From its early roots in the 1950s when coaching was conceived as a master-apprentice developmental relationship, to the 1970s when concepts from sports coaching became integrated into human resource development, coaching has been considered a core component of the human resource professional program. However the recent pluralist nature of emerging coaching practice means that coaching is now being delivered by coaches who work in the organisation as either line managers or human resource professionals, or by professional coaches / consultants brought in from the outside.

Various types of coaching have been recorded in the literature including: “personal coaching, buddy coaching, peer coaching, executive coaching, board coaching, business coaching and performance coaching”.  However the most common forms of coaching used in organisations include: individual and team coaching conducted by internal or external coaches to improve performance, personal development and / or manage careers: executive coaching conducted within senior executive teams: and managerial or leadership coaching conducted at various levels of an organisation according to need, talent or role. Group coaching may also be conducted within project teams formed for a certain purpose to achieve specified targets in a pre-determined period of time. However group coaching is different from dyadic coaching in that, in addition to the interpersonal skills required of an internal or external coach in a dyadic coaching relationship, group coaches also require an understanding group dynamics and utilise group facilitation skills, and at times negotiation and conflict resolution skills, to achieve the desired ends.

Coaching conducted in European and North American organisations is typically delivered by executive coaches to members of the senior executive team. However an increasing number of organisations are training and developing internal coaches to support ongoing leadership development of managers and leaders, and ensure a succession pipeline. On the international scene, coaching is viewed as a means of enhancing the performance of all employees as they progress and grow towards their peak performance.

A recent ICF Report (2014) recommends using all categories of coaches (external, internal, and managers and leaders trained as coaches) as appropriate to the situation and organisational level. They report that internal coaches are particularly effective with entry and mid-level employees, and that coaching should be offered to individuals of all ages and experience levels. Coaching should be delivered daily by managers and leaders as coaches of their direct reports; designated internal coaches and external coaches/consultants should coach daily, weekly or monthly as the situation requires. Roles should be clearly defined, as well as expectations and outcomes clarified and, in relation to internal and external coaches, formal contracts should be put in place to cement the commitment to coaching.

What is your organisation’s commitment to coaching? Are your managers and leaders trained by a professional coach training school, or are they just left to “carry-on” as best they can with limited knowledge and skills?