Measure and Recognize Managers as Coaches

Building Your Own Coaching Organization

by Virginia Bianco-Mathis and Lisa Nabors

Developing a coaching organization involves a systems approach that begins with creating a vision and testing readiness, then moves toward implementation and measurement. This ensures the creation of an infrastructure that will continue to support a coaching culture over time.

Create a Vision

  • What are the benefits of becoming a coaching organization?

  • What else within the organization would support a coaching organization?

  • How would such a culture support organizational goals and values? What organizational drivers will be fulfilled?

  • What would be the outcomes of becoming a coaching organization (for individuals, teams, and the entire organization)?

Assess Organizational Readiness

  • Does the organization believe in continual learning and change, or is the status quo valued above all else?

  • Is there a history or precedent within the organization for allocating money toward development programs? Is it valued? Is it considered during the budgeting process?

  • Does the culture support openness, confrontations, honesty, and dialogue—or is it best to hide information?

  • Are there other learning structures in the organization that the coaching program can depend on, be linked with, or build on?

  • Is the human resource department valued and credible, or is it seen as merely a compliance department?

  • Are managers encouraged or measured on how well they develop others, communicate, and use a coaching approach?

  • How have other programs been successfully implemented within the organization?

Design the Components and Implementation of the Plan

  • Determine who can become champions of a coaching organization and establish a task force.

  • Decide whether the effort will be totally homegrown or will incorporate outside experts.

  • Define and outline the initial components of each building block of a coaching organization: coaching tools and mindsets, dialogue, and supporting infrastructures.

  • Given your particular organization and constraints, develop a project plan with a schedule, owners, steps, rollout plan, benchmarks, contingencies, tracking, and status meetings.

  • Investigate and determine costs and how costs will be budgeted and tracked.

  • Determine who will own and be administratively responsible for running the intervention/transformation.

  • Determine the key benefits and success factors and institute the necessary measuring tools (software, accounting support, surveys, focus groups, strategic alignment factors, bottom-line factors) to continually track and sell the coaching organization activities.

  • Establish how information about the program will be communicated in a multiyear communication plan.

  • Determine the kinds of data gathering that are appropriate, costs involved, how data will be shared, and with whom. Consider outside benchmarking, surveys, 360-degree instruments, inventories, supportive coaching software, and technology.

Measure and Sell the Benefits

  • Consider key stakeholders, link your agenda to their agenda, and develop appropriate negotiation strategies for ownership.

  • Relate the coaching infrastructure components to all other pertinent programs and demonstrate mutual support.

  • Carefully plan costs, both short term and long term. Develop and sell the cost-benefit analysis.

  • Prepare support materials, charts, graphs, role descriptions, and other marketing materials to guide your implementation plan.

  • Install tools for measuring key success factors of the coaching organization and publicize these widely.

  • Assess political climate within the organizational culture and plan for contingencies, formal and informal power channels, decision-maker involvement, and how things usually get done throughout the organization.



Originally published in the 5 Secrets of Top Talent Development Teams by ATD. Inspired by Building a Coaching Organization byVirginia Bianco-Mathis and Lisa Nabors.

Strategic Management Search & Recruitment Executive Coaching