By Lumia Coaching instructor Karyn Edwards
Karyn has over 25 years of corporate experience in a variety of capacities including organization development, talent management, team building, learning, diagnostics, facilitation, and skill development training. Karyn earned her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2017 with her dissertation focusing on the role of leadership and employee engagement. Karyn earned her Professional and Executive Coaching Certificate from UT Dallas in 2021. You can learn more about her work at www.abloomcoaching.com.
Want a steady paycheck and still want to be a coach?
You can! Internal coaches are part of many organizations and it’s a great way to use your skills to help employees who are working in organizations big and small.
Let’s start with a definition. An internal coach is someone within an organization who works for the company in which they are coaching. They coach the internal employees to that organization.
Within companies, there are both formal and informal coaches. Formal coaches have attended specific training for coaching professionals and executives and have a credential from the ICF or other coach certifying organization.
In an internal role, a formal coach may not be 100% dedicated to coaching, they may have other responsibilities in addition to being a coach. In some organizations, leaders, human resources professionals, and other employees with specific technical expertise (such as Agile Methodology) are sometimes also called coaches.
I was informally a coach for many years based on the role I had in Learning and Development. I recently completed my formal certification and started working to establish an internal coaching approach for my organization that includes education for HR, and leadership programs at the higher levels in organizations including coaching. This year, my work is expanding to the manager and emerging leadership programs too.
Many organizations are looking at the concepts of coaching as a way to address the needs of a post-pandemic workforce.
The last few years have created a lot of disruption in how we work, where we work, and how safe we feel around other people. The sudden necessity of working from home brought with it an unprecedented blurring of boundaries. Leaders have been brought right into people’s homes, they have more medical knowledge about their team members, their team members’ families, and mental as well as physical well-being is a new frontier in many corporate cultures.
Leaders often are put in their roles due to their technical expertise, and may have some natural aptitude for having conversations. Coaching is a much different type of conversation; one where the coach is the guide and not the driver of the discussion. For many leaders who are used to solving problems and are in a position of power as well, this is not a muscle that has been built.
Enter a rise in internal coaching programs in organizations, both to support leaders and to coach individual employees.
External coaches play a role in this strategy too. One of the watchouts in being an internal coach is that the coach is part of the fabric of the organization. Without clarity on confidentiality and the true agreements of coaching per the ICF ethical guidelines, employees can feel a little unsafe if the role of the internal coach is not clear. What will be shared - and with who - is a common question, and speaks to the importance of confidentiality.
Internal coaches must establish, educate around, and protect confidentiality per the ICF guidance. It is important that internal coaches create structure around the coaching process, and measure results.
Internal coaches also need to consider when to contract with an external coach. Having a roster of coaches that they recommend based on level, experience, or subject expertise with, or using a coach sourcing firm to meet the organizational needs, sets up a comprehensive approach.
In my own experience, there are many great benefits to internal coaching. You know the people and the culture and can establish rapport very quickly.
The corporate world needs more coaching as a method for reframing development. In the past, development was looking at a deficit and trying to “modify” or “fix.” We all have things we can strengthen. Shifting the focus of leadership to looking at employees as whole and capable, and helping them get where they want to go is the way of the future.
Businesses also need to see the value of their investment. So what makes coaching a good ROI? High engagement leads to higher retention, discretionary effort, productivity, and being a sought-after employer. It’s good for business!
If you’re interested in developing a coaching skillset that you can apply in an organization, consider exploring these resources:
- The RISE of Coaching in the Workplace
- How to Ask Your Company to Pay for Life Coach Training
- 6 Coaching Techniques You Can Use At Work
- How To Build A Coaching Culture At Work
Want a list of potential employers who frequently hire trained coaches? Check out our resource guide Careers in Life Coaching: Exploring Options & Opportunities.
Ready to Get 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. But not all plan to “go pro”. Many of our students seek to apply coaching skills to roles they may already be playing - as business owners, managers, advisors, human resource specialists, therapists, personal trainers and career mentors. Sound like you? If you'd like to learn more, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training!