When organisations decide to spend their training budgets on development programs for emerging staff, they are making a strong cultural statement of support to their existing workforce. It means "if I stay here, I will be developed as a person, as a worker, as a leader. It is good for my career to stay with this business". As I am being supported and developed, I will be able to handle a bigger role and get the support I need.

Theme 1 - Preparing my emerging leaders for higher roles

As organisational psychologists, this is music to our ears. We know that delivery of evidence-based, practical training and development pays off with demonstrated EOI. The immediate benefit is the development of the participants in the key areas of:

1. Wellbeing
2. Self-management
3. Executive presence
4. Strategy execution*

*The catch is, that the organisation may need to wait to see the payoff in strategy execution. We do know, however, that good staff can sometimes leave in search of an organisation that will develop their capabilities.

Theme 2 - Helping new leaders handle new roles

The fact is that some referrals come to us after the person has assumed their new role. In fact, organisations often make a referral when unforeseen issues arise for the new Executive, General Manager or Team Leader.

Recognising the need for the support and making the decision to provide qualified and professional external support can be a very effective way to support the learning and onboarding of the new leader.

This second type of referral demands that the coach meet the executive (and the organisation) "where it is at" and leads to quick wins as the executive gains the support of an experienced and supportive advisor. While the support is provided by us, it supports the organisation's value proposition by providing valuable skill development to the individual and signals that they are valued.

A key characteristic of effective coaching is the communication between the organisation, the coach and the participant.  It is appropriate and helpful to create a trusting relationship between all parties and this involves skilful, positive and open communication.  Of course, a trained and experienced coach will keep confidences and clarify what information is useful to share (e.g., progress reports, carefully prepared feedback, strategic insights) and what information remains between the coach and participant.  This is where the employment of an experienced and quailfied organisational psychologist is valued by clients.  Organisational psychologists are bound by the Ethical Standards set by the Psychologists Registration Board and take these responsibilities seriously.

While having an executive coach has become the norm for senior leaders, some organisations recognise the need to develop their Team Leaders, Managers and Technical Specialists as their responsibilities grow.  The question is whether the organisation waits until the demands of managing staff, complex projects or risk has outstripped the capacity of the manager, or whether it is prudent to put the support in place early.  We would argue that getting the FOUNDATIONS right is a high priority and the sooner this process gets underway the better.  This could lead to a shorter-duration engagement to ensure that we are building a common level of capability across the business.

Executive coaching has become an indispensible resource for many senior executives, and can remain in place for many years.  A typical first engagement is 12 months and reflects the need to impart a great deal of information as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Some organisations engage in 6 months blocks, with at least one review point to formally check on progress.  Shorter programs are possible, and we would rather see a manager who needs the training get at least part of what they need in a timely manner.