Demystifying Business Coaching: How HR Teams Should Narrow the Options

Coaching Talk

By Liz Pavese, PhD
Director of Behavioral Science, CoachHub

More than three-quarters (77%) of senior decision-makers around the globe believe workforce training and development is more critical now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CoachHub’s 2021 Global HR Survey. And business leaders expect increased people development budgets as a result. In fact, 92% of those surveyed predict these budgets will grow in 2022.

With money to implement business coaching programs, many HR leaders will start exploring professional development solutions that focus on growth and learning. After all, high-quality coaching can help employees navigate uncertainty and manage burnout in the wake of the pandemic, in addition to providing more proactive benefits like building leadership skills and improving job performance.

How can HR leaders select coaching solutions that fit their organizations? By following these 5 steps. #HR #HRTech @CoachHub_IO Share on X

Organizations benefit, too. Enhancing each employee’s skills and abilities builds high-performing teams that make more resilient, productive workforces.

As organizations recognize the value of business coaching, demand is increasing, leading to an explosion of options. But the capabilities and quality of coaching solutions vary widely.

How can HR leaders and other stakeholders select coaching solutions that fit their organizations?

To capture the full value of coaching, business leaders should consider these five questions:

1. What are your organization’s business coaching goals?

Organizations traditionally invested in professional coaching for senior-level executives only. But business coaching doesn’t just impact senior leaders. Providing coaching at all career levels advances organizational goals, too.

By investing in employees’ transferable skills, organizations can create flourishing workforces that support business transformation, increase productivity and ultimately increase their bottom line. Yet, the positive outcomes go beyond straightforward financial returns. Businesses with robust coaching cultures often attract top talent and retain an engaged workforce.

Because coaching can provide various desired outcomes, HR leaders must define their organizations’ overall goals before selecting a coaching solution.

Do you want to help employees transition to a permanent hybrid or remote work model? Perhaps you want to improve employee morale to increase retention?

Regardless of the end goal, outlining ideal outcomes will help organizations narrow down the many options in the coaching marketplace. They can work backward to identify the coaching solutions and programs that focus on achieving their specific goal.

2. Is digital coaching right for your organization?

People development is incorporating technology to respond to the modern working world’s flexible schedules and remote and hybrid models. Digital coaching solutions offer access to a pool of coaches through web- and mobile-based applications. This software connects coaches and coachees, providing rich experiences that are convenient to both parties’ schedules and locations. When considering digital versus in-person business coaching options, organizations should weigh the makeup of their organizations.

Do your employees value the flexibility of digital experiences? Do you need to accommodate different languages and locations? Have employees missed in-person coaching sessions due to the time and effort involved?

Virtual coaching not only eliminates some of the barriers associated with traditional in-person coaching, it provides advantages, too. Digital coaching platforms are location-independent and flexible. Many provide live video coaching sessions, while others add capabilities for coachees to manage schedules, track progress and chat with coaches. Platforms with global footprints can accommodate international workforces, providing business coaching in various languages and in different parts of the world.

3. Does the app provide an end-to-end coaching experience?

The most impactful coaching solutions provide a comprehensive experience with highly qualified coaches. HR teams should vet coaching platforms, bypassing those offering piecemeal services and inexperienced coaches.

Are coaches — and materials presented — backed by science and respected organizations? Do employees need to leave the coaching app to access resources?

Platforms should connect learners to coaches certified by reputable associations like the International Coaching Federation (ICF), Association for Coaching (AC) and European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). Even with these certifications, the coaching solution should conduct continuous evaluations to ensure quality. Ideally, coaches also offer experience from various industries and hail from different parts of the world to offer local and relevant expertise.

An organization’s entire coaching experience should live in one app. At a basic level, the solution should provide coaches relevant to each participant’s priorities and enable one-on-one video sessions that support a science-based coaching curriculum. Some advanced platforms provide on-demand content like hands-on exercises, articles, podcasts and videos that enhance the learning journey.

4. Is your organization’s progress measurable?

In our data-driven world, the coaching solution must be measurable. HR teams should look for a platform that tracks progress toward meeting individual and organizational goals while anonymizing data to keep coaching private and safe for learners.

Can I measure the program’s impact at an individual and organizational level? How can I encourage continued buy-in? Does the data remain confidential?

Through coaching apps, learners should be able to monitor their own improvements, milestones and overall success. Sophisticated platforms also leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to aggregate this data, anonymize it and provide dashboards for HR teams to track target achievement and measure impact. These AI-driven dashboards share valuable insights on employee usage, satisfaction and progress — without sharing personal data.

5. Can the app scale while offering personalization?

Business coaching can benefit all employees, regardless of seniority level or department. But the program must be individualized to be effective. With this in mind, HR teams should find a coaching app that can effortlessly scale to reach any number of employees while offering personalization.

Can your coaching app reach employees at all levels? Can the app also customize coaching for maximum impact?

Scalable coaching solutions couple technology with human intelligence to tailor the coaching experience and advance learning. AI learns about individuals and then provides optimal matches of coaches and coachees. It enhances live sessions with curated content that reinforces lessons and integrates these learnings into everyday working life.

Business coaching can transform people and organizations, enabling the kind of personal and professional growth that leads to agile, thriving workforces. But to realize genuine and lasting change, HR managers should find personalized, measurable and scalable coaching programs that align with business goals and reach people at all stages of their careers.

Liz Pavese, PhD, is a director of behavioral science (North America), where she marries her expertise in organizational psychology, employee experience and organizational development to close the gap between coaching research and practice. CoachHub is the leading digital coaching provider, offering holistic people development to forward-thinking companies on a global scale. Learn more about CoachHub by visiting

Image: iStock

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