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Coaching and Personality Assessments

Talent Management Research

A recent study (WorkTrends® 2010) by Kenexa, Inc. found that companies who have a strong Talent Management Culture are significantly (by a factor of about three) more likely to have higher diluted earnings than those with a low Talent Management culture.

Characteristics of a High Talent Management Culture

Kenexa defines a high Talent Management Culture as an organization where employees will answer positively when asked the following questions: My job makes good use of my skills/abilities; I receive the necessary training; I receive regular performance appraisal; I am recognized for the work I do; I have opportunities to improve my skills; I have opportunities to develop new skills; I have career development opportunities; I am paid fairly for my work; and finally, My organization conducts employee surveys.

Importance of Management Development

Managers are the crucial link between employees and the organization. Past studies have shown that an employee who perceives his relationship with his supervisor as good is more likely to stay in the organization, regardless of other mitigating factors. Many of the attributes of a high Talent Management Culture listed above must be delivered by managers. Managers are the people who are closest to the employees on a daily basis. They are the people who ensure that an employee makes good use of his/her skills and abilities. Managers help employees to identify the training they need to improve their skills, and make sure they receive it. Managers provide regular performance appraisals and feedback, and managers recognize employees for their work. It is managers who ensure that employees have career development opportunities, and are paid fairly for their work. And managers have the power to encourage the organization to conduct employee surveys. Managers accomplish these tasks with widely varying levels of success.


Increasingly since the late 1990’s, companies of all sizes are utilizing the services of management and executive coaches to provide help managers to develop the skills they need to maintain a high Talent Management culture. We partner with our clients to provide the coaching that consistently gets results. Our Coaches and Consultants have held management positions themselves. Many have served at the C-level and some have served at the CEO level in organizations. They can quickly establish rapport and trust because they have walked in the shoes of the managers that they coach. They speak their language and understand their objectives and concerns. For over ten years, they each have been coaching managers and executives of Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profits, government entities, and entrepreneurial firms.

Types of Coaching Engagements

Management and Leadership Coaching

is focused on helping an employee increase his or her management and leadership skills. It incorporates Action Learning, as the employee is engaging in his or her normal work, and the coach assists him or her to learn new management skills, navigate new terrain, and become a more inspiring and impactful leader.

Transition Coaching

is used more and more frequently to help executives accelerate the ROI of a person when they accept a new role, as a result of, for example, on-boarding, promotion, a turn in the Leadership Pipeline, or a lateral move. The goal is to accelerate their effectiveness in the new position, and, equally important, to help the executive to avoid making costly mistakes that are very difficult to undo or live down. First impressions are lasting.

High-Potential and Emerging Leader Coaching

is used to accelerate the growth of high-potential employees or emerging leaders. Often these people have been identified as part of a Talent Management program to have the potential to move up in the organization, and even to the C-level. These are the people who can easily leave an organization, and are being recruited by other firms, especially in these times of a new “war on talent.” Combined with a good relationship with their manager, providing opportunities and investing in these employees to improve their skills, especially their management and leadership skills, support the retention of these valuable assets.

Cohort or Team Coaching

is a way to cost-effectively achieve development objectives concurrently at the individual, team and cross-functional levels. A team of emerging leaders is formed. Each team member has an external coach and an internal mentor (ideally their manager’s manager). The team also has an internal executive sponsor. The team usually meets monthly for six to nine months. The group identifies an Action Learning project that has significance for the organization. Each team member has an individual professional development plan that their coach and their mentor support him or her in achieving. The external coach also provides customized training and facilitation to the team, based on needs which everyone collaborates to identify. If the team is cross-functional, the organization also benefits by having everyone better understand the work of the other functions, and also build strong personal relationships cross-functionally.

Process of a Coaching Engagement

First, we work closely with you to identify the right coach for your employee. During the first coaching meeting (by phone or in person), the coach and the employee discuss his/her current reality, strengths, objectives and any presenting issues. They build rapport and trust, and affirm that the fit is right between them. Following that, the coach helps the executive to have a full and accurate picture of his or her current reality – current performance, issues, objectives, career goals, strengths and development needs, etc. The coach helps the employee to gather this critical data in various ways, which may include some or all of these: (1) confidential interviews of people who work with the employee (peers, bosses, former bosses, current and past direct reports, clients, etc.; (2) administering a 360 assessment, such as the Denison® Leadership Survey; and (3) administering a personality assessment, such as the Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator, or the Human Patterns®, as appropriate; and the coach’s observation.

The coach summarizes the collected data, retaining anonymity as needed. Then the client and the coach review the collected data. After digesting the data, they collaboratively develop goals for the coaching and codify them in a Professional Development Plan (PDP). If appropriate, the PDP is reviewed and approved by the employee’s manager, and reviewed with the Human Resources or Talent Management representative. Ongoing coaching sessions are conducted in person and by phone and e-mail, and include formal coaching time, as well as informal coaching discussions and feedback. Some of the best coaching occurs when the client feels the need to talk, to think things through with their coach, to get clarity about something, or needs support for some activity, like an imminent meeting or presentation.

Length of Coaching Engagements

Our initial coaching engagements are normally for a period of six months. Sometimes they are extended for 12 months or more. We work with you to decide the appropriate time span of each engagement, and to decide whether an engagement should be extended. Usually the first 4 to 6 weeks of a coaching engagement are spent gaining a clear and accurate picture of the current reality, goals, strengths and development needs, then writing the Professional Development Plan (PDP) and Coaching Action Plan to achieve the goals of the PDP. So coaching engagements are front-end loaded in terms of the coach’s time investment.

The greatest indicator of success in a coaching engagement is the burning desire of the client to develop and set clear goals.

Some Assessments We Utilize

All personal growth and change begins with self-awareness. We use assessments to provide a solid foundation of self-awareness or the current reality. From there, clients can affirm their strengths, and determine goals for growth and self-improvement. When a new assessment comes on the market, if it is appropriate to our clients’ needs, we add it to our toolbox. If the client has an internal 360 assessment, of course we review those reports.

These are some of the self-report and 360 degree assessments we utilize: