When we talk to companies about the possibility of an effective, scalable and affordable coaching program for all managers, we see tremendous enthusiasm.  This is hardly surprising – at a time when people leaders are expected to be strategic and to deliver competitive advantage for their companies, the reality is that most managers are ineffective at best and downright damaging at worst, and that ineffective managers drive massive employee disengagement and lack of productivity, costing the United States $300 billion – $400 billion a year.  Even though companies spend $15 billion a year on management development – management development that is largely ineffective.

But unlike traditional coaching services that focus on one or a few employees only, our question for people leaders isn’t “what areas could a person grow” but rather “if you could change two things about your entire workforce by having a coach for every manager, what would those two things be?”

The answers, of course, look like broad themes of organizational effectiveness – “we’d like more accountability, better decision-making, better collaboration, more effective communication, more openness to diverse backgrounds and opinions” and so on.  In short, these people leaders are looking for ways to translate their strategic people vision into living, breathing, day-to-day action.

That’s a larger question than just coaching, of course – creating real growth in the workforce often requires policy or structure change, for example.  But policy or structure change is almost never enough by itself – those can remove roadblocks or nudge employees toward new ways of acting, but real change requires more.

What that “more” is can be tricky – it’s often new knowledge, frequently requires dealing with emotional challenges (such as fear of change) and always requires practice in real-world settings.  To provide a framework for identifying the “more” that each company needs, we use a model of growth that we developed that allows companies to identify where their management development programs fail.  By discussing each client’s needs in light of the model, we help clients see where different types of programs are needed to move their people strategy forward.

One of the main reasons that people strategy fails to translate to day-to-day behavior is that real behavior change requires practice, support (informational and emotional) and help.  Simply restructuring, changing roles or informing or training on the new way that the organization should act is important but it is almost never enough.  But the “in the weeds” support that is needed to move policy change to behavior change is well beyond most companies’ time and resources.  It is, however, a core goal of coaching.

But to be effective, this coaching needs to be broad-based – it must address many or all managers – and it must incorporate support and knowledge (training) for each step of the behavior change process.  A broad-based coaching/training program promises to be a critical missing link for HR leaders to translate their people vision into reality, the reality that allows them to fulfill the promise of delivering a better, more effective workforce that drives real competitive advantage for their companies and meaningful ROI on their management development programs.


CareerWave is a technology-supported management development and inclusiveness service that blends coaching, training and organizational growth tools to transform the industry with highly effective coaching that is effective, scalable and affordable. We offer an out-of-the-box coaching solution using human coaches to work with your employees, all at 80% less cost than traditional coaches. To learn more about our services, contact us at info@careerwave.me or visit us at careerwave.me.