Popular belief would have it that Senior Executives would only consider being coached by somebody external to the company. External coaches do have some significant benefits such as it’s their dedicated profession, confidentiality is king and they are very removed from the outcome (and can be objective). So how can Internal Coaching overcome some of these concerns?
According to Marshall Goldsmith and together with some work done at GE Capital, they found that Internal Coaches could work with senior executives if they met the following criteria:
The executive needs to be able to trust the coach whole heartedly that the contents of their discussions will remain between them. Any doubts in this regard and it will be a total waste of time and money; and a backward step for all involved.
The executive must believe that the coach has sufficient knowledge and experience to me able to relate to the issues and challenges brought forth. Not unlike the selection process for an external coach, the coach must be able to demonstrate this.
To coach people at the senior level requires business knowledge but also proficiency with the skills and tools of coaching. Often it is assumed just because you have read the books or you are a go to person that you can be a good coach. These are certainly key ingredients but to coach at the senior level requires that people have the competencies of a fully trained coach.
Coaching internally cannot be regarded merely as an adjunct to what is normally done. It needs to be an inclusive part of the individual’s job description and therefore the time (and supporting resources) made available to execute upon effectively. Internal coaches to senior staff must see this as one of their primary responsibilities.