Expected and delightfully unexpected benefits of coaching

by Coaching Out of the Box

Expected and delightfully unexpected benefits of coaching

Last month I shared with you tips on how to know if your organization is ready for coaching. This included a list of the key traits commonly found in organizations that have been successful at bringing coaching in. This month I will take a closer look at the benefits of coaching in organizations, using the healthcare setting as an example. Even if you are not working in healthcare, I urge you to keep reading. There is much to be learned from healthcare organizations that can apply to virtually any organization in any industry. Consider this. Many healthcare organizations are large and complex with multiple stakeholders, from executives to unions and everyone in between. Add to this the pressure they face as they deal with very serious issues daily. If coaching can transform and improve individuals, teams and the healthcare organization as a whole, just think what it can do for your organization.

Let’s start with the literature. The benefits of coaching in healthcare are well documented. Here is a sampling of what the literature tells us about the impact that coaching has had on individuals and teams in the healthcare setting.

Positive impact on client and patient care[1]

  • Improved clinician-patient interactions by being more present, more attuned to the patient’s needs, and encouraging them to find solutions to problems
  • Self-awareness and perceptivity leading to empathy, an essential aspect of successful clinician-patient communication

Leadership Development [2]

  • The use of coaching has moved away from problem solving to pro-active leadership development
  • Coaching is helping leaders with decision making and developing leadership qualities by giving them tools to;
    • Reflect on their decisions
    • Keep centered on reality
    • Be a catalyst for change
    • Adjust to change
    • Support lifelong learning

Career Satisfaction and Engagement[3], [4], [5]

  • Improved career satisfaction and work commitment
  • Improved performance and productivity
  • Positive impact on employee engagement
  • Improved personal and organizational effectiveness

Unexpected but delightful benefits of coaching

One of the less documented but most powerful benefits of coaching is what we refer to as the trickledown effect of coaching within organizations.

I like to think of it in terms of a waterfall. It starts small at its source, gains momentum as it moves towards its goal, sometimes following well-worn paths but often carving new and unexpected paths when needed. Sounds a lot like coaching within organizations.

A terrific example of this trickledown effect was experienced by Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) as they brought coaching to their organization.

The original intention at PHSA was to work with teams and leadership, but with the infectious spread of coaching it expanded and integrated into unique and untapped projects, programs and groups. It was intended to help with internal relationships and performance but participants began using the skills in all interactions including those with patients and their families.

Why is this so powerful? By implementing a program that not only teaches coaching skills but also creates a coaching culture, organizations and individuals are being transformed. Individuals are empowered and trusted to ask thoughtful questions and listen deeply – in all interactions.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of coaching in healthcare, check out the following resources. Register for our free webinar: Coaching in the Healthcare Setting and download our whitepaper Determining the Impact of a Coaching Skills Development Program in the Healthcare Setting

If you have questions or would like to discuss the benefits of coaching in more detail, get in touch by sending an email to [email protected].

Stay informed. Sign-up for our monthly newsletter here.



[1] Knowles, P. (2008). What is trying to happen here? Using mindfulness to enhance the quality of

Patient encounters. The Permanente Journal, 12, 55--‐59.

[2] Sherpa Coaching. (2012). The Seventh Annual Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey 2012. Retrieved


[3] (Cassatly & Berguist, 2011; Risley & Cooper, 2011).

[4] Webb, 2006

[5] Greco, Laschinger and Wong (2006)

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How to know if your Organization is ready for Coaching

by Coaching Out of the Box

Last month I shared 5 key strategies for coaching success. This month I will take a closer look at strategies for coaching success in organizations. Organizations that introduce and embrace coaching are seeing positive and exciting results. But what is required to bring coaching to your organization and make it successful? When coaching is implemented successfully we see certain commonalities. Below is a list of the key traits commonly found in organizations that have been successful at bringing coaching in. This list can be used as a guide to help you understand the readiness of your organization. It is important to think of readiness not as an absolute but as a continuum. There is not an absolute point at which an organization becomes ready. Rather, each organization will fall somewhere on the readiness continuum. It is up to each organization to understand where it is on the continuum and determine the point at which it is ready to bring coaching in.

  • Clearly defined business need. The business need is clearly identified and coaching is a tool that is aligned with addressing those needs. Coaching is a powerful tool that can address many business needs, but not everything. Have a good understanding of coaching and make sure that it is the right tool to address the business need at hand.
  • Clearly defined goals and objectives. Successful coaching programs have clearly defined goals and objectives. Just as important, these goals and objectives have been clearly communicated throughout the organization.
  • Coaching champions have been identified and are on-board. Champions are individuals with authority and influence who will act as coaching advocates and remove roadblocks. These are often members of senior leadership or HR/Learning and Development leaders or other appropriate individuals. Champions are critical to getting participant buy-in and helping to sustain the program benefits long after the training is completed.
  • Flexibility in training format to fit with organizational needs. The training is offered in a variety of formats so that it can be delivered in a format that is best suited for the organization, for example, on-site, remote or a blend. Delivery of the training will be efficient, cost-effective and convenient to maximize participation without putting undue hardships on participants or significantly disrupting business operations.
  • Aligned with needs and culture. Regardless of how the training is delivered, successful organizations adopt a program that is aligned with their needs and culture. The program will have a framework that makes it easy to learn and easy to apply so that it can be consistently delivered with reproducible results.

If you are still not sure where your organization is on the readiness continuum, take our readiness assessment. In this assessment, you will answer 25 questions using a 5-point scale. This assessment will give you another view on where your organization falls along the readiness continuum. Take the readiness assessment here. Once you’ve completed the readiness assessment, I am available to help you interpret the results. Just submit the online assessment form or send an email to [email protected]

If you’d like more tips on bringing coaching successfully in to your organization, we are here to support you. View our webinar: How to Bring Coaching Successfully to Your Organization or download our whitepaper: How to Evaluate the Results of a Coaching Skills Development Program

If you have questions or would like to discuss your organization’s readiness in more detail, get in touch by sending an email to [email protected].

Stay informed. Sign-up for our monthly newsletter here.

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5 Key Strategies for Coaching Success

by Coaching Out of the Box
5 Key Strategies for Coaching Success

The professional coaching industry is growing rapidly, creating new opportunities as well as challenges for both new and experienced coaches. If you are just entering the coaching field or already established, more than ever you need to have smart strategies for success.

So, with a growing industry that presents many opportunities as well as a few challenges, what does it take to achieve success? Hint: It is more than just good coaching skills. Yes, it is important to get quality training, to develop good coaching skills and gain confidence. But success as a coach goes much further.

In an organization, success is not just about good coaching skills but also about doing the work yourself and being a coaching role model. As coaches, we need clear objectives and goals. We need a clear path on how we will achieve our goals and we need to understand what is holding us back. People are drawn to those who exhibit the attributes they are seeking so it is important that we get our house in order first.

As a solopreneur, success is not only about excellence in coaching skills but setting up and managing a business. This includes business development, marketing, operations and finance. It is important to have a plan on how you will manage your business in addition to coaching your clients.

Based on our decades of experience in the coaching field and the work we’ve done in training and supporting coaches around the globe, we’ve identified 5 key strategies for coaching success.

  1. Do the work yourself, first

Do the work yourself and get a coach. Going through the process yourself will give you unique insights as well as a powerful success story to tell your potential coachees.

  1. Leverage your strengths

Each of us has unique strengths. The smart strategy is to leverage your strengths first. If you aren’t sure what your strengths are, take an inventory, ask trusted associates and then put them down on paper. As you develop your list of strengths, consider all experiences; personal, professional, good, bad and neutral. For example, maybe you are naturally a good listener. Write that down. Also, look at your accomplishments, in all aspects of your life, and identify what you can leverage. These could be professional accomplishments but they could also be athletic, academic, hobbies or others.

  1. Invest in education

An investment in education and training will not only give you the skill and confidence you need but it will also help you market yourself. And, it is important to keep the learning going. Even after you have the basics down it is important to refresh, enhance and refine your skills.

  1. Capitalize on your current position

Whether you are working within an organization or already building your coaching business, find opportunities where you are today to start building your credibility. For example, you can start coaching trusted colleagues or business associates. Once you take that step you can then start to develop a track record of success as well as leverage those relationships for your word of mouth marketing.

  1. Determine what makes you unique and how you will tell that story

It is competitive out there. You need to craft your story about what makes you unique and why people should come to you for coaching. This story needs to be personal, compelling and concise.

Once you’ve crafted your story you then need to tell it to everyone, everywhere. For example, make sure your story is told in your bio, on your website, in your talks, and when networking. You may need to modify your story slightly to fit different audiences but the message should be consistent.

Bonus tip for Solopreneurs:

  1. Don’t try to do it all

As a business owner, your time is best spent on acquiring new clients and coaching. To free up your time for these important activities you need to have systems or people in place that will take care of the other tasks. This is one of the biggest challenges, and often downfalls, of coaches who go into business for themselves. They believe they must do it all and end up falling short. They find out that by trying to do it all they actually can’t get everything done and end up sacrificing quality.

There are highly experienced people available for hire to do just about anything you need help with including accounting, administration, marketing, information technology, legal and more. Hire the experts to do the work or at least have them set up systems that are efficient for you to manage.

Pursuing a coaching career is exciting but it takes hard work, smart strategies and time. If you’d like more help on strategies for success, we are here to support you. Register for our free webinar: Making it as a Coach: Strategies for Success and check out our Video – Making it as a Coach.

If you have questions or would like to discuss these strategies for success in more detail, get in touch by sending an email to [email protected].

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How Can Coaching Impact Organizations?

by Coaching Out of the Box

It can be really easy to confuse the term “coaching” with “managing”. Managers often assume that because they are a capable leader, they must also be a good coach, and this is not necessarily true. Unfortunately, coaching is not a skill most people are born with, nor is it a skill naturally acquired along the route to learning how to manage. The problem with this is that a manager who cannot coach won’t get the most out of their employees. Let’s look at what coaching can bring to the table, where managing alone falls short.

A lot of the top companies in the world not only teach coaching, but expect managers to spend over 50% of their time engaged in coaching their subordinates. Here’s why:

  • Higher employee engagement
  • Greater productivity
  • Increased employee retention rate
  • Stronger perception of company leadership
  • Improved customer loyalty

The Key To An Effective Team

 The key here is employee engagement; all the other benefits stem directly from that one concept. So what, exactly, is employee engagement? The most basic way to describe or measure engagement is the level of commitment to and involvement with the company displayed by employees. Committed and engaged employees tend to be happier, which will increase productivity. Their lower stress levels will improve their general health, resulting in a more present and efficient workforce who are less likely to jump ship at the first opportunity. The engaged employee will also work very closely with their supervisors in a collaborative effort, which will improve their perception of their superiors.

To gain access to all of these benefits, managers have to learn how to coach. One of the primary differences between coaching and managing is the attitude towards working with their subordinates. A manager is typically a directive individual: distributing work, overseeing projects, and keeping their eye on the bottom line. Managers are masters of clear, one-way communication. Coaching, on the other hand, is collaborative. Coaches work with their team members, joining them on the frontlines and working as partners in open communication. Employees who are being coached are more likely to feel that their work is challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding, which, in turn, gives them a sense of worth and value within the team.

Four Important Areas of Coaching

Let’s look at four primary aspects of coaching and how each of them will improve the areas outlined above.

  • Leadership – The strength of leadership in a coaching environment comes largely from having a strong company vision and transmitting this effectively to your team members. When staff members understand what the company is all about and have a clear idea of their value in this vision, they will respect your leadership and contribute their whole selves to the group effort.
  • Voice – Give your employees a chance to be heard. This means really listening to them. Many managers feel they give their employees ample face time with them in one-on-one scenarios, but the important distinction here is to really practice active listening, rather than doing all the talking yourself. When the employee feels heard, they will feel increasingly engaged and respected.
  • Behavior – Company values and behavior start at the top. Simply put, employees will never respect a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality from their superiors. If you have clear-cut principles and guidelines for employee behavior, it is absolutely essential that this code is upheld all the way up the chain of command.
  • Empower – Empowering your employees comes from shifting the managerial mindset. The manager who views his subordinates as people who need to be micro-managed and controlled will fail to earn the respect and commitment of his employees. Begin, instead, with the viewpoint that each member of your staff is a valuable and intelligent person who wants to do a good job, and make it your goal each day to support them in this endeavor.

The last bullet point there is vital to the essentials of coaching. As a coach, you must begin working with your employees on the premise that their goal is to be the best employee they can be and develop the relationship from there. After establishing that outlook, you can help guide them and eliminate obstacles to working with and understanding them effectively. When your employees feel that you respect them, they will begin to trust you. When you take action to support and strengthen this trust, they will develop faith and confidence in you. With these principles established in your work environment, the possibilities are endless. Your employees will thank you and your bottom line will reflect it.

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Team-Building – What Works?

by Coaching Out of the Box

Team-building exercises are historically hit-or-miss endeavors. In most workplaces, when people hear that management has planned some team-building, employees’ reactions will range from active defiance and eye-rolling to outright apathy, but rarely is it news received with enthusiasm. However, there are exercises and strategies which work, which aren’t cringe-inducing, and which won’t cost anybody an arm and a leg. If you’re looking to bring some unity to your team, let’s take a look at a way to do that without driving your employees crazy. 

Why Work on Team Building?
Team-building is some of the most important work that a team leader can engage his team in. A team which works well together will be a more efficient team, producing better results in shorter periods of time. When a team begins to gel with each other, communication will be better and more open, improving relationships between members and anybody else with whom they interact outside of the team. People operating in this healthy environment will be more motivated and have a better overall sense of mutual trust.
How to Approach These Activities
It’s important to keep in mind that team-building should not feel like team-building. If it feels like a tedious, heavy-handed task with an obvious purpose, employees will quickly lose interest and not put any effort into the activity, which will obviously defeat the whole purpose. Trying too hard will drive a wedge between you and your team, and could even cost you their respect.
Try to keep a casual air about these activities, and let them be fun. It’s important to note the difference between “letting it be fun” and “making it fun”; team members can tell the difference. For instance, when planning something, don’t take the whole burden on yourself. Instead, allow as much team input as possible to make sure the idea is something that the people taking part in it actually want to do. Studies have shown that happiness and learning go hand in hand, i.e. a happy employee will learn more than an unhappy one, so let them make the activity fun. They will enjoy it more and get more out of it as a result. 
Team Building Exercises and Strategies That Work
  • Informal Address – Drop formal manners of speech. Allow team members to communicate with one another and with their superiors in whichever way feels most comfortable. Let them throw an emoji or two into their emails or their texting, discard the use of titles, add slang to the workplace vocabulary. Team members who feel less overshadowed by their superiors and uptight around their fellows will be encouraged to speak freely and honestly.
  • Celebrate Success – This starts with the leader. When your team members do well, whether it’s getting work done ahead of schedule or coming up with a great new idea, celebrate it openly. This will encourage other members to do the same, pushing negativity out of the team environment. 
  • Mix Up Your Team – There are a number of ways to do this, but all share the same goal: get people out of their comfort zone and interacting with people they might not ordinarily work closely with. This creates a greater sense of cohesion and overall understanding across all parts of a team. Ways to do this can include breaking discussions into randomized groups or letting employees from one department go learn what a different department does for a day. Be creative!
  • Group Outings – Taking the team out for a day or an evening is a great way to develop cohesion. Ideally, this event shouldn’t have any intended purpose, other than fun. Don’t try to draw any profound lessons out of the experience or point it towards “Team-Building”. Just take the team out to a sports game or a concert and let them have a good time with each other. They will bond and have a good time. The results will show in their work.
  • Encourage Shared Hobbies – In most teams, it is common for team members to share outside interests. Provide these employees, if possible, with the space, email lists, and even minor financial support (if appropriate) to pursue these hobbies with each other. Not only will these team members feel supported, other members may discover new interests and join them, as well. This sort of extracurricular team involvement strengthens the relationships between team members and will show up at work as well.
Team Building – Not an Episode of ‘The Office’
So there you have it. Keep team-building casual, fun, and employee-driven. Most importantly, don’t force things. Instead focus on creating environments which foster natural development of team chemistry. If you keep these things in mind, you will be a respected and well-liked leader, and, as a result, you will have a team which runs like a well-oiled machine, both during business hours and outside!

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