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Coaching for Your Staff: Who, Why, and ROI

Not sure if you’re ready to invest in coaching for members of your staff? The answers to these common questions can help you decide.

By Pegotty Cooper, FASAE

Executive coaching, performance coaching, leadership coaching, career coaching—call it what you will, the underlying objective is for the coach to work with an individual or a team to help them become leaders or develop the ability to bring the greatest value possible to the association they work for. Here are some common questions about coaching that association executives and HR professionals often have.

Who hires the coach? An individual may decide to engage a coach as an investment in his or her future or to help address a career-limiting issue. Or the decision to engage a coach may be made by the association’s management to support the employee’s performance in the organization.

Sometimes a coach is hired during a staff downsizing to assist those affected with the impact of the separation and to make sure they have the job search materials and skills to move forward successfully.

What results can you expect from coaching? At the core of coaching is a shift in mindset to see new pathways. It requires buy-in from the person being coached. A coach can achieve that with assessments and exercises and by making a connection with the person so he or she may view the coach as a sounding board. A coach does not solve problems; instead the coach helps the person gain clarity, discover new options, and ultimately make courageous new choices to attain different results.

These are the top three issues that coaches in organizations deal with:

  • Relationships and communication. These problems usually show up as resistance to having difficult conversations related to alignment with organizational goals, accountability, and performance.
  • Prioritization and focus. The inability to delegate generally manifests as executive burnout or high staff turnover.
  • Leadership development. When competent employees and motivated board members believe their skills are not being optimized, the organization is unable to develop strategic plans and cultivate leaders.

When a person completes a coaching commitment, he or she is armed with that experience and has a model to emulate. The person can adopt a coaching approach in his or her leadership, which may institute a culture of coaching in the organization.

A coach does not solve problems; instead the coach helps the person gain clarity, discover new options, and ultimately make courageous new choices to attain different results.

How much does a coach cost? Coaching fees vary, but a coach who is trained by an accredited organization and has at least five years of experience typically will charge between $750 and $2,500 per month. Why the wide spread? It depends on a number of variables, including whether the coach will be observing the person or using assessments, or working with groups such as the executive staff or a project team.

A coaching contract normally lasts about six months, the length of time necessary to develop new habits of thinking and to integrate the new learning for a permanent change.

What about the ROI? Consider the role that the person being coached plays to determine if the coaching will bring a return to the organization. A person who is a team leader may have a big impact on the level of motivation and satisfaction of the employees he or she manages. We know from many studies that people leave managers, not organizations. And if your best people are leaving, what is the cost of lost productivity and onboarding new hires? What if you have to replace a key executive because of burnout? What is the cost of recruitment? How does that translate into damage to relationships, customer service, developing products, or producing publications and events that hit the mark for your members?

If you invest in training, coaching helps ensure that your investment actually results in changed behavior. Understanding what skills are needed is one thing; shifting the mindset to develop new habits is another. And if you have to let someone go and they believe they were mistreated and seek a remedy in a courtroom, what is that worth to you to prevent?

Pegotty Cooper, FASAE, is a certified coach at Career Strategy Roadmap, working exclusively with association executives. Email: [email protected]

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