How to Get Value from Coaching #2

In March 2017 I published How to Get Value from Coaching on our ODI website and in our e-newsletter. Since then, a lot has changed that has impacted the coaching space, including Zoom, work from home, higher stress, more uncertainty, and an increase in coaching capacity. Below is an update of my March 2017 story to reflect the current reality.

The 21st Century has seen a dramatic increase in the extent to which coaching is being used as part of the learning and development blend. And more recently, coaching has made moves into the online space.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Post-Covid work from home has constrained the opportunity for face-to-face coaching and increased the demand for online services.
  • It is recognised that there is something going wrong between learning and the workplace, with new knowledge simply not ending up as new practices at work.
  • Senior leaders are becoming overwhelmed by increasing operational demands and need help to cope better.
  • A more stressed and, in some cases, isolated workforce requires a more tailored approach to learning, and especially to application support.
  • Migration towards the 70:20:10 model with more emphasis on the learning from 'others' element (the 20) than previously.

ODI’s experience in supporting leaders to develop is that they need the help of a coach to set aside their operational roles from time to time in order to step out changes to their leadership practice. This is particularly so for CEOs and SMT members with large, and sometimes lonely, roles that include board support, championing values and change, internal and external visibility, team governance and leadership, and operational oversight.

There is a great deal written about the role of coaching in bringing out the best in us. This includes studies and observations made by researchers and coaches, as well as testimonials by those who have been successfully coached towards greater outcomes. The weight of evidence is that coaching really does work. But it can be very expensive and doesn’t always achieve as much as it could.

Here are a few tips to help reduce coaching costs and improve its effectiveness

  1. Invest in building the coaching skills of your own line managers so that they can competently hold coaching conversations with their own direct reports. This will help build a coaching culture where coaching becomes the norm, and will raise expectations about giving and receiving coaching support throughout your organisation. Remember to start the training and support with your CEO and SMT so they become coaching role models.

  2. Plan for a blend of face-to-face and online coaching for each coaching engagement. Face-to-face matters for the first couple of sessions in order to cement the relationship, outcome expectations and accountabilities.

  3. Use external coaching for your CEO and SMT. At these organisation levels external coaching support offers access to wider ideas and the confidentiality that is necessary. A well-trained CEO and SMT working within a well-developed coaching culture will be able to prioritise and provide appropriate coaching support for their own direct reports.

  4. Don’t be afraid to use external coaches for your Tier 3 and Tier 4 people leaders if your CEO, SMT or coaching culture are not there yet. Make sure that your external coaches are well briefed and engaged on the basis of achieving specific coaching outcomes with a specific timeframe (and consequently cost); an ideal Tier 3 or Tier 4 engagement is six sessions, a month or so apart.

  5. Consider team coaching and group coaching as part of your coaching mix. Team coaching is where colleagues who work on the same outcomes are coached together in their functional unit. Group coaching is where colleagues working on separate outcomes are coached together. Both coaching methods make your coaching time and dollar go further.

  6. Adopt a single coaching model across your organisation. This can be an ‘off the shelf’ external model or one that is blended and customised for your own organisation. A single model makes it simpler and easier to train and support coaching practice and to build your coaching culture.

Here at ODI, we are privileged to work with a portfolio of 27 coaches nationwide, some of whom can also facilitate coaching skills workshops and programmes.

If you would like to discuss accessing an external coach and/or providing coaching skills training for your CEO, SMT or other people managers, we can help. Call Kyran or Nicky on 0508 ODI ODI or email us on