supportive and respectful culture that takes into account the importance of a team member’s overall wellbeing, including their mental health.
Your Next Steps
Achievement with WABC
Business coaching offers many ways to achieve your business objectives and build a business coaching culture within your organization. Take the next step towards achieving sustainable performance improvement with WABC.
Hire a Qualified Business Coach
Search the WABC Business Coach Locator to find your qualified coaching partner in accelerating your professional or organizational achievement.
Recommend WABC to Your Employer
Are you a champion of business coaching within your organization and want to introduce WABC to your employer to see what’s possible?
Whether your organization has a business coaching program or is interested in building one, WABC accredits in-house programs to ensure that your employees are trained to coach using the latest research-informed best practice and global standards.
Consult with WABC to Build Operational Excellence
Many organizations see the value in using business coaching to unlock the potential within their organization, but don’t know where to start.
WABC offers a range of consulting and business services to identify opportunities and improve business coaching within organizations.