The Coaching & Development Model of Management Proves Itself Again

The top issue on the minds of HR leaders today is the need to “rebuild a culture of performance” in their organizations.  (From the 2009 Talent Management Factbook®, n=780 organizations).   This is a clear result of the slow economy, restructuring and layoffs, and stock market drop we have experienced this year.

In What is a Coachresponse to this challenge, our research still shows that one of the most popular “new programs” in talent management today is the revamping or automation of performance management (and performance appraisal).  Our research from last Fall showed that more than 70% of the companies we interviewed were “changing” their performance management process.  When asked why, they often told us “because noone really likes the way we do it today.”

Adoption of the Coaching and Development Model

We have written before about the differences between the “competitive assessment” and the “coaching and development” models of performance management.  The former is based on a philosophy of competition and survival of the fittest;  the latter is based on a philosophy of moving people to the right jobs and coaching them to succeed.  Obviously both models work together, but most companies tend toward one or the other.

(Please read “The Death of the Performance Appraisal” for more details…)

Our many conversations and studies show that the coaching & development approach yields better long term results.  Why?  Because over the long run (many business cycles), businesses succeed through their ability to adapt, learn, and move people from job to job.  Without a strong culture and set of processes to coach and develop people, this becomes very difficult.

More Evidence of the Power of the Coaching Model:  Impact of Development Planning

Today we have more evidence of this fact.  The 2009 Talent Management Factbook® looked at hundreds of organizations’ talent management processes and correlated various financial outcomes to various talent processes.  One thing it showed was that one of the processes most highly correlated to financial performance was development planning.

“Development Planning???” you may ask.  Yes.  This seemingly innocuous process, which is actually not that well adopted (only 8% of companies tell us they feel their process is highly effective and broadly used), has a tremendous impact on financial results.

I do not believe this is because development plans in and of themselves are that important.  Rather it is the underlying processes and skills which are needed to implement this process effectively.

In order to do a good job of development planning, the following critical things must be in place:

  • Managers and employees must clearly understand what skills are needed to succeed in a role
  • Managers and employees must understand what development opportunities and activities are a good fit to develop these skills
  • The organization must have a career map for all major jobs
  • The organization must provide career coaching and job coaching for managers and employees
  • The organization must invest in training and development
  • The organization must provide an open and transparent process for discussing the skills and capabilities of people
  • The organization must have a way of evaluating people’s current skill levels
  • The organization must have some set of competency models for many roles and jobs
  • The organization’s leadership must support and sponsor positive development of its people and talent mobility.

Want to really understand how to improve performance management in your company?  Read “The Essentials of Performance Management Practices and Systems” – our keynote research on this important fundamental to business success.

Bottom line.  If you want your business to survive in the longrun, take coaching and development seriously.

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  • This is a great post. In today’s slow economy the importance of an effective employee cannot be stressed enough. You can tell an employee what they need to work on or improve on until you are blue in the face, if you don’t have an effective process in place to encourage their development you’ll get nowhere. Just like you said the underlying processes are what push the effectiveness of the development plan.

  • Excellent article on a very important aspect of leadership!