How to fix the broken coaching model

If the way in which coaching has traditionally been delivered is no longer fit for the modern workplace – as we argued in our previous post – how, then, should it evolve?

To deliver the best value and impact in the modern workplace for today’s workers, coaching programmes need to become more adaptive. To better support flexible working methods and the learning styles of individuals. But what would that look like in practice?

3 ways to fix the traditional coaching model:

1. Deliver coaching sessions whenever and wherever they’re needed

Think of your typical traditional coaching programme – a set of coaching sessions each two hours long delivered in person in an office. What if, instead, individual employees could arrange coaching sessions of different and varying lengths depending on their needs? And what if those sessions could be delivered wherever suits the employee?

  • For example, an initial two-hour coaching session could be held face-to-face in the office with a second session planned for a couple of weeks later. But if the individual realised that it would be useful to have some clarification of material from the first session sooner? Then it would be easy for them to speak with their coach sooner via a short video conference call, rather than waiting for the next booked session in, perhaps, 4-6 weeks’ time when the moment for best learning has passed.

With this more flexible approach, individuals receiving coaching inevitably stay more engaged with it – as it’s more immediately useful. Coaching fits better into their working lives, letting them capitalise on learning opportunities as they arise. As a result, employees realise the benefits of coaching sooner and at the peak of need.

2. Support greater flexibility in the structure of coaching programmes

What if, instead of working through a fixed programme of sessions, coaching could be spun up and spun down as required?

  • For example, perhaps an employee needs coaching on some aspect of her work. After taking a few sessions with a coach, she decides she has had enough input for now and would like to focus on implementing the new skill with a view to returning for further coaching sessions later in the year.

By making this easy to implement, rather than forcing her to work through all the sessions in one go, she gets more value out of its programme. And so does the organisation.

What’s more, by using coaching programmes that are more flexible in terms of how they’re accessed, coaching can be distributed deeper within your organisation – without driving up your coaching budget. How? By allowing employees to access just the sessions they need. As a result, the cost of coaching can be shared across more individuals – delivering coaching more cost-effectively and spreading the value far and wide.

3. Provider for a wider range of delivery options

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Aphorism 34 (quoted in Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking)

Why should coaching only be delivered while sat down in an office?

After all, walking meetings are popular with senior executives from Richard Branson to Mark Zuckerberg – for the fresh thinking and creativity they engender. If your senior execs do their best thinking while walking, then your coaching provider should be able to support that.

But more than that, it should be possible for individuals to easily receive coaching even amidst rapidly changing work demands.

  • For example, if an employee will be travelling over a given period, there should be no reason why coaching should be interrupted. Instead, the coaching programme should adapt – for example, delivering the coaching over the phone, or by video conference.

Coaching programmes that are adaptive offer the most effective way of learning for the individual receiving it. They let you easily choose coaches according to the preferences and learning styles of each individual. And so deliver the greatest value.

Coaching that delivers more value

In summary, coaching programmes can be strengthened by offering more flexibility in terms of location, duration, structure and delivery. Such coaching programmes, by being adaptive, help your organisation get more value from its investment in coaching.

To find out more about what adaptive coaching looks like in practice – and how it can strengthen your organisation’s learning and development programme, visit [use case asset].


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