Learning & Development

Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow—The 4 Stages of Developmental Coaching

By Anthony Di Bratto

The Goal

One talent management goal of every HR manager in every business is to develop current employees into the next wave of company leaders. How do they do this? Every manager has his or her own approach, but consistent among all managers is some form of developmental coaching.

Unlike disciplinary coaching, developmental coaching seeks to nurture the high-potential high-performers already present in the company by helping the identified employees (the “clients”) to achieve a mutually agreed upon set of goals that increases self-awareness and addresses any behavioral limitations that could hinder the client or the company when the employees are placed in leadership roles in the future.

The Process

While each coaching relationship is unique to its workplace and the people involved in the relationship, there are generally four stages to developmental coaching:

1)    Initial Meeting: During this stage a meeting is held between the manager and the client in order to discuss the purpose and nature of the coaching relationship and its desired outcomes. What is important to note is that this process is collaborative and is not simply the manager dictating terms. In this way the client takes ownership of his or her development while also building openness with the manager. While formalized in goal-setting and evaluation, the developmental coaching relationship is most effective when the relationship itself is less formal and more akin to a friendship.

2)    Information Gathering: During this stage the focus is on the manager developing more detailed knowledge of the client. This can be done using various channels including self-assessments, peer interviews, and a 360-degree feedback system. Throughout this process the manager and the client work collaboratively, sharing feedback to build the coaching relationship and also to form a basis of judging client progress and the effectiveness of the coaching process.

3)    Assessment: In this stage the manager provides feedback based on the various assessments, reviewing and interpreting the relevant data. The goal of this is to provide the client with feedback in order to build the necessary self-awareness needed for making behavioral changes. Also, the increased self-awareness plays a vital role in the ability of the client to provide self-evaluation outside the coaching meetings in validation of instituting behavioral change. At the end of this stage the client and manager will have identified any necessary areas of improvement and will have collaboratively established a client-specific development plan.

4)    Implementation: The fourth and final stage involves the implementation of the client development plan and a period of follow-up monitoring and consulting by the manager. This provides the client with ongoing feedback based on observed progress as well as an opportunity to adjust the development plan if necessary. In this stage, observable changes in behavior and performance will be most noticeable and there is emphasized importance on the ongoing support of the manager and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the coaching process.

The Result

When properly utilized developmental coaching can not only produce the next leaders of the company internally, it can also reduce recruitment costs and break down barriers between managers and their team members resulting in greater employee engagement and retention.  Furthermore, not only are clients motivated by the recognition as “top performers” but, as the clients take ownership of their own development process, they become more engaged in the workplace as a whole, including adopting the company values and vision as their own.

About Today’s HR Daily Advisor Blogger:
Anthony Di Bratto is an HR consultant based out of Toronto, Canada. A believer in human resources as a lifelong learning pursuit Mr. Di Bratto enjoys playing various sports while also trying to give back to his local community.

1 thought on “Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow—The 4 Stages of Developmental Coaching”

  1. Thanks for this. I’m a firm believer that coaching, especially developmental coaching, is neglected far too often and usually to the employer’s detriment.

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