Research Paper By Emily Ann Lombos
(Transformational Coach, PHILIPPINES)
The Workplace Trends and Forecasting Program of the Society of Human Resource Management identified top people issues faced by organizations worldwide. These are (1) Retaining and attracting the best employees, (2) Developing the next generation corporate leaders and (3)Creating a culture that attracts the best employees (Schramm, J., Coombs,J., & Boyd,B. 2013). These are typical workplace challenges.
Sustainable engagement is the intensity of employees’ connection to the organization based on their being engaged, being enabled and feeling energized. There are engagement factors that attract, retain and motivate employees. Although pay and rewards are engagement factors, sustainable engagement depends far more on the quality of employee’s relationship with their managers, their trust in senior leadership and their ability to manage stress on the job (Tower Watson, 2012).
Coaching behavior is a driver for employee engagement (Boatman, J. & Wellins, R.S. , 2011, Tower Watson, 2012, Center for Creative Leadership). It one of the most critical manager’s skills uncovered across multiple studies (Boatman, J. & Wellins, R.S. , 2011, Wellins, R.S., Bernthal, P. & Phelps, M., 2010, Tower Watson, 2012, Center for Creative Leadership).
Two of the three skills Filipino leaders believe they will need most in the future are dedicated to improving the quality of talent. These top three skills are Driving and managing change, Coaching and developing others and Identifying and developing future talent (Boatman, J., Wellins, R.S., & Magdaraog, V., 2011). These are needed to address HR issues earlier identified.
Coaching interventions help individuals and organizations develop and achieve their respective goals. Among the numerous benefits of coaching are improved performance and productivity, staff development, improved learning, improved relationships, improved quality of life for individuals, more time for managers, more creative ideas, better use of people, skills and resources, faster and more effective emergency response, greater flexibility and adaptability to change, more motivated staff, culture change, and a life skill (Whitmore, 2009).
In a Philippine study, coaching and mentoring was the 5th development intervention practiced after external seminars/ workshops, in‐house training and development, job enrichment and job rotation (Supangco, K.T., 2007). Leadership Development and Coaching was also identified as the second Strategic Organization Development Intervention practiced in the Philippines (Lombos, E. 2015). Three types of Coaching
(i.e. coaching from managers, internal and external coaches) are used as a development intervention. Coaching and developing others was identified as one of the most critical skills for leadership. Furthermore, leaders and Generation Y find coaching as an effective development intervention. Generation Y even see it as more effective than all other development methods (Boatman, J. & Wellins, R.S. , 2011).
The current research will look into related literature of Coaching specifically the Coaching Engagement, Foundation Theories of Coaching, Human Resource Development (HRD), Organization Development (OD), Leadership Development and Measuring Coaching Effectiveness. It will focus on Coaching as part of a Talent Management HRD Program: Accelerated Management Program (AMP) of an organization. This paper will start with a review of related literature, background of sample case of Coaching in an Accelerated Management Program, results, and conclusions.
Review of Related Literature
Coaching has various definitions.
- It is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another (Downey, 2003).
- “Unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” (Whitmore, 2009)
- It is a collaborative, solution‐focused, results‐oriented and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self‐directed learning and personal growth of the coachee (Grant, 2001, definition referred to by the Association for Coaching).
- “a human development process that involves structured, focused interaction and the use of appropriate strategies, tools, and techniques to promote desirable and sustainable change for the benefit of the coachee and potentially for other stakeholders” (Bachkirova, Cox and Clutterbuck 2014, p. 1).
The first 3 definitions are focused on facilitating the performance of the client. While the fourth definition does not limit the coaching process to benefit the coachee alone but potentially the other stakeholders as well. All the definitions are applicable to the current study. However, Bahkirova, et. al.’s definition seems more appropriate since coaching happens as part of the human resource development function of the organization, and there are stakeholders (i.e. superiors, employees, HR, customers, CEO, sponsors). The changes that happen in the coachee affect the whole system that they are a part of which includes the stakeholders.
In a structural analysis of Cox, Bachkirova & Clutterbuck, (2014), they identified four parts of the coaching engagement. These are 1) client as an individual, 2) coach as an individual, 3) coaching relationship & processes and 4) context. (See Figure 1) The combination of the four parts are important for coaching to be successful. This framework indicates the potential interplay between organizational and individual agenda and the Human Resource Development (HRD) Paradigms.
The three HRD paradigms (i.e. learning, performance and meaning of work) were identified to illustrate how specific traditions of coaching can be theoretically compatible to the specific HRD needs of organizations or individual employees (Bates, 2002; Bates & Chen, 2004).
The focus of executive coaching engagements are personal behavior change (listening, tact/diplomacy, collaboration, persuasion and influence, harsh self‐criticism, timidity/self‐confidence, shift from tactical to strategic, customer‐focus, stress reduction, managing perception of “ambition”), enhancing leadership effectiveness (projecting confidence, inspiring and motivating others, assimilation into new role, increase in scope), fostering stronger relationships (focus=cluster of “emotional competence” factors, i.e. self‐awareness, self control, attunement to others, and building relationships), personal development and work‐family integration (Wasylyshyn, 2003).
Foundational Theories in Coaching
Coaching draws from a combination of elements from other disciplines (See Figure 2) which also helps in the experiences and knowledge of the both the coach and client and the other parts of the coaching engagement (Cox, Bachkirova & Clutterbuck, 2014).
Bachkirova et al. (2014) believes that Adult Learning and Development provides the foundation for coaching. Adult learning is defined by Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (2011) as “the extension and clarification of the meaning of one’ s experience” (p. 11). Such learning, is implicit in any coaching meeting. Furthermore, change is also intrinsic to learning: Any discernible change in behavior or attitude can suggest that learning has taken place (Bachkirova et al., 2014). Several theories of adult learning can be seen as key in the process of learning and change that occurs during the coaching process. Such learning theories are Andragody, Experiential Learning, and Transformative Learning (Cox, et.al., 2014).
In Andragogy, Knowles (1990) identified six main characteristics of the adult learner. One, adults need to know what they will be learning. Thus, the need for a coaching objective/agenda. Second, adults are self‐directed and like to be treated as equals. Third, adults have a wealth of experience which is a vital catalyst for learning and unlearning (Cox, 2012). Thus, coaches challenge clients’ existing assumptins in relation to new experiences or new learning. Fourth, adults learn what they need to learn so they seek coaching generally when their life or work situation creates a need to know, understand or when a change is needed. Fifth, adults are relevancy oriented and seek immediate application of what they learn. Thus, clients may want to work on immediate problems. Sixth, adults are internally motivated. In coaching, emphasize on promoting a sense of connection between the client’s needs and values and the outcome of coaching (Cox, et.al., 2014).
In the Experiential Learning Theory, experiences are basis for observation and reflection. Kolb (1984) suggested that experiential learning is a holistic proces involving the four modes of learning : feeling, reflecting, thinking and acting.
As for Transformative learning, it involves fundamental modification of beliefs, principles, and feelings. Mezirow explained how it entails significant shifts in perception that can change our understanding of ourselves and how we make sense of the world. Transformative learning refers to a process by which we transform our taken‐for‐ granted frames of reference (meaning perspectives, habits of mind, mind‐sets) to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, emotionally capable of change, and reflective so that they may generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action (Mezirow, 2000, p. 7). In coaching, meaning perspectives are difficult to transform. For deep learning to occur, they need to be challenged.
Sammut’s (2014) study investigated how the transformational learning theory is applied in coaching. In her interview of 8 coaches, four themes emerged such as space and context of the coaching environment, the coaching relationships, dialogue, language and communication and transformation. There is also connection between coaching and Mezirow’s six core elements of transformation. These core elements are (1) Individual Experience, (2) Critical Reflection, (3) Dialogue, (4) Holistic Orientation, (5) Awareness of Context and (6) Authentic Relationship. These core elements are necessary for transformation to happen.
Coaching and Human Resource Development
Human Resource Development (HRD) is a set of systematic and planned activities designed by an organization to provide its members with the opportunities to learn necessary skills to meet current and future job demands. Learning is at the core of all HRD efforts. It can be stand alone function, or one of the primary functions within the Human Resource Management (HRM) Department (Werner & DeSimone, 2006). The original HR Wheel from McLagan identified three primary HRD functions: training and development, organization development and career development.
Training and Development focuses on changing or improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of individuals. Development activities include the coaching process wherein individuals are encouraged to accept responsibility for their actions, to address any work‐related problems and to achieve and sustain superior levels of performance. Coaching involves treating employees as partners in achieving both personal and organizational goals (Werner & DeSimone, 2006). In top companies, developing key talents is accelerated thru the use of coaching and experience as development methods (Aon‐Hewitt). Coaching and mentoring is used during on boarding to get new leaders up to speed aside from activities such as expectation setting and transition plans. It is also practiced for entering a new role within the organization. Board of directors, CEOs and senior leaders also spend a significant amount of time on activities that include coaching and mentoring targeted groups, succession planning and talent reviews (Aon‐Hewitt, 2011).
The Career Development function is an “ongoing process by which individuals progress through a series of stages, each of which is characterized by a relatively unique set of issues, themes and tasks” (Greenhouse, J.H, 1987). The type of coaching used is Career coaching which focuses on assisting employees in identifying and preparing for their desired careers or roles (Hechanova, Teng‐Calleja, Villaluz, 2014).
Another HRM function that uses coaching is the Performance Management and performance appraisal system. It establishes and maintains accountability throughout the organization (Werner & DeSimone, 2006). It follows a performance management cycle that represents the annual planning, monitoring, evaluating, and rewarding activities for managing an employee’s performance and development throughout the year. Throughout the cycle, managers have the responsibility of providing ongoing coaching and feedback to their employees. By observing, monitoring, and discussing performance and development throughout the year, managers are better equipped to support employees and manage performance.
Aside from career coaching, development and performance coaching are also used in HRD. Development coaching is the process in which leaders assist high potential employees in developing certain competencies for higher roles. While Performance coaching assists employees to perform better in their current role (Hechanova, Teng‐ Calleja, Villaluz, 2014). Ateneo CORD’s 6A Coaching Framework (Aim, Assess, Affirm, Advance, Act, Achieve) can be used to guide leaders in these three types of coaching. The application of the framework is as follows:
Coaching and Organization Development
Organization Development (OD) is defined as the process of enhancing the effectiveness of an organization and the well being of its members through planned interventions that apply behavioral science concepts (Beckard, 1969). The OD intervention is a sequence of activities, actions, and events intended to help an organization improve its performance and effectiveness (Cummings & Worley, 2005).
Coaching as an OD human process intervention helps managers and executives clarify their goals, deal with potential stumbling blocks, and improve their performance. It involves a one‐on‐one relationship and focuses on personal learning that gets transferred into organizational results and more effective leadership skills (Cummings & Worley, 2005). Coaching being an OD intervention, has elements of the OD theories such as total systems approach, social constructionism and Kurt Lewin’s change theories.
Total Systems Approach sees individuals as part of a total system whether it is a family, team, department, unit, organization, community or society. A change in one part of the system affects the other parts. It would help to have a total systems perspective of the client’s system (Cheung‐Judge, M. & Holbeche, L. 2011).
Social Constructionism Theory states that reality is socially constructed. This stresses the importance of discovering how people make sense of the world. There are multiple realities, and what people focus on becomes their reality. This will help the coach understand and challenge client’s meaning perspective (Cheung‐Judge, M. & Holbeche, L., 2011).
One of Kurt Lewin’s Change theory is the Field Theory which states that behavior is a function of the person’s personality and environment, B = f(P,E) (Cheung‐Judge, M. &Holbeche, L. 2011). It helps one understand how person’s behavior is formed. Aside from the person’s personality, needs, motivation, values and beliefs, the person’s environment plays a role in shaping one’s behavior. For learning to happen, there is a relatively permanent change in the person’s feelings, thoughts and behavior as a result of one’s interaction with the environment (Werner, J.M. & DeSimone, R.L., 2006). Thus, the need to explore supporting structures such as the performance management system, leadership, supervisor’s behaviors in the environment to sustain the learning and change of the client.
Another Kurt Lewin’s Change theory is Three‐step model of Change: Unfreezing →Movement →Refreezing (Cheung‐Judge, M. & Holbeche, L. 2011). It is the process that the client goes through. For example, a client unfreezes existing habits, practices, and beliefs. Then, moves to exploring new ways of doing things. If they new behaviors and practices work, they become new habits. One refreezes them. Edgar Schein has a similar model, which he calls the “guru/catalyst model”. It is a 3 Step Process for Promoting Transformation.
- Step 1‐Unfreeze‐ the heat of the guru or catalyst can help initiate the surface and call into question thinking patterns /practices that are get person into trouble
- Step 2‐ Change‐ The coach provides guiding ideas with the intent of helping people make a fundamental shift in their thinking and practicing
- Step 3 – Refreeze‐ involves making the new ways of thinking or practices smooth and automatic through practice and study (Hargrove, 1995).
Another framework, one can link with Lewin’s 3‐step model of change is William Bridges’ model of Transition. These are internal processes happening in the individual. The 3 stages are Ending, Neutral Zone/Unknown and New Beginnings (Bridges, 2010). An example is ending employment with a company either thru voluntary or involuntary means. In the neutral zone, the person may feel lost in the unknown, uncertain, neither here or there. Then, the New Beginning is starting with a new organization or a new life. This can be seen in people going thru reorganization, retrenchment, career changes, life changes, and loss of a loved one among others. It helps to have change plan, transition plan, and support of friends, family or a coach who can help one go thru the transition process.
The Action Research Theory of Lewin is a cornerstone of OD. It has a four step cyclical and iterative process. These are Diagnosing, Planning, Action Taking and Evaluating Action. Lewin says there has to be research before action and no action without research (Cheung‐Judge, M. & Holbeche, L. 2011). Since coaching is one type of an individual Organization Development intervention, one can relate the cycle to the coaching process. There is a need to gather data with the client, plan, take action and evaluate action.
Furthermore, the coaching process closely follows the OD planned change model (Cummings & Worley, 2005). In the Figure 3, the inner cycle is the general OD planned change model (i.e. Entry and Contracting, Diagnosing, Planning & Implementing Change and Evaluating and Institutionalizing Change) while the outer cycle is the coaching process.
Figure 3 OD Planned Change and the Coaching Process
The initial phase of the coaching process is establishing the principles of the coaching relationship. This involves setting goals of the coaching engagement. Other parameters of the relationship are established such as schedules, resources, compensation and ethics.
The second phase is conducting an assessment. It can be a personal or systemic process. Personal assessment can involve a set of interview questions to surface development opportunities. Others forms are personal‐style instruments such as Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator, the FIRO‐B or DISC profile. The use of personal‐style instruments requires extensive training and certification to administer and interpret results. In a systemic assessment, the client’s team, peers and relevant others are engaged in the process. The most common form is 360‐degree feedback process.
The third phase is debriefing the results. The coach and the client review the assessment data and agree on a diagnosis. Feedback is given. The purpose of the feedback is to get the client to move into action. With the assessment data, the coaching goals can further be refined or revised if necessary.
Developing an action plan is the fourth phase. Activities the client and the coach will engage in are specified. These include development new actions, learning opportunities or projects to demonstrate competence. It can be difficult for the client because he/she has to own the results of the assessment and begin to see new possibilities for action. The action plan should include methods, milestones to monitor progress, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the coaching process.
The fifth phase is implement the action plan. To add to the elements of the action plans to be implemented, one‐on‐one meetings between the coach and the client happens. The coach supports or encourages the client to take action on his/her intentions.
The final phase of Evaluating and Institutionalizing Change is assessing the results. The results of the client’s actions are reviewed and evaluated at certain intervals, or the process can be terminated. (Cummings & Worley, 2005).
Coaching and Leadership Development
Leadership is the “ability to direct a group toward the attainment of goals” (Riggio, 2009). Leaders influence organization directions, structures, systems and practices. They coach, mentor and are role models. Coaching is a task and skill of leaders. It is also a method for developing leaders.
Leadership Development is teaching leadership qualities, communication, how to motivate others, and management to an individual who may or may not use the learned skills in a leadership position (Business Dictionary). It refers to any activity that enhances the quality of leadership within an individual or organization. These activities have ranged from MBA style program offered at university business schools to action learning, high‐ropes courses and executive retreats (Wikipedia).
Coaching is an effective method (Boatman, J. & Wellins, R.S. , 2011) that is part of the 70‐20‐10 rule for leadership development. It states that leaders learn thru 70% challenging assignments/experiences, 20% developmental relationship and 10% coursework and training. Under the 20% developmental relationship, one will find executive coaching, workplace coaching and mentoring (Rabin, 2014).
Another concept related to Leadership Development is the Leadership Pipeline. The Leadership Pipeline shows the requirements at key leadership levels and the skills needed to make the transition from one layer of leadership to the next successfully. Each of these bends, or passages, represents a change in organizational position – a different level and complexity of leadership – where a significant turn has to be made. The six turns in the pipeline listed below are major events in the life of a leader. The goal here is to help the leader know the skills, time applications, and work values demanded by each passage (Charan, Drotter, Noel, 2012).
The Center for Creative Leadership (2015) created a Leadership Development Roadmap for developing leaders at all levels. It connects challenges leaders face daily with the essential skills they need to be successful. They identified 5 levels of leadership. These are leading the self, leading others, leading managers, leading the function and leading the organization. The skills and competencies they identified for each level of leadership somehow resonate with the shifts in the leadership pipeline.
With the various styles of coaching such as executive coaching, performance coaching, business coaching, life coaching and many more, it is best to know the theories and the different genres, context and needs. One might be asked to change during the course of the sessions as one unravels something deeper that is causing the main issue/concern of the client (Cox, Bachkirova & Clutterbuck, 2014).
Measuring Coaching Effectiveness and Outcomes
Creating value is a key challenge of the coaching practice. There is a need to demonstrate Return on Investment (ROI) and ensure that executive coaches serve the needs of the organization and individuals being coached (Hawkin, P.).
In a CIPD survey in 2010, coaching is not effectively evaluated (McGurk, J. 2010). Of the 36% who do coaching evaluation, most collected forms of data were happy sheets, stories and testimonies. Less that half used approaches such as linking coaching outcomes to key performance indicators (KPIs). Quantitative and mixed‐method approaches such as return on expectation (ROE) and ROI are less common. Furthermore in monitoring progress during coaching, only 1/3 discusses and link to performance. 1/5 frequently collect data and analyze; only 13 % frequently discuss progress of coaching in management meetings and 1/3 ask participants to keep diaries and records.
There are different evaluation models that can be used. One is Kirkpatrick’s four levels of Evaluation which include 1) reactions – ‘liking or feelings for the program, 2) learning – ‘principles, facts, and so on, absorbed’, 3) behavior – ‘using learning on the job’ and 4) results – ‘increased production, reduced costs, and so on’ (Kirkpatrick, 1998) can be used. In measuring at level 4, business impact and results, historical data before the program and after program is needed to see the impact. Philips & Stone (2002) added additional two levels of measures, which are Return on Investment and Intangible Benefits. To compute for ROI, it is translating the impact/results into monetary terms. In terms of Learning and Development evaluation practices in the Philippines, the highest and most practiced is the Reaction‐Level 1 evaluation then declines to ROI‐Level 5 type of evaluation (Florentin, 2004).
McGurk (2010) proposes the RAM Model of Evaluation (See Figure 4). It is a useful ‘thought tool’ for coaching. R is for Relevance. It allows practitioners to contemplate on a ‘structured thought process’ for how they develop learning interventions that have real organizational impact. A is for Alignment which means that one ensures that coaching interventions have real business impact. One talks to the key stakeholders and knows that what is being delivered fits with the needs of stakeholders. M is for Measurement. This means one incorporates evaluation into the entire process by ensuring that data collected is appropriate to the type of coaching that is being delivered.
Figure 4 RAM Model of Evaluation
In an executive coaching outcome study, the top three indications of successful coaching were: (1) sustained behavior change (63%), (2) increased self‐awareness and understanding (48%), and (3) more effective leadership (45%) (Wasylyshyn, 2003).
The Case Study
In the sample case study, the coaching engagement is a three‐way relationship with the coach, the coachee (ultimate client) and the organization as a client. Thus, there is potential interplay of the organizational and individual agenda and HRD paradigms affecting the coaching engagement. The context of the study is HRD, Leadership Development and Organization Development. The general types of coaching used are performance, development and career coaching. However, other types of coaching surfaced depending on the individual client’s needs.
Background of the organization and the Accelerated Management Program
The organization is a leading property development and retail company in the Philippines. The Accelerated Management Program is a HRD Talent Management Program to develop leaders. The organization engaged external coaches as part of the program.
The General Program Objectives of the Accelerated Management Program are to:
- Fast track development of first line management and strengthen current capabilities; optimize their potential so the can contribute to business success
- Up‐skill and boost confidence of first line management and enjoin them to be innovative and inspiring leaders
- Enhance organizational commitment of first line management by assisting them to achieve their personal and career goals in the organization
Some specific coaching objectives of the organization are as follows:
- To develop/enhance specific management competencies: planning, organizing, controlling
- To develop/enhance leadership capability
- To learn stakeholder management and strategic networking · To cultivate critical thinking and problem solving capability
- To cultivate and deepen management perspective on how to balance concern for people with concern for results
As for the individual clients (coachees), their objectives were varied but sought alignment to the organization’s coaching objectives.
The Coachees/Clients were supervisors and managers from various departments. They were identified as keepers in the organization’s talent development pool. Twenty coachees were assigned to the author.
The program was divided into three phases: Pre‐Coaching, Coaching and Post‐Coaching. Some of the activities at each phase are enumerated below.
- Program Orientation & kick off
- Roles and Responsibilities of People involved were communicated such as: o The coachee is expected to give 100% commitment in attending all
activities included in the Accelerated Management Program and accomplishing agreed action plans with external coach.
⇒The coach assists both the coachee and the organization’s senior management to achieve career development goals and retention rate.
⇒The line manager/immediate superior of the coachee is expected to give 100% support to the program by allowing the coachee to attend coaching session, get feedback from the coaches regarding coaching process and provides information to Human Resource Talent Management
⇒The Human Resource Department (thru a representative) acts as program facilitator. They are expected to ensure timely implementation of all activities included in the Accelerated Management Program and monitor progress.
- Getting to know coachee and the coach
⇒In the project kick‐off, there was an opportunity for the coach to meet the clients. A profile of each of the clients was also given to the coach.
⇒The coach also interviewed the immediate superiors or department heads of the coachees regarding the individual development plan of the coachee.
- Finalizing of coaching schedules
- Completion of coaching expectation form of the coachee · Enneagram inventory and feedback
- 10 coaching sessions of 1 hour per session with coaching sessions happening every other week
- Mid‐coaching review – After the 5th Session,
⇒Review between the coach and coachee on their progress versus their objectives. Realignment of objectives.
⇒Review between HRM and external coaches about the common themes, concerns and development areas of coachees.
- 360‐degree leadership survey and feedback
- At the end of the 10th coaching session, a review was done
⇒Review between the coach and coachee on their coaching objectives
- Submission of post coaching summary (strengths, areas for development, recommendations, talent classification) to HRM
- Evaluation of the Program based on coaching expectations/objectives · Presentation to HRM and CEO.
Data Gathering Methods and Tools
- The Coaching Expectation Form (CEF) was used to document the individual client’s coaching objectives. It was answered by the coachee and signed off by their superior. It was revisited to check progress and see if expected outcomes are met.
- The Enneagram was used to determine the personality of the coachee. The coachee answered it. Feedback was given to the coachee.
- The 360‐degree leadership survey was used to measure leadership behaviors of the coachee. Superiors, peers and subordinates answered it. Feedback was given to the coachee.
- Interviews with Superiors/Team Heads‐ The coach interviewed the superiors of the coachees regarding the coachees’ strengths, areas for development, needed competencies for the current role and future role. Feedback was given to the coachee.
- Mid‐review and End‐Review Meetings with the coachee, HRM representative and the CEO
⇒Midway thru the coaching program and at the end of the program the coach and coachee reviewed coaching expectations/objectives and checked for milestones or accomplishments.
⇒Coach also met with the HRM representative/HR Director to give updates, progress, concerns that may surface outside coaching, common themes of issues/concerns of the coachees that can be addressed by the organization.
⇒Updates were also presented to the CEO mid‐way and at the end of the program.
- Mid‐way and at the end of the program, coaching summary data was used as inputs for Talent Development reviews, identifying training needs and other interventions needed by the organization.
Sixteen out of the 20 coachees completed the coaching sessions. Two left the organization while the other two were transferred to another coach.
Most of the coachees’ objectives were directly aligned to the organization’s objectives. Some of the common objectives were promotion/career advancement, performance improvement, transition to new roles, developing leadership behaviors, managing people and teams, managing oneself and work, and work challenges. Other coachee’s objectives that surfaced were dealing with stress, dealing with the boss, confidence in dealing with people in higher levels/positions in the organization, confidence in presentations and work‐life balance. There were situations wherein the coaching objectives of the coachees changed or became more focused in the course of the coaching program.
Some learning objectives could not be addressed by coaching alone such as technical knowledge, stakeholder management and supervisory/management development skill. It required HRM Department to roll out management development workshops and technical trainings. In some cases, it required mentoring support and involvement from senior and technical experts in the organization. The 70‐20‐10 leadership development model was used i.e. 70% experiential, 20% ‐coaching, mentoring and 10% workshops, seminars and formal training.
The Coaching Summary of strengths, development needs, and recommendations for each coachee was submitted to HRM. The data gathered from coaching and Feedbacks from immediate superiors were used as inputs for Talent Management. It helped HRM classify their talents and plan other development interventions to support the growth of the coachees and the talent needs of the organization. In terms of meeting the objective of the organization to fast track development, of the sixteen who completed the program under the author, 12 got promoted.
In evaluating the coaching program, the coachee’s coaching expectation form was revisited to see if the outcomes met their expectations. Kirkpatrick’s level 1 reaction evaluation from the coaching experience was also measured. In scale of 1 to 5 (1‐very poor, 5 –excellent), the coachees were asked how they found the effectiveness of coaching program. The average rating of all the coachees was a 4.2 out of a 5.
Kirkpatrick’s level 2 learning evaluation was also used. Coachees were asked about the learnings they gained from the coaching program. Some of the learnings mentioned by the coaches were time management, planning & organizing, delegating, fast track learning, people handling, management, increase of self‐awareness, transition to new role, communicating with people, people management, giving feedback, team management and focus on work, shifting and widening perspectives, work‐life balance, goal setting, engaging staff, assessing staff needs and using appropriate leadership style, appreciation of career opportunities and clarity on career path to pursue.
It gave me time to reflect on what I am currently experiencing so I will keep my focus on the challenges ahead. It also helped me properly transition in assuming a new and challenging role. –Finance Manager, Finance and Accounting
The discussions were mostly introspective in nature and it allowed me to learn things about myself that I never knew was there. It gave me an avenue to reflect who I am as a worker here in my organization and how to tackle challenges that are put in front of me. –HR Officer, Human Resources Department
These sessions helped me develop my planning and organizing and it improved the way I manage and handle my people. It also taught me how to balance my work and family time. –Coordinator, Mall Operations
In terms of Level 3 Evaluation, which is Behavior change, superiors gave feedback on the behavior changes in the coachees back on the job. Such changes were confidence in presentations, taking initiative, collaborating with others, communicating with people and managing emotions.
Below is a sample case illustration of a supervisor. The name of the client has been changed.
Case Illustration: Managing Emotions & People Handling of a New Supervisor
Arnold was newly promoted supervisor. He was part of the Accelerated Management Program of the organization. Aside from the organization’s coaching objectives, Arnold’s initial coaching expectations were to (1) improve his performance rating from good to outstanding and (2) deal with his being hot headed, control of emotions and manage stress more efficiently. Being new to his role, he has deal with the additional workload and handles a team.
Through the coaching conversations, he reflected on recent stressful experiences when he blew his top. He discovered the triggers of his emotional outburst. Some of the triggers were not being in control, not knowing how to manage the multiple demands at work, not knowing how to handle people and not knowing certain information and processes. He was also used to doing thing on his own being an individual contributor in his past role.
He discovered ways to deal with his emotions, stressors. Instead of controlling it, he learned to acknowledge his emotions, discover where it was coming from and what to do with it. He came up with a strategy. Instead of reacting to stress/problems, what worked for him was to “sit back, relax and think, then map out solutions”. He also realized he had to shift mindset/habit from working “alone” to working with a team and leading a team.
In handling people, he realized the need to communicate team objectives and involve others. He also felt the need to elaborate on performance expectations. He created communication structures such as weekly meetings with the team and one‐on‐one with each team member. This helped him monitor performance and check on his people. He also assessed the capabilities of his people and learned how to delegate work.
After 10 coaching sessions, Arnold evolved and used developed strategies in dealing with stress, manage his emotions, handle people and work challenges. He is able to communicate and manage his team. He was also able to handle an additional team temporarily while it had no leader. He has adjusted to his new role. He is motived and positive. He also motivates the people in his team. The changes in his behavior and performance was validated by his superior’s feedback that “he is more patient now, no longer gets easily frustrated and is able to manage the team.”
The Accelerated Management Program (AMP) applied Cummings & Worley’s Coaching Process: Establishing the Principles of Coaching, Conduct an Assessment, Debrief the results, Develop and Action Plan, Implement the Action plan and evaluate results.
In the first phase, Establishing Coaching Principles, at the organization level the following activities were done: Program Orientation and Kick off meeting, Orientation of AMP to coaches; meet & greet coaches, roles and responsibilities of people involved, rationale and objectives of the program were presented. At the individual level, during the coaching session, the coach reiterated coaching principles to the coachee.
For the assessment phase, assessment tools such as the Enneagram and 360‐degree Leadership Survey were used. An interview with the immediate superior of the coachee was also done to align expectations, strengths and development areas of the coachee.
At the third phase, Debrief of Results, feedback on the Enneagram and 360‐degree Leadership Survey results, and data from superiors were discussed. At the fourth phase, Develop Action Plan happened during coaching sessions. The alignment of the individual needs and organizational objectives also happened. The fifth phase was Implement Action. Some actions happened during the coaching session when the clients reflected, gained clarity of their situation, came up with solutions, and shifted perspectives.
While other actions happened in between coaching sessions. The coachees experimented with their plans, did homework inquiries, or attended workshops to address their development objectives.
The evaluation phase although it was the last phase, happened at several intervals of the program. At the end of each coaching session, there was a check in with the client if the goal for the session was met. At the end of the 5th session, there was a review wherein checking on clients’ progress with the client, superior, and HRM. After the 10th session, the outcomes of the over‐all coaching objectives were evaluated. There was a review of objectives and if they were met. The individual clients were also asked to rate in a scale of 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent), the effectiveness of the coaching program. The coaching summary reports were submitted by the coaches to HRM‐Talent Management and highlights were presented to the CEO.
The theories were applied and working in the coaching sessions specifically the Transformational Learning as mentioned in Sammut’s study. Through the coaching conversation, the coach was able to create a space and environment, build rapport, and create trust. The client came to the coach with their individual experiences. Through the coaching conversations (dialogue), the coach used the language of the client. The client went through critical reflection. Having a holistic orientation, the coach saw the client as a being with mind, body, spirit, and mental, social, psychological and emotional aspects. Awareness of client’s context, which includes the culture, models, social factors, environment, and system of the client, has helped in the coaching process.
With regards to the coaching engagement, the coach had to be aware of the dual clients that are the organization and the individual client and their respective objectives. The coach had to facilitate alignment of their coaching agenda. There was an interplay of the individual client and the organization’s coaching agenda as mentioned by the study of Cox, et. al. (2014). There were cases wherein individual coaching expectations or objectives evolved or not directly related to the organization’s objectives. There were two cases wherein clients after critical reflection realized their job misfit, desired career path, and its misalignment with the organization’s agenda and culture. This led them to terminate the coaching engagement and eventually leave the organization. As for the other coachees, who may have different coaching objectives they were able to see the connection of their individual objectives with the organization’s objectives.
There was also the recognition that coaches have different styles. The coach’s individuality and client’s individuality were brought into the coaching engagement. There was a need to match the coach’s expertise to the client’s needs. Two cases surfaced wherein coachees changed their coach due to their specific coaching needs which focused on business development and they needed business coaching. It helped that HRM and the coaches had open communication, regular checks and feedback. The coach notified HRM of the client’s specific needs that does not match the coach’s niche. HRM facilitated the change of assignments of coach and coachees to address the specific needs of the coachees.
For each session, the coach used varied types of coaching (performance, career, development) depending on the coachee’s needs. Whitmore’s GROW model was used and frameworks such as emotional intelligence, mindfulness, cognitive behavior and systems approach were applied as needed.
Some of the coachees’ concerns that could not be addressed by coaching alone.
It needed support from the HRD/HRM department and the superiors/line managers such as specific technical and supervisory training needs. HRD had to roll out certain training programs to address these development needs. Superiors had to observe and give feedback to the coachees. There was also the need to take performance appraisal system seriously and not merely do it due to compliance. HRM department, line managers/supervisors and top management had to work together in people discussions that fed into the Talent Development function of the organization. The organization systems (OD, HRM, HRD), processes (Performance Management, Learning & Development), and people (HRM partners, line managers/supervisors, top management) had to come into play to ensure the organization’s effectiveness.
With regards to evaluation, the process of having mid‐review and end review helped. The data from coaching summaries, 360‐degree leadership survey and interviews from superiors were good sources of information for the HRD‐Talent Management function. The RAM model (relevance, alignment, measurement) was employed in the case. The relevance of the coaching program was aligned to the HRD‐talent development needs of the organization. There was also alignment to performance objectives to contribute to business success. Measurements used were in terms of testimonials, learnings gained, some behavior changes and return on expectations. However, there could be more opportunities in documenting behavioral changes using the Performance Management system that could be linked to business impact and hopefully can be translated to return on investment.
The research looked into coaching as a development intervention in the organization. It flowed from the related literature of coaching, coaching engagement elements, foundation theories of coaching, HRD, OD, Leadership Development and Measuring Coaching Effectiveness, sample case and results.
In organizations, coaching is a critical intervention in developing leaders. With the sample case, it benefited both the individual and organization’s objectives. The case can be linked to the related literature and illustrates how coaching was applied in HRD‐ Talent Management of the organization. From the case, one can see the foundational theories and models at work specifically the transformational learning theory and the OD coaching process.
The coach can facilitate the learning at the individual and organizational level. However, he/she needs to collaborate with the other stakeholders in the organization. The stakeholders involved are the HR representatives, top management, line managers, supervisors, peers and customers. Communication processes among these people involved, and clarity of roles and responsibilities are critical to facilitate the coaching program.
Although coaching is one of the interventions that can address key talent retention issues faced by organizations, it has to be tied to other organization systems. These organization functions and systems are needed to support and sustain the learnings from coaching such as the Human Resource Management function (Performance Management, Rewards), HRD (Training and Development, Career Development, Talent Management) and OD. They all have to be integrated.
Furthermore, there is a need for executive coaches to be trained on the areas of knowledge related to coaching and focused in the service of the dual clients‐ individual and organization. These knowledge can help them navigate thru the context of the coaching engagement. This reflects back to the structural analysis of the coaching engagement and its elements: the client as individual, coach as individual, the coaching process and the context (Cox, et.al., 2014). Furthermore, the coach has take into account the three HRD paradigms of learning, performance and meaning of work.
Organization should also look into the training and credentials of coaches (whether manager, internal or external coaches). They can also employ supervision of coaches to ensure quality and standards. With coaching supervision, one can check the coaching engagement process, find sources of data for evaluation, seek areas for improvement for the coach and have mentors for the coach as well.
Lastly, the key challenge of coaching evaluation is ever present. There is need for evaluation tools and multiple sources of data that can be integrated and linked to business success. These can be linked to checking performance improvements back in the workplace and other HRM metrics such number of promotions, movements in talent management classification, turnover rates, retention rate, productivity, and customer satisfaction. If coaches are able to measure the impact of coaching to the organization, this will strengthen the coaching practice. The coaching practice will not only retain, attract and motivate key talents but will also add value to the organization’s effectiveness.
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