Feb 17, 2008

Coaching growing in the UK

From the Times

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), more than three-quarters of organisations now invest in coaching, including performance and personal coaching, for their employees.

At Lloyds TSB, the corporate-banking division in Scotland was one of the first of the bank’s departments to embrace performance coaching. “Many people wrongly assume coaching is about addressing underperformance,” said Manus Fullerton at Lloyds TSB Scotland. “In fact it is of greatest benefit when coaching your best performers. All the top sportsmen and women have coaches to help them improve.

“We are taking the same approach in our business, not just coaching individuals, but training our teams to coach one another. We have witnessed growth in business levels, staff engagement and a real appetite for further coaching.”

Despite the touchy-feely image, Cartwright, a former sports coach and psychologist, agrees that coaching is not for failures – quite the reverse. “Tiger Woods has five different coaches and nobody would say he is a failure,” he said. “But we have this macho British idea that chief executives ought to be able to just get on and do the job. In most businesses, once you reach partnership level your training and development stops.”

With a few more executive coaches there would, he said, “be fewer people quitting, getting the sack or jumping out of windows. It’s lonely at the top – who else can these people talk to?” Cartwright points out that senior executives can’t talk to their peers – because they will be after their job – they can’t talk to their board because that would be seen as a sign of weakness and they certainly can’t confide in their subordinates.

Coaching poor performers may or may not get you results. However coaching a high performer could send out a signal that you are interested in developing them and that he/she has never really 'arrived'.