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Leadership coaching - An integral part of succession planning

Aug 25, 2011 2:54:41 PM - www.ft.lk

An integral part of succession planning

To be a successful leader, one must have the skills to adapt quickly and thrive in changing environments. In addition, successful leaders are required to coach and mentor others to adapt and succeed in changing environments.

Often in the past coaching was used to turn around flagging careers and to help ineffective top managers to become effective in their roles. Now coaches are increasingly being hired to support newly-hired senior executives, as well as for newly-promoted divisional heads and CEOs to manage sideways and for managing up.
In addition, leadership coaching is used to ensure key talent are ready to take on their next leadership role and also to optimise strong contributors who do not demonstrate potential and the capacity to move into a higher leadership role.
Today, a leadership coach is like a personal trainer for business. Therefore, hiring a coach is an investment in people because it helps leaders to become more effective as an executive and become ready for the next role.
Change in behaviour
Leadership coaching is also sometimes used when a company desires a change in the behaviours of their leaders. Having a leadership coach assist with introducing these change helps prevent rebellion or resistance among different members of the team. Leadership coaches will walk the team through models and processes that are easy to adopt within their day-to-day operations.
Coaching takes the executives through a course of strengthening everyone’s self-reflection and awareness. Together they evaluate the patterns that will create the new future they desire for the company.
Additionally it expands their appreciation of each other and new perspectives are discovered. The communication channels are opened up to enhance effective and clear communication with all members regardless of their rank or position in the company.
Properly structured leadership coaching not only improves staff retention, increases productivity it also improves the performance of those coached. As a result, the company is able to improve its production-both in quality and quantity as well as build bench strength.
The UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel Management reports that 51% of companies (sample of 500) consider coaching as a key part of learning development and ‘crucial to their strategy,’ with 90% reporting that they ‘use coaching’.
More recent research in 2011 by Qa Research, an independent marketing research agency in the UK, found that 80% of organisations surveyed had used or are now using coaching, but also found that while 90% of organisations with over 2,000 employees had used coaching in the past five years, only 68% of companies with 230-500 employees had done the same.
However, despite the popularity, companies are still struggling to measure its rupee impact. Some companies use development assessments before and after the coaching and some companies use 360-degree-feedback before and after to look for changes in behaviour and relationships, while some others end up getting feedback from the boss, peers and even key customers.
In the final analysis, leadership coaching can help a manager to jump on to a fast track if the two parties hit it off well and if performance targets are set with a realistic timetable.
(The writer is CEO of HR Cornucopia.)

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