Tip 3: Set Your Sights on the Prize

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A coaching initiative is a business investment, and it must be perceived

as value added to the business by the senior leaders. In charting

the cast of characters, we followed the money to see where the

investment in coaching was going to come from. These investors

need to see value, as does the sponsor. It is important, therefore, to

articulate the value proposition to each of these leaders in order

for them to buy into the coaching initiative. For example, in the

vignette, Sarah was able to draw from the HR VP, who was the

sponsor, what he would view as of value to the business: increasing

the supply of leaders who are ready for promotion. Had Sarah gone

deeper, she would have continued to spin this idea until she discovered

a personal value need of the HR VP. Perhaps he felt that he

needed to be seen by his peers as an effective and capable leader of

the leadership supply process. Or perhaps he felt that he needed to

be viewed by the CEO to be more of a strategic business partner and

not just a supplier of HR services and transactions. Coaches have

the intuitive powers to readily get to these deeper value needs, and

by putting on the consulting hat, they must step up and ensure that

the coaching initiative addresses these needs for each of the major

decision makers.

Let’s not forget the needs of the coach either. The coach must

examine what he or she needs from the coaching initiative following

a similar process that was used with the HR VP and other

leaders. For starters, Sarah wants to expand her coaching business

in the client organization. She will develop some revenue and client

goals to reflect her expectations for business growth. Upon further

reflection, Sarah may also recognize deeper value needs (especially

if she has her own coach!). For example, she may need to be seen as

a business peer by the HR VP or the CEO, or perhaps she feels that

she needs to position herself as someone who builds strategic capability

in organizations and not only as a coach of individuals.Whatever

these needs are, she must perceive that the coaching initiative

is meeting her higher value and developmental needs.

One outcome that all people value is the impact on the business.

At this point in the process, we are on the verge of writing a work

proposal (which is covered in the next section of this chapter). We

cannot say for certain how coaching will impact the business and

the potential monetary value that may be produced. We can,

however, unlock this potential value with two simple words: “so

that.” Case in point: Sarah got the HR VP to see how coaching will

accelerate the supply of available leaders. Both agreed that business

impact would occur, but they did not explore this issue any further.

How could this have been done? Sarah could amend the statement

with “so that” and have the HR VP fill in the blanks. Coaching will

accelerate the supply of available leaders so that:

_ Critical leadership positions will be filled more quickly.

_ The company will rely less on external recruiters.

_ New business opportunities can be explored.

Sarah can continue to explore with the HR VP (and others) the

potential chain of business impact using the “so that” process. For

example: Critical leadership positions will be filled more quickly

so that:

_ Sales targets in existing markets will continue to be met.

_ Employee focus and morale are maintained.

_ Customer relationships will not be interrupted or compromised.

Sarah can continue this “so that” process until all major avenues

of potential value creation are identified. Some of these sources of

value will be formally explored in the evaluation process, converted

to monetary value, and factored into the ROI equation. At this point

in the initiative, these “so that” probes heighten leaders’ awareness

of the potential for value creation. The prize begins to take shape in

people’s minds, and coaching becomes viewed as a business initiative,

not just a developmental initiative.