How do you get your leadership team, HR, and finance department to support offering professional business coaching to leaders and employees? In this article, we share strategies on how to persuade your organization to invest in professional business coaching - from mastering tricky ROI conversations to conducting a needs assessment, to communicating coaching benefits for individuals, teams, and the whole organization.
Start With The Basics
First off, let’s start with the basics. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what professional business coaching is, and be able to communicate its meaning clearly to your organization. Although you can paraphrase this, we advise you to take inspiration from the following definition:
“Professional business coaching is the art of helping leaders and employees grow and thrive as well as drive their business in a desired, more impactful and sustainable direction.”
In other words, make sure you position professional business coaching as a vehicle that will accelerate not just individuals and the team’s growth, but also accelerate the development of the organization as a whole.
Establish Your Organization’s Needs: Courses or Coaching - Which is More Beneficial to Employees?
Now that we have established a definition of business coaching, it’s time to examine your organization’s internal training needs. You will need to understand which is more beneficial - courses or professional business coaching? With the increased employee focus on career development options, as well as the increasing need for reskilling and upskilling in general, it’s important for companies to decide on courses or coaching. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you will most likely have to battle to fund the development program. Budget spent on tailored business coaching is money well spent, as it ensures continuous and impactful development programs for individuals and teams, with feedback and micro-learnings incorporated. What’s more, a tailored coaching program will provide new skill sets, changed behaviors, and improved methods of collaborating, working, and leading.
Although courses can be useful, particularly for short-term outcomes,team-building purposes, and conveying overall strategic messages, it’s important to note their drawbacks:
- Courses are rarely individualized for the specific employee or organization.
- There is a tendency for the individual to not retain course information.
- Courses are frequently high-intensity learning which does not give the employees the benefit of continuous development over time.
With business coaching, one of its main benefits is the focus on personalization and individualized tailoring. Professional business coaching doesn’t waste any time with ineffective one-size-fits-all approaches - it goes far beyond generic lessons by guiding employees to think for themselves and steering organizations in new directions. Make sure you communicate these advantages when discussing training options with your HR, finance, and the internal leadership team.
Conduct a Needs Assessment
Ask the following questions:
- What value will the business coaching program bring to your organization and the individuals involved?
- How does business coaching align with your organization’s strategy?
- What are the primary goals and objectives that business coaching will address?
- What will be the timeline of business coaching?
- Which employees will receive the business coaching? Will it span the entire organization, or be reserved for specific teams or departments?
- How will business coaching ROI and output be measured?
- How will employees’ feedback be gathered and monitored effectively?
The Critical ROI Conversation
Next, let’s move on to the critical ROI conversation - because, like it or not, ROI needs to be discussed in order to convince HR and finance alike to get behind business coaching efforts. Make sure to do the following when discussing ROI:
- Outline the tangible metrics of business coaching ROI, as well as predicted long-term benefits, and shared objectives.
- Approach your internal team as you would an external client: be clear on the problem-solution equation - what are your organization’s problems? What solutions will business coaching provide to remedy these problems? What types of investments will business coaching bring to your organization and its team members?
When facing obstacles in getting coaching buy-in, get creative in your communication approach - try individual conversations with managers instead of group sessions. It is also beneficial to provide management and the leadership team with feedback from employees showing what your organization’s pain points are and why coaching is needed and will be beneficial to retention, which also impacts the bottom line. Let’s face it, it’s a lot more cost-effective to invest in the right business coaching than to constantly have to fill positions because people are leaving due to lack of training and development opportunities. Provide talking points, research findings, and testimonials about the positive impact made by professional development on employees and on the company’s bottom line.
And finally, if you do succeed in achieving buy-in for professional business coaching, make sure that the ROI conversation isn’t just a one-time meeting. Arrange consistent meetings to demonstrate the ROI conversion. The more you can show that professional business coaching is improving the workflow and output of your organization, the more likely your organization will implement coaching training on a long-term basis.
Discussing Business Coaching with the Entire Management Team
Although it’s imperative that HR and finance are behind business coaching, it’s also critical that the entire management team is on board so they understand the value that business coaching will create. There’s no point in suggesting professional business coaching if you don’t know what strategic value it will add to your organization. So, be sure to do your research and be able to position professional business coaching as a strategic activity that will work in favor of employees and the organization as a whole. Approach the aim of professional business coaching as twofold: to help the employee grow and thrive, whilst also succeeding in business-critical matters.
Coaching should be approached like any other strategic goal. Successful execution requires commitment from the organization and the person being coached, a plan to obtain results, qualified coaches, and a follow-up evaluation.
When bringing forward your case for professional business coaching, make HR aware of how it can vastly improve your organization’s credentials from a talent acquisition perspective. A reputation for professional development will bolster your organization’s position, clearly demonstrating career development opportunities for both current and prospective team members. Although HR will be aware of this, it’s important to reinstate this point from an internal employee perspective. What’s more, training and development can also help your organization to recruit and retain employees by increasing employee satisfaction and employee longevity - and this is particularly important for millennials - the largest generation in the workforce today. According to a Gallup report, millennials want to work for organizations whose values match their own, who provide opportunities for growth and who offer coaching.
The benefits of professional business coaching are abundant - but communicating these benefits to reluctant HR, finance, and leadership teams can be a difficult sell. When discussing the need for business coaching within your organization, make sure that you articulate its tangible benefits clearly: provide a precise definition and description, conduct a needs assessment, and outline factual ROI metrics. Remember - although you may be eager to implement professional business coaching into your organization, for effective buy-in to occur, having HR, finance, and leadership teams on board are crucial. Use the steps outlined in this article to help you, and your organization achieves professional business coaching success.
At Session, we are committed to help you and your team achieve highly effective business coaching outcomes. Reach out to learn more.