Choosing the right coach for your leaders can be a daunting prospect, particularly for a business that is providing support for the first time.  Coaching and professional support is increasingly seen as a must-have for managers and emerging leaders.  While sometimes coaching might commence following a particularly stressful period, it is our view that all managers and leaders should have access to good quality support before problems arise.  Once the need for coaching has been recognised, common questions arise.  What happens in a coaching program?  Is it confidential?  Is it psychotherapy?  Is there a curriculum?  What will they get out of it?  Is it expensive?  How often do you meet?  Are you a psychologist?  What management experience do you have?  Why am I paying for this?  How will I know it is working?  Can you help us with other organisational issues?  Should I provide training before problems arise?  What if I pay for their development and they leave? We'll share some answers to these questions in our FAQ's below.   

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.