The need to achieve more with fewer resources at a faster pace is the new normal for business leaders, who are faced with an ever-growing list of new and old demands. Many companies have turned to coaching to close the gap – but does it really work?
Research shows that training yields highly variable results, with reported improvements ranging from 3 percent to 97 percent. Furthermore, the impact of ineffective coaching can be detrimental to companies and individuals. Accounting for more than $14 billion in business spending each year, it’s essential that executive training justifies the cost and delivers measurable impact.
The goals of training are always admirable, but many training solutions focus essentially on making a person feel better or providing a change in mindset, with the hope that this will translate into behavior change in the workplace – and this is not given.
What works is a solid methodology backed by science that is proven to make a difference and increase ROI. When done well, coaching can provide results such as improved employee retention, confidence, job satisfaction, reduced stress, increased productivity and increased revenue.
Why traditional methods don’t work
Traditional coaching focuses on matching coaches and trainers, often based on factors including personality, gender, etc., despite little scientific evidence that matching results in sustainable business results for individuals or organizations.
Why doesn’t the coach-coach relationship make a more significant difference?
Because often, likeability and chemistry are in direct conflict with the challenging thinking needed for a coach to make meaningful changes in behavior. The coach-coachee match can also discourage diversity of thought and undermine diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, as we tend to want to align ourselves with someone like us rather than someone who is more likely to challenge our thinking and challenge us. expose to new ideas.
That’s why the focus on that it matters is critical: How coaches build trust and a working partnership with their coachee, and how they aim to challenge mindsets and support behavior change. If you’re choosing to exercise based on the coach alone, at best, you’re investing time and money in an inconsistent approach that may not yield tangible improvements, and at worst, you may be investing in a relationship that may harmful active life. .
A new perspective
Quickly. Focused on the goal. Solution oriented. Measurable. These are the qualities of effective coaching that make an impact.
Approaches built on solution-focused therapy, behavioral training, and mastery experiences have been shown to be more effective in generating solutions to a problem and achieving goals than the typical approach of exploring difficulties (which can be downright counterproductive). Let’s break down these three elements:
Solution Focused Therapy. Instead of spending time thinking about the problem that currently exists, the reasons for it, and the individual’s strengths and weaknesses that led to it – solution-focused coaching approaches jump straight to the question of what needs to change and the steps to get there.
Enabling behavior. A key element that determines whether training can improve performance is whether there is a behavioral opportunity to bridge the intention-behavior gap. In traditional training, the goal-behavior gap creates good goals for action that people will take on their own time, but these goals do not translate into the desired behavior. Effective training will acknowledge the intention-behavior gap and equip participants with the tools they need to turn intention into action.
Mastery experiences. Mastery experiences include creating a sense of ongoing progress and achievement for the coachee by regularly meeting self-defined improvement standards. This is achieved by setting achievable goals and focusing on achieving that goal before moving on to the next—rather than focusing on several different priorities or goals at once and chipping away at them over time.
More does not mean better
Many traditional coaching solutions involve sessions lasting six to nine months, with that time spent setting goals and talking through problems. Having a set number of sessions to achieve goals keeps a tighter focus on what you want to get out of each session and can result in more action-focused change.
On the other hand, with more sessions, you risk having more time for distractions, to think about current challenges, and to divert your attention from the real goal: taking action to change.
The results you can see
There are many solutions that promise change, but most lack rigorous data to support tangible impact. Creating a scalable learning strategy tied to metrics like business performance and organizational priorities is an excellent foundation for observable and measurable coaching results. There are three important metrics for tracking distinct and measurable behavioral changes. The first is internal change: this involves measuring psychological constructs that predict behavior change. The other is behavior change, which measures whether the individual’s behavior has changed in the real world. And finally, it’s important to measure organizational results that demonstrate impact through engagement surveys, financial results, and productivity metrics.
With economic instability on our heels and the Great Recession still alive and well, organizations must balance tightrope walking with developing the next generation of leaders. So when choosing a coaching solution strategy, it should be tied to metrics where ROI can be directly linked to changed behavior for greater organizational impact.