Coaching Inside Firms Creates Top-Scoring Workers

07/10/2015 12:56 PM ET

A good coach can raise anyone’s game. How business experts give executives a professional boost:

Gain an edge. Coasting at work stalls careers and makes staffers feel stale. “You lose touch with what’s important to you,” said Renee Robertson, author of “The Coaching Solution.”

Run drills. Coaches don’t tell you what to do, or make sure you do it. They might instead ask: What’s a better way to handle this proposal? What skills are you leaving untapped at work? How can you make a bigger impact?

“It creates a space for strategic thinking,” Robertson said. “You’re engaged at a whole different level.”

The exercise sparks executives to think outside their boxes and raise their professional games.

“There’s such good that comes out of coaching inside an organization,” Robertson said.

Expand rosters. Executive coaching is sometimes reserved for the C-suite, but it shouldn’t be. “I love to see coaching in the bench strength of the organization,” Robertson said. Companies gain happier, more engaged employees. “Who doesn’t want to feel supported? It’s about retention of talent.”

Build winning teams. Research backs up coaching’s return on investment. A study of Fortune 100 executives by Manchester Consulting Group found the practice resulted in 67% enhanced teamwork and a 61% boost in job satisfaction.

Gather around. Two years ago, Invoca founder and Chairman Jason Spievak began leading “Millionaires in the Making” sessions for employees of the call marketing company.

The monthly talks cover “the things I wish somebody had told me when I was in my 20s and 30s — if I’d been smart enough to listen,” he said.

During casual meetings in the company’s pub, he explains topics like how to buy insurance, cars and homes — and brings in experts to clarify other financial topics.

The point isn’t literally to turn staffers into millionaires, but to help them master the money side of professional life. “We want to make sure they are taking the right next steps as CEOs of their own careers,” Spievak told IBD.

Strengthen weak muscles. “One of the most eye-opening conversations was helping a roomful of very smart people understand compound interest,” Spievak said.

Some were surprised at credit’s bottom-line cost. Another knowledge gap was revealed during a retirement savings talk. “We had a group of upwardly mobile young professionals who couldn’t tell the difference between a stock and a bond,” Spievak said.

To make schooling them fun, “we launched the Invoca fantasy stock league,” he said.

Practice makes perfect. A session on negotiation strategy resulted in multiple requests for raises and internal job changes, which was fine with Spievak. He wants his team members to feel their careers are advancing at Invoca.

“Our people are very hard to take away as a result,” Spievak said. “It results in bottom-line impact.”