Effective Internal Coaching: Foster An Environment For Success


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By: Corry Robertson, PCC

Kid with telescope looking up to success

Your company’s greatest assets are its employees. However, even the most talented and dedicated team members may not know how to bring their best into the workplace or know how to find their roles. This is where coaching comes in.

Coaching isn’t about micromanaging. Instead, coaching pulls out employees’ strengths and empowers them to prove themselves and thrive within their profession and organization. Coaching is concerned with providing space and structure for the reflection necessary for learning and growth, leading people to the best way to make the most impact, and equipping them with the strategies to succeed. 

The benefits and ROI of coaching in the workplace are indisputable. Over 70% of employees benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills, and 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment in coaching and more.

One of the best ways to reap the rewards of coaching at your organization is to invest in internal coaching. When structured and launched appropriately, an internal coaching program is one of the most effective ways to improve your employee’s morale and your organization’s revenue.

Employees engaging in meeting

What is an Internal Coach?

An internal coach is an employee within an organization who is trained in the core coaching competencies. They usually have worked in a management or other leadership position within the organization.

An internal coach is generally part of an in-house coaching service department that enables an organization to deliver coaching to workforce members cost-effectively. In addition to the cost-effectiveness of having a bench of internal coaches, another benefit of internal coaches is that they have first-hand knowledge about the company culture and inner workings of the business. 

The benefits of implementing an internal coaching program include:

Increased employee engagement and retention rates
Engagement is improved when employees receive feedback, development opportunities, and growth. In addition, retention rates are higher when the management approach employs involvement and inclusion of everyone in the team. 

Strengthening individual team members
Coaching can help organizations identify the skills that need further development and create improvement plans.

Better collaboration and communication between team members
When employees know that the organization is devoted to their success, they, in turn, dedicate themselves to working as a team to achieve the goals of the organization. 

Faster development of potential leaders
While coaching, managers can identify potential leaders and set up the systems to develop them efficiently.

Better problem-solving
Coaches help team members see problems from different points of view and open their minds to various solutions.

Positive leadership strategies
When managers approach employees from a place of support and empowerment, they can better connect with them.

Empowering team members
Coaching provides direction and guidance on aligning employees’ goals with the organization’s, better understanding their obstacles, and helping them solve problems independently so they can grow.

Internal coach with coachee at the office

The Role of an Internal Coach

An internal coach may provide some or all of the following in their role:

  • Assisting new managers in acclimating to their role
  • Helping leaders improve analytical abilities, as well as management and communication skills.
  • Meeting with employees one-on-one to assist them in improving performance and productivity.
  • Helping employees use their skills, talents, and knowledge to problem-solve.
  • Helping to merge employees’ personal goals with the goals of the organization.
  • Aiding in goal and priority setting and plan development.
  • Performance reviews and providing recommendations of resources for growth.

Internal Coaching vs. External Coaching

While internal coaches and developing a bench of internal coaches is one of the most important steps towards developing a coaching culture at your organization, internal coaching works best when paired with external coaching.

External coaches are outside coaches in private practice who are hired on a contract basis. The benefit of working with external coaches is that there are professional coaches to call upon when none of the members of the Internal Coach team are suitable or appropriate for the person seeking coaching. External coaches are often called upon to coach members of the C suite or when reporting structures create a conflict of interest between the internal coach and the person asking for coaching.

Some external coaches are chosen because of their specialty or experience within specific industries. External coaches aren’t concerned with internal politics and are able to be objective. They often bring with them a fresh perspective.

Employees together in meeting

Why Internal Coaching is So Effective

Coaching is the optimal method of developing employees and improving employee engagement when you’re concerned with ROI. However, the practice can be cost-prohibitive when solely using external coaches, so many companies are implementing a coaching culture that relies on developing internal coaches as well.

Building a coaching culture is important because it is a proven method for organizations to get access to high-impact coaching and the ROI that comes along with it without the high ticket price.

When you develop a bench of internal coaches, all employees at all levels are given a chance to grow in their profession, contribute to the organization and reach their professional and personal goals. When effective internal coaching is employed, companies increase productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. While coaching of any kind offers benefits, when internal coaching is at play, those who work within your organization and understand your company culture and processes offer the benefit of first-hand knowledge about the company and inner workings of the business. These are insights that the external coach does not have.

Collaboration flourishes when team members are empowered to coach their colleagues and employees receive the support and guidance they need. When companies integrate the coaching program into their development programs, they can better identify future leaders. These internal coaches are also easily accessible as they are in the same offices.

When to Use an Internal Coach

The internal coaching team fits the bill when an organization wants to keep some or most of the coaching in-house. When objectivity doesn’t come into question and integration with other programs is needed, internal coaching is the answer. Internal coaching is extremely important for mid-level management and those employees with high potential for growth within the organization.

Students in coaching course

How to Become an Internal Coach

The path to becoming an internal coach differs in each organization, but it usually begins with an accredited professional ICF-certified coach training program. For example, the Coaching Academy for Leaders Certified Leadership Coaching Program helps successful people learn coaching as a leadership style. Our certified leadership coach training helps you close your leadership gaps, create a winning organizational culture, and accelerate your impact.

There are many different coaching education programs available, but be warned, some are more geared towards life coaching or health coaching. Internal coaches would do well to research a program that fits the needs of the organization, or hire a professional coach education team to assess your organization’s requirements. 

A leadership development program that trains internal coaches should teach coaching as a leadership style, and be focused to work seamlessly within your organization to reduce executive downtime, address challenges quickly, and be flexible and cost-effective.

Foster an Environment for Success with Internal Coaching

Your team deserves the tools to succeed. You can provide this with your team of internal coaches. When used consistently, internal coaching offers fantastic results. 

Internal coaching makes employees feel appreciated, and access to an internal coach is often seen by employees as an additional benefit or perk. An environment of coaching can create an atmosphere of openness and better camaraderie to work towards the organization’s goals. 

But you can’t go it alone. To get the results that will make a difference in your organization’s growth and bottom line, you need proper coach training and infrastructure. 

To get your potential coaches enrolled in professional certified coach training with The Coaching Academy for Leaders, simply book a call with us here to get started. When you partner with us, you will have training geared specifically towards the leadership coach training that you need to help your team succeed.

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Sought-after coaching culture expert, Corry Robertson has been helping leaders uplevel employee retention and performance for over 20 years.

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