How to manage talent through internal coaching

Michael Solender, Contributing Writer

Renee Robertson, founder and CEO of New Jersey-based Trilogy Development, a talent management firm.

Savvy businesswomen and entrepreneurs recognize that talent management and professional development are investments in their business that can pay large dividends.

“Many women in business feel like they need to do it all,” said Renee Robertson, founder and CEO of New Jersey-based Trilogy Development, a talent management firm. “Women have a tendency to short change themselves, failing to recognize how being their best contributes to their personal brand.”

Prior to starting her own firm, Robertson was director of talent development for Verizon, where she designed and implemented internal coaching programs engaging more than 600 leaders across all functional areas of the company. Her work garnered her two International Coach Federation’s prestigious Prism Awards, making her one of only 19 winners globally.

She believes a proactive approach to talent management, including appropriate coaching, can benefit small businesses as well as large enterprises.

“Working with someone who offers a candid perspective and can act as a sounding board for your ideas offers balance and counterpoint,” said Robertson. “In a large organization, there are internal coaches available to leaders. In smaller organizations, women may choose peers or colleagues in similar industries, outside coaches, or trusted advisors.”

Talent management programs at larger organizations often involve succession planning, needs assessment, skill development, training, experience acquisition, and coaching from mentors, peers or external professionals.

“Managing and developing talent is an important part of any size business,” said Robertson. “A single-preneur or small-business owner investing in becoming a more effective leader develops the power of attraction. As you become stronger, more confident and competent, you attract these characteristics in your employees, business associates, and even customers.”

Leaders face similar challenges

Robertson noted that she finds similar challenges facing all leaders with whom she works. Often development programs she puts together for clients involve addressing such issues as taking time to plan and pacing work efforts.

“We’re all taxed for time,” said Robertson. “With more demands on our time than ever, 24/7 availability and responsiveness, we often don’t take the time to plan and reflectively strategize.”

Robertson said thoughtfully reflecting on your vision and mission and how to best execute against these requires quiet, dedicated time and space away from the constant demands and firefighting of the work day.

“One client I worked with was experiencing a major transition after losing her executive job,” said Robertson. “Her approach was to immediately begin executing on next steps, putting her resume in order, reaching out to her network, and launching directly into job-hunt phase. I suggested she take a break and pause, reflecting on what it was she loved about her role and what she was truly passionate about. This allowed her time to rethink and plan more thoughtfully about what the next right role would look like for her.”

Recognizing when you’re most productive time is and knowing when you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns is another common challenge she sees many leaders struggle with.

“Know when you’re done,” said Robertson, “It doesn’t serve you well if you are not effectively managing your energy. Play to your strengths and schedule the most challenging work for when you are at your best.”