Coaching is a Highly-Adaptable L&D Approach
The beautiful thing about Learning & Development (L&D) is the abundance of tools, resources, strategies, and opportunities organizations can access to support and grow their people. All of these choices can also be overwhelming.
We believe one development approach is particularly powerful: coaching. Perhaps this doesn’t come as a surprise, given the nature of our work. In our client engagements, we see the ability of coaching to help organizations build more sustainable cultures, uplevel their people, and help meet and exceed business objectives.
Coaching comprises a broad swath of people-development frameworks and methodologies, and it can be confusing to sift through the opportunities available to your organization. Coaching is a highly adaptable L&D approach that can be used in many scenarios to achieve many different aims.
This blog breaks down the different types of coaching and how our individual and corporate clients use it to achieve their objectives.
Types of Coaching for Organizations
1:1 Executive Coaching
One-to-one executive coaching is as straightforward as it can be. In this approach, executives meet individually with a leadership coach repeatedly over a period of time. The focus is on that individual’s growth needs, goals, plans, and vision.
The benefits of 1:1 executive coaching are plentiful. Due to its highly personalized nature, the leader participant can receive targeted attention and custom exercises and actions tailored to their growth and expansion. This can be particularly useful when senior leaders must build their “soft-skill” toolset to complement their track record of performance. Additionally, because of the longer timeline of a 1:1 coaching relationship (typically 6-12 months), executives can sustainably onboard their new skills, behaviors, and thought patterns.
With individual executive coaching, the executive doesn’t get the opportunities for peer support, co-learning, and relationship-building that they might get through cohort or group coaching programs. Scalability can also be an issue, where creating highly impactful individual solutions comes at the cost of wider impact.
In our experience, a successful coaching relationship will improve the executive’s ability to inspire and lead their people, trickling down to their direct reports and teams. And we’ve had many clients create large-scale individual coaching programs whereby many executives from across the organization go through a parallel coaching process. We see broad benefits rippling up, down, and across the organization in these types of engagements.
Team Coaching is an engagement that involves a vertical team that works together every day. Leadership and individual contributors engage together with programming that can include team assessments, skills development, and team building.
One of the main benefits of team coaching is that the content and coaching approach is tailored specifically to the team’s unique structure, dynamics, and goals. Team coaching focuses on enabling great work around specific people and work processes, helping to improve team communication, accountability, and relationships.
The team coaching approach is highly customized; what works for one team may not work for another. Additionally, inherent power dynamics stemming can impact the nature of the coaching and the willingness of participants to engage openly. Hiring a third-party coaching partner is essential to bringing impartiality and psychological safety to the coaching process for the most benefit.
Cohort Coaching is an approach that brings leaders of similar levels together to participate in coaching and development in a peer environment.
Because cohorts consist of people of similar seniority who often have shared concerns, challenges, and pain points, this type of coaching offers an added level of targeted peer support, co-learning, and accountability. Additionally, this type of coaching can be more scalable than a 1:1 approach, enabling networking and relationship-building opportunities across the organization. Cohort coaching provides an avenue for leaders to affect change in how they approach their job, mentor and lead their teams, and tackle the most important issues in the organization.
Cohort coaching can be highly customized or broad in scope, depending on the organization’s needs and goals. Due to the group nature, there may be a limited amount of individual attention given, which can present problems when there are varying levels of readiness and engagement across the group. But, in our experience, we’ve seen the benefits ripple across the participants’ organization to the teams they manage. More on that here.
Workshops + Skills-Based Training
Workshops and skills-based training are designed around specific challenges or development topics and are usually created for larger audiences of varying functions and seniority. While not coaching in the traditional sense, these programs can be incredibly impactful when approached with a coaching mindset.
Workshops and training excel at being time-efficient, scalable, and accessible. When designed intentionally for a focused purpose, skills-based coaching can efficiently upskill or educate a large group of people.
On the flip side, they often trade scalability for personalization. Because they are designed to meet the needs of a broad audience, they may not be tailored to the unique needs of the individual participants. Additionally, participants may not engage with these types of programs and workshops at the level they might for individual, team, or group coaching.
We believe that infusing coaching into your learning and development strategy can help rapidly accelerate the success of your organization and build a more sustainable culture along the way.
The Creative Executive partners with our clients to find the right coaching strategy. Often, organizations benefit from more than one coaching approach. We’d be happy to help you design a program that addresses your organization’s changing needs and objectives.