June 03, 2019

Why Coaching Initiatives Often Fail

How does your internal coaching program measure up?

Most coaching programs fail to meet their business objectives- they don’t provide better business results or build talent. This doesn’t have to happen! A correctly implemented and solid coaching platform can be one of the highest returns on investments in your annual HR strategy. 

We’ve been called in to help many companies fix their coaching initiative, and we’ve repeatedly found that 3 core issues account for 80% of the root causes of the issue:

  1. All good coaching platforms are focused on the essential skill for changing behavior and complex skill adoption: asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions foster insight, commitment, and For most managers, making the change from simply providing a solution to ensuring the employee finds his or her own solutions to their challenges and problems is extremely difficult. Providing instructions, a thing most managers do well, is too ingrained into their management approach. Most managers revert to “telling” instead of “asking” only weeks after they are trained.
  2. Many excellent coaching systems, such as GROW, are based upon the employee self-identifying their development and performance needs. Many employees simply refuse or can’t correctly diagnose their challenge
  3. Managers have a difficult time applying a coaching tool to a specific competency and getting great results. They abandon the technique before giving it a chance to be successful.

Our suggestions:

First and foremost, have a strategy in place to head off the most common problems before you begin a coaching program. If you’ve already initiated a program and it’s not sticking - get help ASAP.

In either case the following will get you headed in the right direction:

  1. How to successfully and permanently make the shift from telling the employee what to do to asking open-ended questions:

The 3 best solutions are to: 1) provide more practice and more real-world simulations, 2) provide expert advice to help managers with toughest coaching challenges, and 3) integrate feedback and feed-forward into your coaching system so the 2 techniques work together seamlessly. Use practice sessions, webinars, and more touch points to create expertise with the technique.

  1. Managers struggle adhering to the questioning protocol when the employee won’t self-identify their development and performance needs. They struggle with moving back and forth out of feedback and into coaching. Some give up feedback altogether, others provide so much feedback at the front end of coaching sessions they never capture the magic of open-ended questions.

What’s needed is a great feedback methodology such as CCL’s SBI (Situation, Behavior, Impact) integrated seamlessly into the coaching system. Even if the feedback and coaching training are presented concurrently, which they often are, that does not mean they are truly integrated.

An integrated approach clarifies how to conduct feedback (telling) and coaching (asking) to change performance and behaviors. Furthermore, we’ve created a “how to GROW coach in the moment” module in the advanced Performex GROW coaching system.

  1. Managers have a difficult time applying the general coaching tool to particularly challenging competencies and getting great results.

Coaching for complex skills development and specific behavioral change happens faster when managers have access to a database with questions tailored to address a specific competency. For example, we know our coaches get better and faster improvement in delegation when they ask specific GROW delegation questions. Our platform has questions and strategies to deal with all of the most common competencies. What’s more, our advanced module instructs managers to develop their own competency or skill based questions.

Whether you already have an internal coaching system in place or are looking to implement one, contact Performex to help ensure the program is a success!  info@performex.com



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