Organizational Coaching

Client

A family-owned business, with 17 employees, providing solutions and equipment to metal-forming sectors focused on minimizing product defects.

What We Did

Administered the coaching organization assessment exercise (COAE) to measure employee perceptions of coaching activity.

Outcome

Recommended moving forward with a coaching initiative by building on relational and developmental strengths, alongside the emerging developmental initiative.

Case Study Research 

This case study shares insights gained through administering the Coaching Organization Assessment Exercise (COAE)[1] to address business needs with an organizational coaching capability. Strategic coaching initiatives assist companies in obtaining a desired outcome or eliminating an undesired problem. In the context of organizational change, workplace coaches are uniquely positioned to integrate individual needs with organizational goals, especially when a coach applies their consulting skills to address the organizational situation[2]. Through consulting we tested the company’s capacity to support a strategic coaching initiative.

 

Client

A family-owned business, with 17 employees, providing solutions and equipment to metal-forming sectors focused on minimizing product defects. 

 

Data Analysis

The consultant used a mixed-methods approach to collect data. Two survey items were open-ended, one item required a “yes/no” response, and 90 items were evaluated on a 5-point scale where 5=strongly agree and 1=strongly disagree. Thirteen out of seventeen employees completed the survey (n=13). Survey items indicated readiness within the four contexts of the survey: cultural, business, human resources, and positive “organizational experience with coaching-related activities”[3]. The consultant conducted a 50-minute interview with the company president to discuss key business objectives that a coaching initiative would help the company to achieve. The consultant asked twelve scripted questions and determined emerging themes. Then, survey results were synthesized with themes from an interview conducted with the company president. 

 

Findings

The COAE indicated areas of strength, potential benefits, and areas for improvement. The study considered contributing factors to organizational coaching readiness as strengths within the organizational context. When measuring current coaching capacity and writing a strategic development plan to build a coaching capability, the following findings were identified: 

  • the willingness and ability of managers to coach employees indicates coaching capacity

  • managers unofficially provide effective coaching to direct reports across all job levels

  • some routines exist to support a strategic coaching initiative, while others need to be developed or improved

Because coaching is driven by on-the-job learning, it may be “the single most important means of aiding in the development of skills associated with leadership”[4]. On-the job coaching, and executive coaching can bridge gaps where on-site courses and executive education are lacking. Moreover, executive group coaching would assist with balancing relationship-performance to produce relationship-building and performance-enhancing outcomes within the context of leadership development. 

 

Culture

Organizational members believe the organization consistently acts in good faith. Leaders act as role models for the company’s goals and values, fostering a culture of trust[5]. Moreover, coaching and knowledge transfer take place in the context of trusting relationships. As companies grow, learning becomes a higher priority. Given the company’s current life stage, coaching can connect business strategy with learning. 

 

Business

Future-oriented, transformational business strategies depend on organic growth versus growth through acquisitions[6]. Employees possess a general knowledge of the business strategies that would be enhanced with coaching.

 

HR 

Organizations are increasingly looking for job candidates who are the right fit or that possess competencies or characteristics that can’t be taught[7]. Candidates undoubtedly bring a set of skills with them and will learn select skills on the job. The need for on-the-job learning despite cultural fit may indicate a coaching capability.

 

Positive Experiences

As relationships provide opportunities to develop and deepen trust, leaders and team members place high value on nurturing relationships and building social capital. Coaching honors the individuality of employees. The likelihood of success increases when coaching is not seen as remedial or used to fix performance problems[8].

 

Recommendations

When combined, specific factors in the organizational context pose potential barriers to building a sustainable coaching capability. Currently, managers coach both good and struggling performers. The use of competency models, along with a stronger performance management system will likely drive the use of 360-degree assessments for manager and employee development. 

 

Recommendation 1: Evaluate the Effectiveness of Current Coaching Activities

Measure the effectiveness of coaching on business results, starting with Key Performance Indicators. Further assessments and/or interviews should be conducted to verify employee perceptions on specific items of concern to senior management. This perspective provides a head start to build the baseline data needed to measure a strategic coaching initiative.

 

Recommendation 2: Optimize the Performance Appraisal and Management Process

To maximize coaching effectiveness, the company should optimize its performance appraisal and management process prior to rolling out a developmental coaching initiative. In anticipation of competency model implementation, leaders should evaluate obstacles preventing a more robust performance management process. This optimization plan integrates the use of 360-degree assessments or other tools to help depersonalize performance feedback.

 

[1] (Hunt & Weintraub, 2007)

[2] (Anderson & Anderson, 2005; Burke, 2011)

[3] (Hunt and Weintraub, 2007)

[4] (Hunt and Weintraub, 2007)

[5] (Hunt and Weintraub, 2007)

[6] (Hunt & Weintraub, 2007; Rothwell, 2016)

[7] (Hunt & Weintraub, 2007)

[8] (Anderson & Anderson 2005; Hunt & Weintraub 2007)

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