Are You In or Out?
THE BENEFITS AND CONSIDERATIONS OF HIRING AN EXTERNAL COACH
VERSUS USING INTERNAL COACHING CAPABILITIES
By Sarah McVanel and Christine Burych
Successful companies have learned that to sustain and grow
in today’s competitive marketplace, they must leverage
their most valuable resource: their people. Coaching is one
of many ways to do this. To be clear on what coaching
is and isn’t, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) states
that coaching is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking
and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal
and professional potential.” The focus is not on advice giving or
“fixing” the individual (among the ways coaching differs from related
fields like training, mentoring, consulting and counselling),
but a key vehicle for drawing out the client’s wisdom and resources
Organizations leverage coaches for a variety of reasons, such as
to help new leaders successfully and expeditiously transition into
a new role; prepare high potential employees for more senior positions;
and support existing leaders through transition
points and change. Too often, coaches are sought after
as a way to fix performance issues. Some advice for the
leader is to manage the performance of the employee with
support from a coach or HR advisor, and use the support of a
coach for developmental, not punitive, purposes.
Now, the decision is whether to use internal coaching resources,
hire external support or a combination of both. There are benefits
and potential drawbacks to both internal and external coaches, but
the best choice for a particular employee will depend on the requirements
of the organization as well as the individual.
There are many benefits of having internal coaches within organizations,
whether it is part of an existing role(s) or a full-time
Getting started – Pairing coaching with other responsibilities
allows organizations to start small in their coaching journey, testing
the waters of what works and growing awareness about the
virtues of coaching.
Credibility – Awareness of organizational culture positions a
coach as a knowledgeable and trusted resource; this is particularly
helpful for supporting new leaders transition into the organization.
Accessibility – A larger pool of people at various levels of the
organization may have the opportunity to tap into coaching resources,
exposing more people to the benefits of coaching earlier
in their career.
Sustainability – Brief, focused coaching can be woven into core
programs, such as leadership development curriculum, to reinforce
key concepts and facilitate authentic learning transfer.
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ MARCH/APRIL 2015 ❚ 39