I was reviewing the feedback I received on my recently posted blog entitled, “What is Organization Development, again?” when I came across a compelling question, and one I think deserves our attention. It was from a friend who asked, “Interesting. Just how does coaching fit into your definition of OD?” The short answer to the question is, “It fits everywhere.”
Coaching Comes in Various “Shapes & Sizes”
To understand this better, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of the most common types of coaching and their purposes in organizations.
Executive coaching is a collaborative process between a coach and a leader which works to assess and understand the leader’s strengths, personality, and preferences. Together they explore how the leader’s behaviors and beliefs influence personal and professional relationships and the potential to learn and grow in order to realize goals. This is generally sponsored by an organization as an opportunity to provide customized development for experienced and potential leaders.
Team coaching explores the collective strengths and behaviors of a team or group in order to leverage each member’s potential, thus realizing the possibilities of the team as a whole. A coach works with the team to develop more effective ways of supporting and leverage each other’s strengths to ensure development of better products, decisions, and ideas.
Peer coaching is the development of a culture of coaching that includes growing the coaching skills of all in order to support and realize the potential of each person as a valued contributor. It is learning from experienced, creative colleagues while sharing our own insights to encourage each other’s growth and development. It is living the old adage, “The rising tide lifts all boats.” Everyone wins.
Mentoring may be formal or informal. Mentoring is similar to peer coaching in that it includes internal connections that provide positive insights and observations. It is different in that the insights are usually from leaders who are typically not a direct boss or manager of the mentee. A formal program is usually managed by HR and includes a well-documented process and milestones. An informal program encourages individuals to connect with leaders and request insights on their specific needs and the business climate/environment of the organization.
So, How Does Coaching Fit into Organization Development?
Organization Development involves facilitation of strategy, systems/structure, culture, and process. It is an enterprise-wide function that works with all areas to help meet potential through collaboration, alignment, and innovation, resulting in improved health and wellbeing of the enterprise. As such, it depends on capable leadership to effectively guide individuals and teams and drive results — this is where coaching fits. Organization Development (OD) improves organization effectiveness, and it is essential that leaders have the skills and competencies to carry out new strategies required to meet evolving needs of employees and those they serve.
Coaching + OD = Equipped Organizations
Coaching, such as the four types I listed above, moves beyond training and development programs to provide customized support and growth. When OD results in organization change, which it generally does, coaching helps leaders understand and embrace their evolving roles quickly. It helps them leverage their strengths to clearly lead and empower others to adapt to change, as well. This results in organizations equipped to “hit the ground running” with new strategies and positive culture change that sustains organizations into the future.
In short, coaching fits just about everywhere in OD. What do you think?