Executive coaching is a stubborn beast. The learning and development market has seen major changes over the last 10 years, with a consistent on focus on ROI changing many organisation’s attitudes to procurement, programme design and delivery. We’ve seen enormous moves towards homogenisation and standardisation in the learning industry, and with it an enormous appetite to embrace modern methods of delivery moving from classroom-based, through online ‘webinar’ to truly social, collaborative learning environments with rigorous measurement, tracking and reporting.
As a learning professional, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t agree that all the changes in the learning world have been positive for learners. In fact the focus on more efficient (i.e. cheaper) methods of delivery has removed much of the ‘craft’ that trainers exhibited, but the move to a more results-based, business-focussed approach has been a real wake up call, and probably protected parts of the industry from ruin.
And then there’s coaching.
When you engage with the general coaching marketplace, you’re propelled into a 20th century world of soft aims and fuzzy outcomes. Life coaches ply their wares alongside executive coaches, mentors are on the same shelf as counsellors, all purporting to deliver highly effective outcomes, but largely on a VERY individual scale.
I’m really passionate about the results that coaching can deliver. It reintroduces a lot of the ‘craft’ that’s been lost in the training industry and allows people to work at a very individual pace on very individual issues and challenges. However coaching is, in the main, not operating in a way that will allow it to scale and become recognised as a truly transformational development activity.
Coaching needs to start engaging with whole businesses. It needs to be able to measure its value in hard cash at an organisational level. It needs to get organised.
At blackswan, we run organisational-level coaching programmes for some of the biggest businesses in the world. In addition to coaching hundreds of executives across 23 countries, we are able to provide rich data for the business whilst respecting the confidentiality of the coachee. Next week we fly to India to begin a coaching programme for 100 executives in a strategic business programme that will be measured, tracked and linked inextricably to ROI.
Now THAT’s exciting stuff!