If like many companies you are increasing the number of trained coaches inside the business, then well done you! You have probably internally justified the benefits of developing a ‘coaching culture’ and looked at the intricate coach to coachee matching process. However, with this provision of ‘internal coaches’ comes tensions. When a persona has decided to embark on their route to develop as a coach, there is a strong requirement to look at how you as an organisation supports this person. Once trained, a developing coach is often left on their own, and this is dangerous regardless of how good they can be. At the start of our coaching journey, they may/should have many questions about their new situations, about the clients that they are working with or about how they work. They are bound to have internal voices giving conflicting messages, experience confidence hurdles as well as the simple time equation of balancing their day job with doing coaching… and unfortunately these issues do not disappear as you develop, although perhaps the way that you deal with them does change.
Some companies work around this by introducing external development (to introduce new methods beyond the foundation level courses often implemented), and perhaps a supervision infrastructure hopefully with external suppliers. The ‘external’ is the important part here – it brings external diversity and a break from the organisation group-think that often adheres to practice and day discipline as well as a ‘safe place’ for sensible challenge and provocation.
Adjourning the traditional support of knowledge development and supervision comes slightly newer collaborative capabilities enabled through technology. The ability for video conference calls involving more than 2 people and without the prerequisite high tech solutions. Technology enables online presence from virtually anywhere on the globe, and complementing traditional practices can lead to great breakthroughs for those participating. My experience of running a virtual innovation platform warns me of alter egos that can exist within this adjacent space, although when aware, the outputs of using such sharing systems easily outweighs not doing it in the first place.
In mainstream business we are seeing a proliferation of what are simply action learning groups where executives come together to explore similar issues and challenges, holding each other to account for actions, and perhaps exploring safely challenges that face their business. With the welcome increase of the different motivations and thoughts of Gen Y and soon Gen Z in our workplaces, this sharing is here to stay and depending on the makeup of the group, the action learning style development could offer some significant benefits to the coaching profession.
Perhaps then a blend between face to face action learning groups and technology could deliver benefit. Face to face engagement being important as ground rules and working practices of the group develops, and virtual work rooms being a complement and reducing the need for travel. The ‘virtualness’ being able to cater as a resource store for reference information and tools.
We are wanting to engage with companies that want to develop their internal coaching capabilities and develop their coaching concept further.
Book up a free, no obligations conversation to explore how what you are doing can be even further built on.