This is International Coaching Week and the coaching world certainly has a lot to celebrate. In twenty years, executive coaching has grown from a poorly understood practice to one that is in ever greater demand as an effective tool for helping staff to perform at their best. The International Coaching Federation describes the role and affect of coaching as follows:
“Professional coaching is a powerful experience that is shifting corporate culture from command and control to collaboration and creativity. Coaching is developing stronger leaders, better communicators, more productive employees and increasingly positive people.” –ICF Website
EnCompass has experienced a similar evolution in its coaching programs. Working with the UN and with the US government since 2009, coaching is part of a blended program and serves as a bridge from the face-to-face management development workshops to the application of new skills and concepts in the workplace. Initially, the resistance to coaching was high and the expectations were that the coach would play the role of consultant or technical advisor. In five years, we have experienced a significant shift and we see participants coming to us with a clear notion of how to use a coach and specific issues that they wish to address. This indicates that our clients are indeed working more and more within a culture which honors and expects their managers to invest in their own learning and development.
In our experience, coaching seems to be a key determining factor in developing management and leadership competencies. In 2012, a Return on Investment (ROI) evaluation conducted for our largest UN Management Development Program found that the coaching component alone had four times the return on investment as the overall program itself. This is a very strong vote of confidence for coaching. It should be mentioned that this evaluation was done three years into our six year program and it would be interesting to see if the ROI for the coaching would be higher now than with the changes in the organizational culture towards a greater appreciation of coaching.
If EnCompass’ programs have paralleled the overall evolution of coaching, it has also stretched the understanding of coaching in multicultural environments. Throughout the week, we’ll be looking at various aspects of coaching in multicultural settings. For a field which has grown so much in 20 years, we’re excited to be part of the exploration of coaching with a global reach. We’ll be looking at how we can ensure effective coaching when working with diverse audiences and when working with managers who are operating in a multicultural environment.