Internal Vs External Coaches

A key distinction that requires acknowledgement is coaches can work internally within a company and therefore on salary, or the coach can be external working independently. Although it is true to say, that the external coach may not have the intimate knowledge of the company as does the internal coach, it also means that the external coach may not be compromised as much by the issue of confidentiality. Typically, clients find it easier to open up and disclose to external coaches rather than internal coaches.

One-on-one Coaching

Within one-on-one coaching itself which is the most prevalent form of coaching, there are various forms that require mention.

For example, in Shadow coaching, the coach follows the client when engaged at work and sits in on various meetings and discussions in order to give feedback about what’s being observed. This gives the coach more accurate data than say, the self-report from the client him or herself who is relying on memory (and as we all know, memory is not history).

In Career coaching, the coach helps the client explore new career possibilities, examines their strengths and weaknesses, looks at job-person fit, assesses personal values, and redefines career direction.

This might mean working with a client to optimise a leader’s capabilities as required by new level of responsibility. It might also mean redefining the career options for an individual who is seeking a new position, a new level of responsibility, environment, or role.

In Life coaching, the coach does not limit him or herself to the work environment alone, but allows the discussion and focus to be on the more personal aspects of living including family, relationships, finances as well as self-confidence and well-being.

Furthermore, external coaches tend to be more objective and less likely to judge the client in that they are not so involved in office politics agendas which can be a tricky ground for anyone. Generally speaking too, they are more likely to discuss sensitive issues or issues that might not be discussable within the organisation itself.

Psychological Depth

A further way of differentiating coaching is by a examining the degree of psychological depth attempted by the coach.

  • Specific cognitive, task and skill-oriented learning. Leadership coaches who are generally more comfortable staying on the surface are more focused on skill development. This is also called competency coaching and requires simple how-to techniques and skill refinement. This for instance, is often the type of coaching that sports’ trainers adopt.
  • Performance coaching. The goal here is to transform the business by transforming the person which requires coaching and a somewhat deeper level. Performance coaches help employees at all levels better understand the requirements of their jobs, the competencies needed to fulfill those requirements, any gaps in their current performance, and opportunities to improve performance. Coaches then work with the employees, their bosses, and others in their workplace to help the employees fill performance gaps and develop plans for further professional development. The coaches help the client reach a determined set of stretch goals and encourage the client through support and accountability to make these goals happen.
  • Developmental coaching. At a deeper level still, these coaches encourage experiential and reflective learning we are for example, they help the client improve their emotional intelligence and strive for a more effective leadership style. In this case, coaching involves the whole person and furthermore, coaches at this level not only deal with the conscious but with the subconscious as a way of dealing with blind spots, hidden agendas, game playing or general bad habits. In a sense, this kind of coaching leads to un-chartered waters, but experienced coaches know how to chart the way ahead often using a personalised plan to help the client find answers to issues.

How Effective is Leadership Coaching?

As any business leader will tell you, return on investment should be…