Developing an internal leadership pipeline is crucial for filling gaps, scaling, and ensuring that new leaders will meet the needs of your organization. This is especially important for coaching roles, where candidates need more than just leadership ability, they need a high level of emotional intelligence, adaptability, and a willingness to teach and learn on a one-on-one basis, rather than simply guiding their team or branch.
Here, you can choose to select new leaders internally or externally, but internal development will give you more control over the skills, behaviors, and competencies of the individual in your environment.
Creating a Success Profile
Assessing competencies and performance in coaching roles will enable you to develop success profiles for those roles, so that you have a picture of what good work looks like in that role. Here, you should work with external assessment centers, who can merge their own external research with internal surveys to determine which behaviors and characteristics are needed in your specific roles, and for coaching.
You should look for factors such as:
- Willingness to learn
- Communicative and outgoing
- Adaptable and creative
- Able to build rapport and trust
- Able to communicate ideas well
- Good at their role and able to learn
Creating performance models in this way allows you to identify which traits or behaviors are trainable, which are more difficult to train, and allows you to assess how existing employees align with those models.
Look for Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence or EQ is important in any leader, but more so in a coach. Your coach has to recognize the emotions and emotional reactions of the people beneath her, learn to recognize when others are struggling, and figure out how to encourage them to solve their own problems. This requires a great deal of emotional intelligence.
If you’re developing internally, you can select candidates who show other desirable traits such as EQ and leadership skill and work to develop both.
Choose Individuals with Good Time and Priority Management
If someone meets all of the points in your performance model but time and priority management, they likely won’t be a good candidate. While you can train both aspects in, an individual in a coaching role needs to be able to manage time and priorities so that they make time for coaching. Even if they are largely coaching new hires, they have to see it as much a part of their job as day-to-day work.
Once you’ve chosen internal candidates, you can begin to prepare them for their future role as a coach with direct training, by broadening their experiences outside of their specific role, and by exposing them to other coaches. Clearly communicating expectations, what good coaching looks like, and performance guidelines for the role is also important, especially once new leaders are moved into their coaching roles.
Ability to Switch Priorities
One of the most important aspects of choosing a leader for promotion is to ensure they can adapt to new responsibilities. In technical roles, individuals are responsible for completing work. When they become a leader, they are responsible for helping others to complete work. Making this massive switch in mindset requires significant adaptability, meaning that not everyone can make the shift.
Coaches add value to organizations in dozens of ways, by encouraging key people, by building skill sets, and by helping people to solve their own problems and manage their own growth. This applies both when you are building coaches as a role inside your organization and implementing coaching as a responsibility of leadership. Choosing leaders who already have what it takes to be good coaches will help you in this goal.