A Professional Business Coach Needs Internal Champions
A key to getting return on investment (“ROI”) from hiring a professional business coach is to assign
internal accountability for the outcome. From my perspective, companies hire coaches with great expectations and great intentions. However, willingness to invest money is only the first step. Good coaches bring practical processes to help you grow your business, and those processes require the client to make changes. In order to properly apply the new concepts presented by a coach, it is imperative to overlay them with a change-management approach. This requires an internal champion, and that champion must be skilled in change management. In most cases, the company’s CEO is not well-suited to this task.
In my experience, most CEOs are visionaries who are not naturally inclined to adhering to process. They are likely to be less sensitive to the human dynamics that are prone to get in the way of successfully implementing new programs. Furthermore, while logically they may have learned through experience that having best practices, systems and process in place are in their best interest, they are not usually inclined to follow them. Further, CEOS usually do not have the time, patience, and/or perspective to bring everyone along. These attributes do not make for a good champion.
A common mistake by the client is to attempt to shift responsibility for driving change onto the coach’s shoulders. While a professional business coach is a subject matter expert, their most effective approach is to coach an internal person through situational challenges and customizing approaches to unique circumstances. Employees are going to naturally follow their internal leadership, and it sends a strong message when the process is not being owned internally. The appropriate internal leader possess the relationship, organizational knowledge, authority, and is more likely to have the power to influence people to make the changes necessary to drive desired outcomes.