Launching a Behavioral Coaching Program in Your Organization

Published: Feb 12, 2020
Modified: May 22, 2020

By Nikki Evans and Carol Pocklington

Companies that offer a strong behavioral coaching program will attract quality talent while maximally leveraging the employees already on board. People are increasingly looking to invest their skills and talents in organizations where “payback” is more than the salary they earn. They want to be seen as worthy of investment in other ways, such as a behavioral coaching program that helps them develop and grow in the workplace. Better still if the skills and insights they pick up can improve life away from work too.

Organizational behavioral coaching in action

People are born with unique gifts and talents. It’s in their DNA. When they can’t use them, when they feel unfulfilled. They become dissatisfied, disgruntled, frustrated, and unhappy. They are certainly not working to potential. At the very least, a strong cultural behavioral coaching ethos is the framework within which individuals can find their purpose and deliver their best. And that’s usually a recipe for both individual and organizational success, so a clear case can be made for behavioral coaching and the alignment it brings having a positive effect on the bottom line.

When individuals have knowledge and insight into their own unique behavior and communication style, together with a clear understanding of the value they bring to the business, they and their teams deliver at a higher level. The chaos factor is removed. They know where they are going and can see how the work they do lines up with their life plans.

Giving leadership the keys to a coaching program

Here are some guidelines on how to launch behavioral coaching:

Recognize that CEOs are the principal architects of the behavioral coaching culture in their business.

Understanding and reviewing their own behaviors, personal vision, values, and level of engagement with others is critical to the success of behavioral coaching. It starts at the top—often said, but rarely practiced. A CEO who knows his or her own personality, EQ, communication style, biases (yes, we all have them), and personal values is more likely to be able to introduce behavioral coaching than a leader who does not have this insight.

Ask whether your style of leadership is too strict, too controlling, and/or too rational.

Do you know? It could be learned behavior, or it might be inherent, but it can be revealed and managed.

Determine what the market is saying about your business. If no one is talking and boasting about the culture of the organization, it’s a sure sign there isn’t one or, if there is, it’s toxic. Introducing behavioral coaching will address this issue.

Take the pulse of and measure the current state of coaching. Maybe not everything needs to change; sometimes, coaching that takes place informally and through osmosis is working. It’s not ideal, because understanding individuals’ unique behavior is absolutely necessary, but it’s a start and certainly worth building on.

Use a validated personality discovery process to quickly identify those able to own and manage behavioral coaching. It doesn’t always have to be leadership to staff, it can be peer to peer. The key is to know who is coaching “healthily” and in line with company values, and who is coaching based on “rogue” behavior. All of this can be revealed, managed, and measured.

Give people coaching skills training. Help your team understand what coaching is, and give them some training on how to ask empowering questions, help people identify action plans, and provide accountability. If you want a coaching culture, invest in teaching coaching skills.

Appoint a coaching manager. Empower this person to work across borders in the business to introduce, facilitate, and maintain the process of coaching.

Keep reviewing and auditing. This is especially important when introducing any kind of change, but particularly a program such as behavioral coaching, to ensure it is relevant and working.

Deliver customized experiences. Remember, employees wish to be treated uniquely. Look at how you can set targets and review performance based on their strengths, provide recognition that is tied to their style, and deliver customized communication across the business.

Do not underestimate the power of leaders’ regular communication with team members.

Acknowledge the individuals championing the behavioral coaching program.

Create a vision of what the future of the organization looks like after and as a consequence of introducing the behavioral coaching approach.

The real prize of implementing a robust and consistent coaching culture is that individuals take responsibility for what happens in their work areas and problems are solved where they happen and by those affected. This frees leaders up to focus on the business and its opportunities.

About The Author

Nikki Evans is chief learning officer and Carol Pocklington is chief insights officer at DNA Behavior International, a behavioral sciences firm that specializes in empowering real-time behavioral management.