CIO Development

Blog Coaching IT Executives – Why does it work?

While not for everyone, coaching really does work wonders for the individual who is ready to power ahead and further their career. In the world of off-the-shelf training, coaching is the handmade, Saville Row suit.

A coachee can bring their concerns, situations, dilemmas and problems to their coach without fear of being judged. They can broach subjects that are sometimes difficult to discuss with anyone but their coach. They can take the long view, examine themselves with the help of an objective, skilled outsider. The coach may offer experienced, invaluable comments that perhaps enable the coachee to decide something vital. It is personal, discreet and can make all the difference.

Case studies of two coachees, in their own voices, might help us understand the impact:

#1 IT Director Latin America, FMCG.

Where were you in your career/ life before being coached?

I was in a phase in my career where I knew I needed to make a job change to get myself and family back home to Australia from Brazil. I didn’t have any idea of what the IT market looked like there because I’d been in the same company for 16 years and so was facing the challenge of understanding how to get a job in a country that was on the other side of the world.

How would you describe your journey as a coachee?

Fantastic. I started to get results early on and it evolved with time. The first piece was very focused on understanding the industry and the market and understanding the search for my next role: but once I had that side under control I was able to move to leadership coaching which is very useful for my current role and also helps me set myself up for my next one.

What are the benefits of coaching?

It is a very tangible reflection of investment from the organisation and individually in your performance. I think the results are better performance for the company and yourself in the same way as you’d expect a sport player to improve with coaching.

We incorporate operating models into the coaching and the coach makes sure those learnings are factored into the real life goals that I’m working on. It’s very customer orientated: the work we do is on what is important to me, not the coach.

#2 Global Programme Director, Multi-International Logistics Company

Where were you in your career/ life before being coached?

I’d been nominated for the role of Programme Director for the global roll-out of a company-wide ERP transformation programme. It would have involved me in having direct and regular access to C level execs on a project the size of which I’d never actually managed before.

How would you describe your journey as a coachee?

From my perspective there’s been a number of challenges I’ve set myself and it’s basically been a step-by-step process of understanding the questions I need to ask myself to overcome them.

What are the benefits of coaching?

I have now got the Programme Director role, and in the midst of delivering the programme. I have regular access to C level executives in my organisation, and other organisations.

My natural response to challenge is to always try and structure things and come up with an answer, but in some respects, doing that, you always come up with the same answer. Taking a different approach was what my coach did for me, which enabled me to come up with something much more creative.

The whole step-by-step journey got me to the level of confidence I needed.

How might coaching help you or some of the key individuals in your team? The best business coaching has dramatic effects on the performance of individuals and organisational success. As is evidenced by the case studies, perhaps the most effective offering is for coachees to combine an element of skills and career development in their coaching. In essence, as they move forward in their expertise and therefore prospects, they can discuss their career development and see where their new insights might take them.

The authors

Peter Thornton (Director of Academy Programmes), Brinley Platts (Chairman) and James Caplin (Head of Coaching).