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Developing An Internal Coaching Program Transcript


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In the workplace, managers who truly have effective coaching skills produce significantly better results.

Companies that have established a coaching culture internally report significantly reduced staff turnover, increased productivity, more harmonious work environment and satisfaction at work.

What is an internal coaching program, and how is it developed?

What are the pros/cons and issues related to internal coaching, and how is its effectiveness measured?

This show touches on several subjects related to internal coaching, including how to set up and maintain an internal coaching program.


* Josh Ehrlich, Dean, BeamPines Master's Program in Executive Coaching

* David Lane, Founding Director, Professional Development Foundation

* Howard Pines, Chairman, BeamPines, Inc

* Robert Vavrina, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, BlueCross BlueShield


According to a study published by business trade magazine Human Resources Planning in its April 1st 2007 issue, sixty percent of companies report having some form of internal coaching.

A recent article in the New Zealand Business Herald builds upon this trend in terms of the number of organizations who are using coaching internally, specifically highlighting three types of coaching in business:

* Managers coaching staff.

* External executive coaches who are working with executives and leaders within an organization.

* Internal coaches who are a part of an internal coaching function who work with employees from the inside.

But how are today’s corporations running these internal coaching departments?

And for those companies looking to build a coaching program – where should they start?

On this show are guests not only discuss how organizations are structuring internal coaching programs, but also share successes and challenges organizations are experiencing as they’ve introduced and managed these departments and programs.

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine

Developing An Internal Coaching Program Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: Insight Educational Consulting Ubiqus Reporting (IEC)
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:27 Tom Floyd Hello everyone and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors and sides of emerging professional coaching field. I’m Tom Floyd, I’m the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today’s show. Well this week our topic is Internal Coaching. We’ll discuss the state of the state in terms of the number of organizations we currently in internal coaching functions. We’ll discuss how organizations are structuring internal coaching programs and we’ll discuss some of the challenges and successes organizations are experiencing as they’re running these departments and programs. With me exploring this topic today are four guests and let me give you a quick overview of who we have with us today. Our first guest, Josh Ehrlich, Ph.D., is the dean and founder of the BeamPines/Middlesex Master’s Program in Executive Coaching, the first and only graduate program in the United States to offer an advanced degree in executive coaching. In addition to serving as a Master Coach in the program, Josh heads up the Educational Services Division which provides advanced training in leadership skills with a special emphasis on coaching and mentoring. Josh is on the faculty of Middlesex University’s Work-based Studies program in London, and is also a member of organizations including The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and The American Psychological Association. Welcome to the show Josh. 1:43 Josh Ehrlich Thanks Tom. Good to be here. 2 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 2 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 1:44 Tom Floyd Our second guest, David Lane, is the director of Professional Development Foundation in England, and is currently a visiting Professor to the School of Education at Middlesex University. As an executive coach for more than twenty years, he has worked across a wide range of industries including Biotechnology, Energy, Finance, Health, Pharmaceuticals and Retail. David recently was the recipient of the Senior Award of the Counseling Psychology Division of the British Psychological Society for “outstanding scientific contribution” which follows an earlier national Freedom of Information award for his work on sharing client information. His research on behavior problems and bullying has been taken up world-wide, and he has published widely. Welcome to the show David. 2:28 David Lane Thank you Tom. It’s good to be here. 2:30 Tom Floyd Good to have you. Our next guest, Howard Pines, is the Founder and Chairman of BeamPines, Inc., a global human resource consulting firm, used by successful entrepreneurs for business consulting services both during the planning stage and the latter years of their ventures. Howard’s latest venture is co-founding the BeamPines/Middlesex University Master’s Program in Executive Coaching. Before co-founding BeamPines in 1981, Howard was Corporate Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Standard Brands, Inc., where he held worldwide responsibility for all human resource functions within the corporation. Welcome to the show Howard. 3:05 Howard Pines Glad to be here Tom. 3 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 3 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 3:07 Tom Floyd And our last guest, Bob Vavrina, is Senior Vice President of Human Resources for BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. Under Bob’s leadership, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has received numerous awards as an employer of choice in North Carolina, including the Training Top 100 Award from Training Magazine for three consecutive years, the Triad Business Journal’s Crown Award, and Employer of the Year from the Arc of Durham County, an organization that supports people with developmental disabilities. Bob joined the BlueCross BlueShield in 1998 from The Travelers Property and Casualty Corp, where he served as Vice President of Human Resources for the company’s largest division with 8,500 employees. Welcome to the show Bob. 3:48 Bob Vavrina Thanks very much Tom. It’s a pleasure to be here. 3:51 Tom Floyd Well as we always do, I’d like to set the stage by sharing some data that our research team pulled together and here’s a few points to get us started. According to a study done by business trade magazine Human Resources Planning in its April 1st 2007 issue: “60 percent of companies report internal coaching. In contrast, almost all participating companies provide some form of external coaching.” Looking at an article in the New Zealand Business Herald, it defines three types of coaching in business: first, when managers attempt to coach staff; second, which is the more traditional way where an external coach comes in at a senior level, looking at leadership strategies; and third, internal coaching, where someone in an organization is appointed to the role of coach or a coaching function is created. In BusinessWeek's second annual quot;Best Places to Launch a Careerquot; which was published in its Sept. 17th 2007 issue, Deloitte & Touche USA gained the #1 spot on the ranking, advancing from third place last year, with the magazine citing Deloitte’s “Coaching & Career Connections -- an internal coaching and career development resource providing live and virtual coaches on a confidential basis – as among its leading Talent Management initiatives. Well Howard, I’d like to start with you. Can you tell us a little bit about, from your perspective, how the coaching field has evolved in change in the past five years? Is it still as Stratford Sherman put it you know in his famous Harvard Business Review article, the Wild West of Executive Coaching? 4 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 4 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 5:30 Howard Pines Well I think the biggest change and if I could go back a little bit further than that, but is that when coaching really started, it was about people with issues and that the company side had somebody who usually was very good technically that had interpersonal issues. I think the biggest change then came when the company started focusing on executives who didn’t really have issues, but that they wanted to bring up higher levels in the organizations and they brought in a coach or they had somebody inside to help that person develop. I think the latest change that I’m seeing and you mentioning Deloitte is interesting is that places like Deloitte are looking at the next level of partners, etc., who they think may have possibilities but they’re not necessarily the real high potential and are looking at them and how they develop them, and how do they bring about the interpersonal skills, leadership skills, strategic skills and are bringing in both internal and external coaches to help with that. And I think that’s the future to get much broader in these firms. 6:41 Tom Floyd So its not just it sounds like two main points coming from that one originally coaching, focusing more on kinds of problem areas with people or developmental areas, and two that you’re starting to see more companies and organizations bring coaching down to the next level. So it’s not just focused on core executives or leaders, but kind of more in this case with Deloitte at the partner level. 7:12 Tom Floyd Now one theme that constantly comes up on the show, I’m amazed how much it comes up, is the importance of making sure that when coaching is introduced in an organization that it is the exact opposite the original theme that you stated was the nature of coaching at first and that coaching absolutely shouldn’t be a fix-it solution, but is something as a growth tool, as a development tool. Is that something that you feel too, is particularly important? 7:41 Howard Pines Well I think there’s still instances where companies maybe for a lot of reasons are using it as a problem solving tool. But I do think that the vast majority are now getting into the thing that you just mentioned as a development tool. 5 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 5 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 7:57 Tom Floyd Got it. From your experience, how has the coaching function itself evolved within most organizations? Are you seeing more cases where companies are having a formal internal coaching function? 8:10 Howard Pines I’m seeing this more and I think the reason is that inside you do have the aspect that you’re closer to the issue and its real time, where on the outside you don’t. But the problem is, and why I think companies now developing their own and bringing some of the skills to their own people is, that its one thing to say to somebody that you’re intimidating. It’s another to then give them the tools not to be intimidating. So I think the companies and firms are now realizing that if they’re going to have an internal function and obviously a lot of them think that it’s relevant, that they then have to give the people inside the tools to not just be able to tell somebody but to also help them once they’ve given them the information. 9:01 Tom Floyd In terms of the companies that are starting to have internal coaching functions, is this mainly something that you’re seeing within the Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 or even your middle-sized companies, or are small businesses starting to have internal coaching functions as well or for that matter, even starting to look at using coaches even if they’re external? 9:22 Howard Pines I think using coaches is the question that’s going further down to smaller companies, and Josh and Bob and David may be able to talk more on as far as broading it out. I still think that the companies who are spending the money on internal coaching functions are probably the bigger companies that can also put the resources to it, but the other guys may see something different in that regard. 9:53 Tom Floyd Well Josh, a question for you. And when I heard the statistics from the Human Resources Planning Magazine in terms of 60% of organizations having an internal function now - well 60% seemed like a good number to me. I was actually very happy to see that number. It’s greater than I expected. What was your reaction to that number? Did that seem about right from your experience? 6 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 6 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 10:17 Josh Ehrlich It’s interesting actually because we did a survey ourselves at BeamPines a few years ago and we got about 75%. So yes, I wouldn’t think that’s off the mark. It’s in that ballpark. The incredible thing about that is how many companies are thinking about it and talking about it. The reality, though, is that I don’t think most of those 60 or 75% of the companies actually have a strong function yet. Its kind of more in the thought stage where they have one person who may be able to provide some services, but the other question is how many of those companies have put money into training those people? And when we asked that it was really very small. It was like 10% were ready or had done some spending on training those people up to be internal coaches. So there’s a big gap there. 11:06 Tom Floyd So its almost like they’re kind of bringing the coaches in cold turkey and throwing them in and not necessarily, when you say training, introducing them to what the culture is like in the organization here, the competencies or skills that people are being measured on, things like that? 11:23 Josh Ehrlich No, two different issues. If you’re talking about external coaches, yeah, I think they are bringing them in and sort of culturating external coaches. But when we’re talking about -- [interposing] 11:30 Tom Floyd Okay. 7 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 7 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 11:31 Josh Ehrlich If they’re hiring internal coaches or setting up internal coaching functions, I think they have people who could potentially wear that hat or have that title also be on their card. But I think a lot of those people are either alone in the sense that they’re the only person within the organization who could provide internal coaching and they don’t have the resources to really provide it or they’re not trained themselves to really it at the highest level. So they have some organizational development skills and they have some good HR skills and good problem solving negotiating skills, but they really haven’t been given, as Howard was saying, the tools to not only give the feedback, you know, “hey, you’re coming across X or Y way,” but how do you change that? How do you help people learn? And that’s really I think the most fascinating thing about internal coaching which we could get into today is how do you help people to learn? 12:22 Tom Floyd So some of the folks aren’t necessarily coaches themselves. They’ve just been placed in that role or involved in that role or people may recognize “hey you’ve got some great skills. I think you’d be a good coach. Knock yourself out with the coaching program.” 12:35 Josh Ehrlich Right. Right. And they don’t have the time to do it. I mean that was the other thing we asked in our survey is how much time, if you’re an internal coach, how much time are you spending on internal coaching? You know it’s in the 15 to 20% range. It’s a small part of most people’s jobs. So you may be a company and said “yes we have internal coaching”, but it’s actually one person and a small part of their job. Its not broad-based throughout the organization. 12:58 Howard Pines One point and Bob can probably speak to as well, too, when you’re inside, its still [unintelligible] and if the CEO close to the meeting, you probably cancel the coaching session that you might have had with the employee where the external coach obviously that’s his client and he’s never going to cancel. So to Josh’s point of time, the internal coach is a lot of times driven still hierachly by the organization and that obviously can hurt trust. 8 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 8 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 13:32 Tom Floyd Okay, yes that certainly makes sense. It’s almost like coaching kind of needs to be in its own box so to speak and from an org chart perspective, and then the confidentiality piece is definitely something I want to come back to. It’s something that I get asked about a lot. So definitely hang on to that thought because I want to come back to that. David, question for you. If we talk about the three types of coaching that the New Zealand Business Herald mentioned, I definitely like the distinction made, especially since so many people have different definitions of what coaching is. In your experience, do most managers tend to naturally think of themselves as coaches for their employees, and are they providing this? 14:19 David Lane I think it varies an awful lot, the numbers you quoted in the UK, this latest sound poll of 100 companies; nine out of 10 said they were using some form of coaching. And a great deal of that is internal coaching either manager coaching or other forms of internal coaching which are more structured. The line coaching piece is a difficult one because obviously the line manager has responsibilities for the performance of their staff and they also take responsibility for things where the performance is not what it should be, and they have a number of functions of which coaching [unintelligible]. So those where the organizations develop a coaching culture, management itself is conducted using coaching skills. So coaching informs the way management happens where as now it’s sort of add on. It just doesn’t necessarily fit well. And to pick up on the point that Josh made, while nine out of 10 companies say they’re using coaching, the necessary training doesn’t necessarily match that. While some organizations have a very coherent detailed training program, in a way of supporting through supervision their internal coaching rather they just say well it is something managers should do and therefore they do it even though they don’t actually have the skills to do it. 15:40 Tom Floyd So it’s almost like a manager can be more at risk then because he or her can be getting put in that role and not have had any training and be actually a terrible coach? 15:50 David Lane Absolutely terrible coach, yeah. 9 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 9 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 15:52 Tom Floyd Okay. Any other challenges that are coming up when a manager or from your perspective at least, when a manager puts himself or herself in a coaching role or the organization puts him or her in that role? 16:04 David Lane Yes I can think of three challenges. The first one is the one you just said. Does the manager end up being a terrible coach and certainly in one study in a major telecom company had actually looked at the question and they found there was some managers who simply no matter how much training they get, never “get” coaching. And yet they’re being asked to coach. So those managers for whom it really is not their school base, but are still being asked to do it. So that’s one challenge. The second challenge is in relation to whether or not they’re actually supported. So some organizations have mechanisms to support managers when they coach through occasionally meetings and supervision. So the absence of support is one of them. And the third is what topics they tackle when they coach. There are some things which are applicable within the realm of management, the manager. So for example, skills coaching, for example they run a sales team then coaching people in setting skills would be something that is appropriate. And some forms of performance coaching. But when they get into development areas or career areas, that’s really outside of what the manager can logistically do and therefore issues come up when they try to extend their coaching into those other areas, one because they were never trained to do it, and two because they actually get in the areas of power relationships within management and staff. 17:31 Tom Floyd I’m glad you mentioned sales because a lot of the clients we work with are sales clients, and that’s one of the things from a consultant perspective that I hear a lot, it seems like I see more managers in sales audiences or sales organizations assuming the role as coach then I sometimes see in other functions. 17:52 David Lane Yes, and in fact the literature on coaching goes back to the 1930s, but much of the early literature is about coaching as a mechanism managers can use within sales teams. Some of the earliest coaching comes from sales backgrounds. 10 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 10 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 18:08 Tom Floyd Interesting and definitely validating. Bob, a question for you. Did BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina rely heavily on managers as coaches and/or external coaches first, and the next part of that question is, what made your organization realize that it needed its own internal coaching function? 11 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 11 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 18:28 Bob Vavrina Well I think the talent reviews we run on a regular basis certainly probably was the originator in terms of us looking at the question of coaching. And we made some mistakes in the beginning. We got into it about four years ago. We didn’t know what we didn’t know and we brought in a local person from a well known large company who had left a well known large company and she was a master coach, ICF, and we had her train some of our HR folks. And we had a pool of people and she actually interviewed people and made some determinations on who she thought would make good coaches. And then we used her coaching methodology for training our internal people. And so we kind of had a single theory model that we used for a number of years and a fair number of the people who are actually doing the coaching I don’t think ever got comfortable with the model. And so both the coaches themselves and the people being coached suffered from that. And also what we did wrong was we had to decentralize so the HR, the HR consultants, business consultants who were the consultants to the various line organizations here would be off using this single theory model and then doing work on their own, and we kind of lost grip on it. We didn’t get good measures. We didn’t get best practices. We didn’t get a lot of feedback. So what we did within the last six months was to consolidate all of our coaching related activities. So we’ve taken internal coaching, external coaching and our mentoring program, which has been in place for six years under one person who has sole responsibility to direct, evaluate and upgrade the process and the practitioners. And so we get the benefit of training from a variety of reputable organizations where we’re using, we’re down here in the triangle and the Center for Creative Leadership is down the road here in Greensboro. So we have some of our top talent people going through that process, their leadership program which includes a CCL coach and we’ve partnered their coaches with our coaches here internally. We’ve got some people who have gone, Duke has a certificate program here or had one and North Carolina State University has a certificate program, and University of North Carolina has had a certificate program in their Charlotte operation. 12 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 12 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 21:20 Tom Floyd Well there’s definitely a lot of great points here that I want to come back to. I am starting to hear the music for our first commercial. 21:25 Bob Vavrina Oh, okay. 21:27 Tom Floyd I hate doing that every time. Let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone. More from Insight on Coaching when we return. 13 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 13 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 24:06 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching, I’m Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Internal Coaching and with me are Josh Ehrlich, Dean and Founder of the BeamPines/Middlesex Master’s Program in Executive Coaching, David Lane, Founding Director of the Professional Development Foundation in England, Howard Pines, Founder and Chairman of BeamPines, Inc., and Bob Vavrina, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina. Well in this segment of the show I’d like to focus on the pros and cons of having internal coaching function or program. Here’s some more data from the April 1st, 2007 issue of the Human Resource Planning magazine to set the stage: “More internal coaching for middle managers appears to improve culture and morale. Organizations addressing derailment risks through the greater use of internal coaches report positive outcomes; the opposite holds for greater use of external coaches for derailment risks. More internal coaching for solid performers can improve motivation and organization culture, yet they are least likely to receive coaching, compared to high potentials and derailment risks.” “Internal coaching engagements last five months on average. Despite the shorter overall duration of internal coaching engagements, in almost one- third of the companies, internal coaching is used for development on an ongoing basis. In such companies, not surprisingly, the average internal coaching engagement duration is longer-almost eight months.” “More internal coaching for solid performers can improve motivation and organization culture, yet they are least likely to receive coaching, compared to high potentials. How coaching is managed also affects organizational outcomes: Organizations that use central coordination of coaching and evaluate its effectiveness report better results. What is measured appears to affect what happens.” Well Howard, I’d like to start with you. In your mind, what are the pros of developing and running the coaching function internally? 14 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 14 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 26:13 Howard Pines Well I think again the pros are that its real time, that the individual who is internal knows the players better than the external coach, knows how the players will react, you know can see more likely what is happening and what is causing, what the individual needs to do to develop and it isn’t theory like a lot of times it is with us as an external coach. It’s real. And so they see the incidences as they come about and therefore that’s obviously a big plus. Again you get back to what of the things you wanted to talk about later obviously, confidentiality is one issue where the external coach has an advantage. And the other things are that the external coaches don’t have a skin in the game and therefore their client is definitely, can’t be definitely individual and of course the aspect of the external coach, that’s his profession and so the skill developing and the technique development from the external coach is usually a little bit more than somebody internally, even if somebody’s been trained. And so their focus is going to be on actually bringing about the skills, not just instructing or trying to help somebody get through a situation. So I think on short term, a lot of times the internal coaches have a big advantage. Long term sometimes the external coach has some things that they can bring about that really help that person again more on a long-term basis in the aspect of developing skills that the person can use for a longer term solution, not just to get through situations. 28:14 Tom Floyd So it sounds like one of the pros or the advantages is that the internal coaches who are a part of the function definitely have an understanding of the culture and environment? 28:23 Howard Pines Right. 28:24 Tom Floyd And the coaching becomes a little bit more real for them in terms of they really “get it” so to speak from a lot of perspectives and that they have more skin in the game. If you were to meet with someone at the C level, let’s say in a different company or organization that didn’t have a coaching function yet, from your perspective, what would you tell that person in terms of what the business case is at the executive level for having an internal coaching function? If you had to say something like “you know here are the three reasons why you should implement an internal coaching function”, what would those three reasons be? 15 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 15 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 29:04 Howard Pines Well I think something that Bob said and Josh said it’s motivating, knowing that the people inside are helping you get ahead. I think is very good for morale and confidence of people in that they have somebody inside who’s on their side and working with them. I think again it’s also very effective to have somebody who helps you move along and helps you get through issues. Corporations today with matrices are very complex, and to have somebody inside helping you get through all these different issues I think again is not only helpful, but it also makes people feel that the corporation is more invested in them. I’d say those are the two things. I’m not sure I could think of a third thing that really makes it valuable, but I’m sure the other guys can. 30:00 Tom Floyd Okay. Josh, anything that you would add? 30:04 Josh Ehrlich Yes, the cost obviously. Again, you have internal people doing it, it’s a fixed cost versus bringing in external people. The speed to market if you will, if you have a situation where there’s coaching needed, the time it takes to setup an external coach, setup a meeting, often comes to a beauty contest, setup multiple coaches for a person to meet and choose between. An internal coach, if there’s a problem, boom, you just send them right down there like Howard’s earlier point about its hieratical and it also can be a good thing. You just tell the internal coach to go meet with this person, help them quickly. It happens immediately. So the speed of response can tend to be much better in internal coaching. 16 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 16 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 30:53 Tom Floyd Well I’d like to come back to you to continue to talk about some of the cons. I want to come back to the point around confidentiality. There was an issue or a topic I should say that I was hoping we get into on today’s show because it’s come up several times and its also something as a coaching advocate myself, that clients ask me about – they ask if confidentiality becomes an issue. Josh, can you talk to us a little bit about the challenge of confidentiality so like things with internal coaches, are employees feeling as comfortable opening up or sharing information and divulging things like growth areas and weaknesses and things like that with somebody whose an internal coach as they would someone who is an external resource? What are some of the challenges there and what are some of the ways to address that? 31:44 Josh Ehrlich Yes, it’s the biggest issue and yet it’s interesting. Depending on how you approach it, it doesn’t have to be as big an issue. I think everybody in this field is kind of all over the map on this one. There’s some people, internal coaches that we train in a Master’s Program for example in one of our recent symposiums we were talking and I’d say this person is in your organization, Bob. Their position was that you cannot offer any confidentiality as an internal coach. It is just inappropriate because you’re going to be in situations where you’re going to have information and it’s going to be useful to the organization as a whole and you need to use that. And to offer confidentiality is just like you’re lying basically and to paraphrase Mark Twain, right, “the best way to not worry about your memory is to just always tell the truth.” So if an internal coach doesn’t want to have to worry about what they said and who to say it to, don’t promise anything or don’t over promise. David, I’d be curious for you to chime in at some point, too, because -- [interposing] 17 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 17 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 32:47 David Lane The number one question they raise about internal coaching is the issue about confidentiality. But it comes up differently in different organizations. Organizations where they’ve established a proper culture to support coaching is less of an issue, because what happens is people put premises around it. So it is agreed what the issues of confidentiality are, and what they’re not. And to some extent, those issues are the same as you’d have with external coaches, if an external coach becomes aware that the person they’re coaching is engaging in illegal activity to damage the company, then they have to share that information. The same as in internal coach. So confidentiality is definitely there, but it can be supported by having a proper internal coaching contract the same as you would with an external coach or having a culture which supports coaching or having supervision structures for internal coaches, and by agreeing the areas which the internal coach can logistically cover in the areas which sit outside that. So having good boundary management helps address the confidentiality issues that certainly our client organizations and survey data. I do raise that as one of the con areas in relation to internal coaching and that’s one of the things I worry about. 34:10 Tom Floyd So its almost like you’re telling people upfront if you have in the coaching contract or coaching agreement or just in the overview when you’re explaining it as an internal coach, that anything you can tell me that’s in these areas is confidential and I won’t share. However, if its an ethical breach of conduct and things that involve legal risks that you share, something like that, if you say something that can damage the company, yourself or another person, I have to share that and here’s the process I must followg in doing that. 34:38 David Lane Yep, that’s right. 18 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 18 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 34:40 Bob Vavrina Just to chime in one more point on that as Josh can hear, often the internal coach is the head of talent management, organizational development who’s also facilitating talent review meetings. Right? So the question becomes about role. The one thing is about boundaries and what kinds of information we share. The other is about situations. So if I’m the head of talent development in a company and I’m supposed to say in the town review meeting and your name comes up and I’ve been coaching you, do I you know excuse myself and step out of the room? And just having that conversation in advance about your role. So am I your advocate or am I your coach? I think they’re different roles. And if you’re in the talent review seat, it’s hard to not also be an evaluator. And evaluator, advocate, coach, and they can also overlap, but they’re also all different. 35:29 Howard Pines This is Howard. I just went through one of them which was not about legality or anything, but it had to do with the type of person that the chairman was. And he was the type of person who would go down into the levels and ask questions. And he went to the head of the American Group and asked them about a person and he went around his group executives and asked this individual about a person and the President of the Americas reported to the group executive gave him a frank answer. And the CEO, who everybody you know doesn’t keep secrets, went right to the group executive. And so the coaching aspect of this, and this is sometimes where as David said, rules, and its also you have to understand the process of the company. What we said to the head of the Americas is “yes, you should have answered the President truthfully, but you should have gone back to the group executive and told him what happened.” So I guess in handling some of these areas, you not only have to have an understanding make the rules clear, but you also have to understand the process of how that company works. 36:38 Tom Floyd Bob, is this an issue that’s come up at all in your organization? 19 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 19 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 36:41 Bob Vavrina Sure, and there’s some debate of whether coaching should be called an emerging profession or not, but in my mind its an emerging profession and I think where you have emerging professions as opposed to the legal profession and the accounting profession, they’re going to be more gray areas just be definition because the rules aren’t clearly established. I think in order to have a positive coaching relationship, there has to be trust. And with trust there has to be a high degree of confidentiality. I think you hit the nail on the head. There are just certain things that are sacrosanct and the law is the law. And you’ve got to reveal certain things. On the other hand, I think I deal with an awful lot of data, I mean self reporting instruments that tell a lot about individuals. BeamPines/Middlesex uses sentence completion and values ranking, and there’s a lot of very personal information in there. I never reveal that to anyone back in doing my assessments other than the client. So I think there’s some things that can, you manage a way through it and it takes some agility. It takes wisdom. It takes maturity, but I think you can balance those things. You always have the question as to who’s the client? Is it the person being coached or is the company? And the company is fitting the bill, so there is an allegiance to the company, but I really haven’t run into a problem where I had to compromise either for the company, or for the employee, or for the person being coached. 38:24 Tom Floyd Coming back [crosstalk] to having the internal function, the internal coaching function, internally, Bob, the same question for you that I asked Howard at the beginning. If you had to turn to somebody in the C suite of another company, and had to make the business case for having an internal coaching function, what would you say? Why would you have this internally? What would you tell another executive, a senior vice president, a vice president or other member of the C level, in terms of “here are some business reasons why you should really consider having an internal coaching function and how it will really add value?” 20 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 20 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 38:57 Bob Vavrina Okay. Well I actually did some work around measurement that I used, I happened to believe first of all that there are fine lines among coaching, counseling and mentoring. And that situations dictate how much you use any particular area of skill or learning. And sometimes you counsel, sometimes you coach, sometimes you mentor. In looking at our various programs and support, we have, I believe in Friedman’s, Tom Friedman’s employability model how the world is flat, but you’ve got to have lifetime learning if you’re going to stay in business while being able to recruit people. And we look at coaching, we look at mentoring as support programs for career long learning and I did a study of, we had six years of longitudinal data for our mentoring group, mentors and mentorees, and again I consider this a shade of coaching. And we had over 200 people that had been either mentors or mentorees and I tagged our mentors and mentorees in the most recent center for, I’m sorry, the Corporate Leadership Counsel in Washington does an annual employee preferences survey. So out of our entire workforce, I tagged a number of different cohorts of people, one being our mentors and mentorees, and I compared the scores of our mentors and mentorees with our general population in the areas of commitment and engagement. And the Corporate Leadership Counsel has a lot of data around how commitment and engagement drives productivity in a positive way. And we found that our BlueCross mentors and mentorees scored higher than the company overall in those two categories. They scored above the employee preferences survey entire benchmark group and above even the great places to work companies that were in the survey. So in my mind, our people who participate in this program which again, I think is a first cousin to coaching, are more highly committed, are more highly engaged and therefore drive productivity, and I think that’s a solid argument. I had our internal actuaries look at these data and I had analysts from the Corporate Leadership Counsel look at these data and they confirmed the data which I had in my report. So I think its pretty, I mean that’s an ROI right there and one that I think would standup to a lot of scrutiny. 41:46 Tom Floyd Excellent. Yes, that is definitely strong. Well let’s go ahead and go on pause for our second break. Stay tuned everyone, more from Insight on Coaching and how to develop internal coaching programs when we return. 21 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 21 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 44:35 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching, I’m Tom Floyd. Today the topic is Internal Coaching and with me are Josh Ehrlich, David Lane, Howard Pines and Bob Vavrina. Well in this segment I’d like to focus on how companies are setting up internal coaching functions within their organizations. In other words, the steps that they’re taking, the issues that are coming up, the importance of key things to keep in mind when doing it, all the good stuff. Some more data to quickly set the stage: In the January 14th, 2003 issue of Human Resources magazine, contributor Lucie Carrington writes, “For most chief executives the idea of internal coaching is a relatively new experience. For it to work, the CEO has to be confident about the business competence of the HR director.” In the February 9th, 2006 issue of Training & Coaching Today, feature contributor Stephanie Sparrow writes, quot;Just introducing internal coaching doesn't automatically achieve a shift in performance if that's what organizations want.” She advises that would-be creators of an internal coaching culture look at their organization’s leaders' attitudes. Bob, I definitely want to start with you for this segment. Can you share a little bit about how BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina developed its internal coaching function? What were your first steps? 22 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 22 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 45:54 Bob Vavrina Well as I mentioned earlier, we started off a number of years ago using a local coach who came in and talked to some of our people and screened some people in to become coaches and trained those people. But we were using a single theory model so everyone then went out and they were all HR people by the way, went out and used this model in coaching. And I think maybe as many as half of them weren’t ever really comfortable with the model because it didn’t really reflect themselves and I think you know coaching is sort of a spontaneous process and to be doing something by the numbers just doesn’t work. So what we did was we began looking at other alternatives. We got involved with our top talent as part of our talent review and began using the Center for Creative Leadership and they have a coaching certification process. We’ve got some people looking at that. We use the local universities: Duke, North Carolina State, and UNC, who at one point or another have had a certificate programs and then we also have our lead person, we’ve now consolidated, pulled everything together, saw anyone who was an internal coach or any use of external coaches will run through this small group of people who are focused exclusively on the coaching process including internal, external and mentoring. And then this lead is just finishing up a years program at the Coach Training Institute and that’s a certificate program, and then her boss who reports to me is currently going through the BeamPines Middlesex Master’s and Executive Coaching program. This is the program that I went through as well. And having gone through the program, when I looked at this and said you know we weren’t really reaching out. We weren’t stretching. We weren’t getting a best practices by having our people look at different ways to affect coaching and I think now having it under one roof and having a number of different sources to draw on to make us stronger and better and continuously improve, we’re going to have a much better product and we have a way to measure it. 48:18 Tom Floyd And in terms of, well there’s so many points I want to ask there. One, it sounds like for your organization that the role of certification and credentials was definitely important? 48:36 Bob Vavrina Yes, yes. Correct. 23 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 23 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 48:39 Tom Floyd Josh, anything that you would add around that? 48:41 Josh Ehrlich Well yes, the point you made earlier Tom about the Wild West, it’s even more so for internal coaching with proprietary models as opposed to evidence based practice. The problem with proprietary models or single models as Bob was saying, is that no individual can get comfortable with them and they don’t apply to most situations. And so what we’re trying to do really with our Master’s program and with helping David, a group of international coaches, its really taking the feeling to another level in terms of the rigor and the evidence based practice that we’re trying to have a standard against. And that means that coaches who are trained internally and externally have exposure to a wide range of models and then pick their own purpose perspective and process from that, integrate those so that they can be clear about what they’re doing. It’s not haphazard, it’s not just spontaneous, but it’s from the bases of exposure to 100 years of] science research that we have, in terms of what works to help people grow. So that would be the principle thing, is you know as you said, we have one Master’s program in this country, one graduate level program. I think we’ll have more in the next couple of years, but right now it’s a lot of certificate programs, none of which are accredited by any particularly global body. Worldwide Association of Business Coaching is starting to do that. Right now we really have the ICF which is really more of an American body just trying to put out some standards. So we’re trying to bring the organization together, bring coaches together, and maybe David you can talk about some of the work you’re doing at the Global Convention in July to have that conversation at a global level? 24 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 24 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 50:32 David Lane I will speak up, Tom, on Tom’s point and Bob’s point, looking at a range of companies in our research data we use internal coaching and I’m including very large international bodies down to quite small bodies who’ve got coherent internal coaching functions, what you find is they take these variety of levels so they train their managers you know relatively short course but try to then have the people supervising all the internal coaches, train to at least certificate level and then have somebody above that who might be an external coach or they’re doing it internally, trained at Master’s level who can support the process. So they do rack up the credential depending on what the person is doing and the breadth of the role they’re playing in the organization. Clearly if an organization has got one or two internal coaches, then they’re unlikely to have people at Master’s level. They’re going to go for credential level, but they’ll then bring in an external person to support them. Whereas if you go to an organization with 50, 60, 70, 100 internal coaches, they’ll have people managing those who have definitely been credentialed up to a Master’s level and that coherent use of different levels of training, credentialing at different parts of the organization is definitely the way best practice is going. Now picking up Josh’s point, companies across the world are raising the questions that you’re raising, Tom, in this discussion. What is the field going to look like? And one of the ways that’s being addressed is in the Global Convention on Coaching which is a nonprofit effort with universities worldwide, coaching organizations worldwide, professional bodies worldwide, organizations worldwide coming together to share their experience and in a series of working parties where they can then report next July and try to debate the directions in which the field can go to become more coherent, more professionalized, assure standards. But certainly the culprits are paying good attention to coaching and aren’t really seeing it as a valuable business asset. They seem to want to ensure that people do reach certain standards that can be verified. 52:56 Josh Ehrlich Just to jump in, Josh again. The other place that you see this is the Conference Board. That’s a very well regarded coaching conference and in fact, Tom, that’s where we met a few years ago. 53:08 Tom Floyd Yes, exactly. 25 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 25 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 53:09 Josh Ehrlich I think the conference coming in January, David, is coming to New York and I’ll be speaking and Bob will actually be on the panel talking about global standards. So again, the Conference Board, wanting us to present and talk about this movement to raise the standard in coaching. And its not just external coaching, but internal coaching as well. How do you teach them how to learn as we were talking about before? How do you teach reflective learning, which is really a core philosophy we believe in, to get people to not just learn by doing, but learn by stepping back from the action and looking at that? How do they learn? How do they learn best? 53:48 Howard Pines Some very major corporations who have internal coaching programs are not giving their people time, and I know they wanted to go into something like the Master’s program or a certificate program, but for whatever reason, they don’t give their people time to actually get the training. And each time they think in the next six months its going to happen, that they’ll have the time, but always something else comes up, and so some companies that we work with never get to raise the level because they don’t give the internal coaches the time to go out and get the training. 54:27 Bob Vavrina This is Bob. I would sort of like to piggyback -- 54:30 Tom Floyd I hate to interrupt you. We’re unfortunately at the end of our show. Huge thank you to the four of you. I really appreciate it. And always a big thank you to our listeners as well. For more information about our show, don’t forget to checkout our website Also don’t forget you can download the podcast version of our show in Apple iTunes. Open up iTunes, click the iTunes store, click podcast and enter Insight on Coaching in the search field. Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next week. 26 | Confidential May 19, 2008 Page 26 Developing an Internal Coaching Program Transcript