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Costs ... and benefits ... of investing in coaching

It was telling for me, in the article “New study sheds light on manager-coaches” (although not so new - from 2009), that those in more senior positions were more likely to use mature coaching approaches because they had the time and space to do so. This finding, for me, indicates that coaching isn’t a panacea to all business issues or a ‘quick fix’ option, although it is effective when properly resourced. As such, it was interesting that coaching was framed by many line managers, who participated in the research study, as a “burden” - a word used twice in four questions from the CIPD report.

There is also a clear indication in the report that many managers are not themselves supported to develop coaching skills prior to starting coaching work with their team members. This could, in turn, help explain why there were both primary and mature coaching approaches identified by the study. Perhaps there is also a need to differentiate between leadership and management? Not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers - and maybe the more participatory  “mature coaching” approach tends to be used by managers who are also leaders?

Ultimately a business needs to really invest in coaching and to integrate it into their culture. This requirement is highlighted by the three key recommendations from the report: 1) coaching needs to be viewed as a business issue; 2) roles and expectation need to be clear; and 3) skills development, resourcing and support are essential. Perhaps this is why consistent use of coaching is “virgin territory” for “three-quarters of businesses” - the initial investment appears to be very high!

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