The authoritative Ridler report presents "the voice of organisational sponsors of coaching" from a wide range of large UK businesses. The 2016 report has recently been published and includes some interesting findings.
72% of organisations expect to increase their spending on coaching in the next two years, for both external and internal coaching.
72% of organisations expect to increase their spending on coaching in the next two years
External coaching is usually favoured for leaders and senior managers. Survey respondents gave their principal reasons for choosing external coaches as:
One of the principal benefits of coaching programmes is the provision of space and time for the coachee in which to learn and reflect. This can be particularly valuable during periods of change.
There is strong evidence that executive coaching is valuable in helping people deal with the uncertainty and challenges of change - whether organisational change, career change, life transitions, etc. Such change is the "new normal" and there is a growing expectation that people should possess the flexibility and resilience to cope with such change. For this reason, enhancing resilience and well-being in organisations is increasingly important.
For both providers and consumers of executive coaching, keeping abreast of market trends can help to benchmark services and understand the market.
The Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey published earlier this year provides some summary headlines on the global demand for executive coaching. These report on findings from 65 countries across all continents. Key findings include:
Essentially, and incontrovertibly, leadership makes a difference to company performance. When market and resource opportunities are scarce this impact is significantly amplified.
In the Borderless 2016 Leadership Development Survey, 54% of those polled considered that leadership development in their organisation was ineffective and nearly a third (29%) were unaware of any leadership development coaching or mentoring initiatives at all.
The global leadership selection and consultancy firm Borderless has just published its global survey of 1,000 senior executives on leadership development.
Using the respondents' definition of leadership ("the act of taking ownership for business results delivered by people"), the report "supports a call for a more balanced approach to leadership development, which stands on two pillars: the development of skills to visualize, plan and monitor business results, and the development of interpersonal (‘people’) skills to deliver them".
Accordingly the survey asks respondents to assess the effectiveness with which these skills and attributes are developed in organisations. The findings present a mixed, and in parts troubling, picture.
Top Leadership Challenges
Respondents were asked to list their top three leadership challenges of 2016. The most common were:
In response to these, the top 6 leadership skills they considered to be required to lead organisations and meet these challenges effectively were:
They all relate to inter-personal effectiveness and the balance required to be struck between these soft skills and business acumen. To be effective leaders, these skills need to be developed and given the opportunity to be practiced and fine-tuned.
However, many respondents considered that their organisations lacked a focus on leadership development and considered it merely as "nice to have" rather than a strategic imperative. They reported that their organisations tended to hire in leadership skills in senior executives from outside rather than growing and advancing these skills from within the organisation. This over reliance on 'hiring in' can be significantly demotivating to those with leadership potential who may see the lack of promotion opportunity as compounding the lack of development provision.
Of those organisations providing leadership development, two-thirds of leadership development participation is optional. In few other professions would it be considered acceptable that people may occupy senior positions in organisations - responsible for profitability, growth and jobs - without the skills development that accompany them.
Successful Leadership Development
So what do these senior executives consider is necessary for effective leadership development?
In the first place, and consistent with other surveys of this type in recent years, the majority (56%) consider that support from top management is a critical success factor in effective leadership development in organisations. Importantly they comment that this should not just be "parked in HR". Supporting this they consider that there should be an organisational focus on people and talent management in the organisation and sufficient resources allocated to it.
80% of those surveyed report that coaching is effective in leadership development but that there is room for improvement. Nearly a third of organisations had no coaching or mentoring support in place at all for leadership development and surprisingly only 36% used external coaches or a mix of internal and external coaches for this work. The need to use better qualified and more experienced coaches was identified. In particular, in order to enhance the quality of tomorrow's leaders, leadership development programmes should be grounded in real-life work (and should not just comprise additional tasks for busy executives to complete).
The Borderless report, 2016 Survey of Leadership Development, is available in full here.
Given our expertise in coaching psychology we are sometimes asked to work with challenging and difficult people to help them find more appropriate and constructive behaviours in the workplace. More frequently we encounter so-called 'dark' behaviours in our coaching work - sometimes directly with the coachee but more commonly when identified in leaders, managers and colleagues.
Generally these are 'unhelpful' behaviours that people express when they are stressed and under pressure. More extreme are the personality disorders such as narcissistic and psychopathic personality disorders which are more common than many people realise (it is estimated that approximately 10% of the population have psychopathic tendencies and another 10% have either a borderline or a narcissistic personality disorder).
Whether the individual is expressing highly stressed behaviour or a personality disorder, the negative impact on people and business can be extreme. This is exacerbated by the prevalence of these disorders in people at senior levels in organisations where their power and influence is heightened.
People with these behaviours are generally difficult to work with and to manage. Understanding of these behaviours in the general population is limited. The following article from Psychology Today nicely and clearly explains narcissism at work and provides some accurate and reliable indicators to watch for: Narcissism at Work. If you would like to discuss these behaviours in your business and how we can help get in touch.
The world of leadership development is the subject of so many fads and fashions that many prefer to reject it entirely than be swept up in the latest trend or buzzword. It is therefore refreshing when a leadership theory emerges that is actually based on research and evidence.
A series of corporate scandals over the last fifteen years (Lehman's and RBS spring quickly to mind, and these are now joined by Volkswagen) have created the requirement and context for the theory of Authentic Leadership. This has been studied and written about for the last decade but until recently there had been no research looking at how leaders develop either authenticity or authentic leadership. [In the US, over $10bn is spent on leadership development each year despite, to date, little theoretical or empirical evidence to support it.]
What is authentic leadership? Authentic leadership is considered to encompass four key components:
For a number of years now the importance of effective employee engagement has been linked to high performance. Research by Towers Watson back in 2010 showed that highly-engaged employees who also had high levels of well-being were the most productive and happy employees.
The recent Research Insight report by Rachel Lewis and colleagues emphasises that bringing these together sustainably is essential in order to achieve the benefits of high performance. Addressing one or the other in isolation can result in highly engaged people burning out and leaving, or healthy, dis-engaged people staying and performing at a lower level.
See here for the full CIPD report on this research. To discuss engagement and well-being in your organisation do get in touch - email me firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01223 655667.
Time was when if your boss asked you to meet with an executive coach you knew you were either under-performing or possibly on the way out of the job. I can recall making appointments with senior executives having to sign in with a different jobtitle, such was the stigma involved. Thankfully those days are passed. Now most organisations use coaching in some form or other and the overwhelming majority report significant success and benefit in doing so (see our post 'Does Executive Coaching Work?'). So having moved on significantly from just using coaching as a remedial or 'last chance' development tool, what are the key focus areas organisations are looking to coaching for in the 21st century? [Tweet this]
According to a recent (2015) survey by Korn Ferry, the top development leadership themes for C-suite executives are:
Coaching is now a firmly established means of effectively developing the skills and performance of people, with over 90% of UK organisations employing them for their staff. This is supported by research which demonstrates the effectiveness of coaching on:
One of the major benefits of coaching is the vast range of styles and approaches employed by different coaches which, in principle, means it is easier to find those who will fit best with your people and culture. We know that, assuming you are selecting from an equally competent group of coaches, choosing the one with whom you feel the most rapport and trust ('chemistry') will significantly enhance the success of the outcome [TWEET THIS]. However that is also one of the problems facing buying organisations in that it can be difficult to access an appropriate range of coaches and also know how to assess and select the right coaches for their people to choose from.
Our coach panel provides a flexible and easily accessed source of high quality professional coaching for your organisation. Our assessment and selection processes mean we have already sourced highly experienced and high calibre coaches, from which you and your people need just to choose the 'best fit'. With our coach panel:
Working with our coach panel means that you benefit from coach choice along with a consistent, quality assured approach. Our established and effective coaching process provides for flexible and responsive delivery with none of the hassle for you.
When you are embarking on a coaching experience whether for yourself or your people, you will begin in the strongest possible way by having the choice as to the coach you will work with. In a later article I will offer advice to help you to make the best coach selection for you or your people.