The renewed need for business coaching services

How do you define business success? For years, this was determined almost exclusively by financial calculations. Today, however, your enterprise's value is influenced by its culture, its reputation with numerous stakeholders and its ability to adapt to ever-shifting consumers, suppliers and regulatory landscapes.

Just as organizational goals have evolved, so has the mix of mindsets and skills necessary to meet those goals. Among other things, today’s workforce needs to be agile, inclusive, empathetic and courageous. Organizations have long required their senior leaders to demonstrate these qualities but, to keep pace with the speed of change, they now need these behaviors in employees at all levels of the enterprise.

Business coaching is a powerful way to achieve this kind of behavior change. And, thanks to developments in technology, it is now possible for all levels of an organization to access a coach. But, while coaching can help individuals pick up new skills, too often these skills live in a vacuum, disconnected from the goals of the enterprise. Organizations will only see the full power of business coaching services when working towards a shared business goal.

What are business coaching services?

Business coaching services are different from training or the type of coaching that managers provide. Business coaching services involve professional coaches working with individual employees or groups of employees to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses, clarify their goals and purpose and gain insight into how their beliefs and motivations drive their behaviors. Coaches also help people better understand how their organization defines success and what the organization needs from them in their role.

The best business coaching services develop the mindsets and skillsets of people, leaders and teams in a way that aligns to the organization’s needs. When you do this at scale – coaching thousands of people at every level of the organization – business coaching becomes transformational, building careers and accelerating business outcomes.

5 critical elements of business coaching services

To achieve this transformation, business coaching services need to include the following elements:

1 An outside-in perspective

Business coaching services should start with an outside-in perspective – what the organization needs from this person to achieve their business goals. This should be at both an enterprise level and the level of the individual role. Identifying core competencies, traits, and drivers in a success profile—reinforced by deep research and analysis—can help provide a benchmarking standard against which individuals can be coached.

2 Inside-out insights

Once you've determined the core capabilities, a comprehensive assessment can provide a deep understanding of the whole person – inside-out. This helps the coach identify the individual’s specific needs, then steer the coaching in the best direction to drive required performance and behavioral change as determined by the success profile.

3 Personalized learning journeys

Coaching should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. And while the bespoke, in-depth coaching that senior executives receive may be the gold standard, it's challenging to replicate across an enterprise. A good coach should be able to craft personalized learning plans built around your enterprise-wide goals and an individual or group’s specific challenges. And as you move down the organization, these journeys are likely to include a mix of coaching and content.

Platforms such as Korn Ferry Advance can combine all the above with a suite of digital resources to create a coordinated plan of action that allows for continuous improvement into the future.

4 A quality coaching conversation

Despite developments in technology, the heart of coaching still sits in the relationship between the coach and the individual. It is the quality of this conversation that drives behavior change. Many executive coaches, for instance, are former executives themselves, with firsthand knowledge of the very same challenges they address in their coaching.

At a minimum, coaches should meet or exceed guidelines for professional coaches. At some levels of the organization, additional experience may be required, such as experience with a specific industry or business function. It is critical to find the right match between the coach and the individual.

5 Ongoing feedback

When you run coaching across the enterprise, tracking ROI becomes even more important. When connecting business coaching services to business goals, you can identify KPIs up front and track your progress by re-running assessments or gathering feedback on job performance or promotions. Assessments, when looked at in aggregate, can also provide you with intelligence to feed back into your talent management efforts.


Accelerating change across the organization

Business coaching services at every level of your organization

Whether you employ a dozen people or hundreds, every member of your team can benefit from business coaching and contribute to helping the company get where you want it to go.

A business coaching services provider should offer a variety of coaching services, each designed to match the different roles and responsibilities for every job while still being connected to the overall business goal. More specifically, the types of coaching specialties that will extend the capabilities of your team include:

Executive coaching services

Leadership roles offer few outlets for peer-level support because of the isolation inherent at their level. For the personal growth required to lead the company into the future, executives must have a trusted space to test ideas and theories, work through challenges to existing assumptions, and be introduced to new thoughts, concepts and processes.

Leadership coaching services

Great leaders don't emerge because of their technical, operational and financial skills. They successfully steer organizations and teams through ups and downs by anticipating challenges, considering solutions and determining the best path forward. Coaching helps these leaders explore the possibilities and potential potholes along the way.

Career coaching services

Your best employees don't just want a job. They want a career with an organization that offers opportunities and support. Coaching bridges those concepts by exploring an employee's goals and ambitions and showing them how they fit best in your firm.

Sales coaching services

World-class sales performers don't sell. They use effective questioning skills and offer authentic opinions to guide clients to make a purchase. Coaching helps hone these skills, in addition to refining sales processes that work.

Group coaching services

While your organization employs individuals, it's more than likely built around teams. Sometimes the team's objectives take precedence over individual aspirations. Group coaching ensures the entire team receives the same guidance and structure while providing a natural venue for working together, supporting colleagues and making progress.

Peer coaching services

At times, your people are eager to pursue broader corporate goals, but only if they can work with those who know what they experience on a daily basis. Peer coaching provides a formal platform for sharing, problem-solving and collaborating while reflecting the trust and respect you have for your teams.

DE&I coaching services

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) policies are a starting point for your organization. To capitalize on the benefits of a broad DE&I effort and ensure its goals are fulfilled across the organization, every employee must understand what needs to change and how to make that change happen.

Career transition coaching services

Your former employees can undo years of marketplace goodwill the day they walk out the door –help them prepare for their next step with the resources they need and the support they desire.

Given the broad spectrum of coaching specialties, working with coaching experts you know and trust to be knowledgeable, accountable, professional and responsive to your needs is crucial to handling your company's specific coaching requirements.

Picking the right business coaching services provider

Hiring a coaching expert requires an investment of money, time, resources and a commitment to seeing things through. Accordingly, the return on that investment will take many forms. Success will ultimately depend on how many of the organization's current goals were achieved and how prepared the firm is for the future. Here are a few things to look for when picking your business coaching services provider.

  • Relies on true expertise: Before you invest in any professional coaching services, make sure you vet your options. Examine the coaches' credentials, background, areas of specialization, and, if possible, case studies on successful business coaching engagements. Look for certified business coaches but do some research into them as well. Dozens of executive coaching certification programs exist, so you should explore the organization behind the acronyms to determine if they have the right qualifications for what your organization needs.

    Ask your prospective partner how they look after their coaches. It’s a challenging role and coaches need their own development and community of peers to lean on for support.
  • Backed by proven methodologies: The business coaching profession offers countless assessments, inventories, guided learning modules and other tools and templates. The resources your prospective coaching team uses ideally have been developed and tested by coaches and have received research-based validation.
  • Provides a coaching platform that can flex: If you’re looking to create customized development pathways for specific populations, you need a coaching platform that can deliver on that. The platform should be flexible enough to pull in different types of content and different assessments into a seamless learning journey for the individual being coached.
  • Keeps an eye on the bigger picture: Business coaching services are a powerful development tool. But they are only part of the solution when it comes to managing your talent. Individuals will need opportunities to practice their new skills and roles to move into when they are ready for promotion. This is why working with a provider skilled across wider capabilities in talent management, leadership development and organizational design will pay dividends.

Business coaching services benefit everyone

By providing business coaching services across your entire organization, you're boosting agility and growth for each individual. Having a clear understanding of employee goals and values will not only help them to succeed within their role—it will also help them to further innovate and drive your organization in the direction you want to go.

Looking for quality business coaching services?

Your people and your organization can benefit from the business coaching expertise provided by Korn Ferry. Our suite of programs and services are made to be tailored to your specific business needs and goals. For help in determining what offerings will work best for you, contact us today.