Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Ten years ago, Harvard Business Review reported that leadership coaching was a $1 billion a year industry. Today, it has doubled to $2 billion. Coaching is clearly popular, but what does a leadership coach do? As with any growing profession, there can be a lot of confusion.
Leadership coaching is a nice employment perk but can be perceived as expensive. One of the best hires I ever made was my CFO who put training and development in perspective for me in terms of investing in our team. He said, if he gave me an invoice for the brakes to be replaced on the organization’s van and it was $1,200, for which we really didn’t have, I’d approve the expense because what good is the van if it’s not running efficiently.
When done right, leadership coaching can drive sales, employee engagement, creativity, workplace satisfaction, and bottom-line results. Now, suddenly, I could see that it just makes financial sense. According to Paul Michelman, editor of Harvard Business School's Management Update, "Whereas coaching was once viewed by many as a tool to help correct underperformance, today it is becoming much more widely used in supporting top producers.”
Coaches are NOT like having a good friend to bounce ideas off, or to keep someone motivated. A coach may be friendly, but they are not a friend. However, they will advocate for their client. They want the best from each one. A coach holds a person accountable and challenges them to grow and do more than they think they can do. And unlike friendship, the coaching relationship is unilateral, it is exclusively focused on the client and their goals.
Leadership coaching can have a positive effect in many different areas. A leadership coach works with clients to maximize performance and increase their leadership skills in the workplace, but their actionable guidance, advice and support also simultaneously transform a leader's personal life in a positive way.
Forget the economics of it for a second and just ask, "Do we deserve better?" If the voice in your head says, "Yes!" then take action. Get some well-deserved support that will get you and your organization the help needed to move forward.
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