How to Create An Internal Coaching Program At Your Workplace (And Why You Should)

Revolutionize the workplace by replacing managers with coaches for increased productivity and employee engagement.

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Creating an Internal Coaching Program At Work

Imagine a workplace where command-and-control managers are replaced with coaches, who use their talents to empower employees and pave the way for increased productivity and employee engagement. This might sound like a distant dream for many, but for some companies, it’s already a reality.

Time Etc., a prominent Fortune 500 company, took a leap of faith and replaced all managers with coaches. This revolutionary approach had a clear goal: to ensure employees were as productive as possible. By offering close mentoring, continuous feedback, and consistent encouragement, these coaches worked with employees to help them find their best way to get work done, while also ensuring they received the necessary training and development.

Unlike traditional managers, these coaches didn’t tell people what to do or come from a punitive place. Instead, they championed an empowering approach, helping employees navigate challenges independently. 

The result? Time Etc. saw a 20% spike in productivity and top-tier engagement ratings in Gallup's Q12 Survey.

While coaching demands a skill set distinct (but not divorced) from traditional management, with patience and training, the payoffs in terms of employee engagement and productivity are significant.

The modern workplace is in crisis, and the facts point to a need for the tools of coaching.

Things have been grim in the workplace landscape and don’t seem to be improving, either.

These issues are significant, and require a new approach to the same old problems. But, coaching isn't just a buzzword or the latest trend – it embodies skills that directly counteract prevalent workplace issues. By aligning with the Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing, coaching can play a pivotal role in reshaping the work environment.

Take a look at the Surgeon General’s framework below – what opportunities can you thnk of for each main focus?

More Resources: 

Thriving at Work: What Coaches Need to Know About the 5 Pillars of Workplace Wellness

What is internal coaching?

Internal coaching within a company involves managers or other internal staff coaching their colleagues or direct reports with the goal of improving performance, developing skills, and encouraging personal growth. Internal coaching can improve results, while strengthening internal talent and aligning with the goals of the organizaiton at large.

What are the different kinds of internal coaching programs? 

There’s no “one size fits all” approach in coaching – the customization is what makes it so effective. Since this is an emerging field, there’s an opportunity to shape the future of internal coaching programs by creating programs that deeply serve the needs of each individual company. There are multiple types of  internal coaching models that companies can consider:


  • Similar to Time Etc.'s approach, managers guide employees towards better productivity and personal development.

Dual-role managers: 

  • In this model there are two folks in the “manager” position, one who knows how to do the job and can support professional and technical efficacy and the other who is focused on wellbeing and the employee’s professional growth path

Life/wellbeing coaches: 

  • In health systems like hospitals where the care providers themselves are in need of support
  • Zappos is one of our favorite examples of this – offering a coach for every employee.

Niche coaching: Specialized coaching for unique job functions like sales or methodologies like Agile

  • Agile methodology is a project management approach that involves breaking the project into phases and emphasizes continuous collaboration and improvement. Teams follow a cycle of planning, executing, and evaluating. Some of our graduates are coaches who specialize in just helping their teams embrace this way of working.

Getting stakeholder buy-in is essential for success

Creating an effective internal coaching program requires stakeholder buy-in. It’s important to make your case using success stories like Time Etc. are essential to underscore the value of a coaching program. You’ll also want to highlight the tangible outcomes of coaching including the impact it can have on not just the bottom line, but on the durable skills that employers are always seeking.

Many coaching skills are the same as the “soft” or “durable” skills that are in high demand:

  • Growth Mindset: Adaptability and a forward-focused attitude.
  • Empathy: Genuine understanding and compassion.
  • Self-Awareness: Recognizing personal strengths and areas for growth.
  • Collaboration: Promoting unity and a collective approach.
  • Powerful Questioning: Challenging and expanding thought processes.
  • Goal Setting: Crafting and adhering to effective coaching plans.
  • Leadership: Guiding and taking responsibility for progress and accountability.
  • Communication: Effective and positive dialogues with employees.
  • Critical Thinking: Analyzing, reassessing, and offering optimal solutions.

More Resources: 

What are Durable Skills vs. Perishable Skills for Life Coaches?

Internal Coaching: Employment Opportunities for Coaches Within Businesses and Organizations

Interested in internal coaching?

People enroll in Lumia's coach training program for a variety of reasons. Some come with the clear intention to build a career in life coaching. Are you looking to redefine the way your company operates and introduce a coaching program? Lumia Coaching can help you bring that dream to life, offering transformative coach training as an employee benefit. If you'd like to learn more, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training

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