Coaching increasingly used to build female pipeline, says CRF

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Coaching is being increasingly used to help organisations build their pipelines of female talent, according to Corporate Research Forum research director Gillian Pillans.

Pillans was speaking at HR Most Influential partner Ceridian’s annual conference in London. She said the fact diversity has risen up the agenda in many organisations means coaching is increasingly being used.

She said it was being used as a method not only to help promote female leaders but also to assist women returning from maternity leave, “to easily enable female employees back into the workplace”.

CRF research on coaching from last year found 56% of organisations said their coaching spend had increased or significantly increased in the past three years. A further 57% predicted an increase or significant increase in coaching spend over the next three years.

It also found coaching was most commonly being used to help transition employees into more senior roles, with 68% of those surveyed saying this is how they used coaching in their organisations. The second most common reason for coaching was employee or line manager request (67%).

However, despite the rise of coaching Pillans said the method has its critics. She said: “Coaching can be used as an excuse for a manager not to tackle a performance or people issue. Executives are incredibly busy and don't always have time to sit down and spend large amounts of time helping their people, so there’s a concern that the coaching is just a substitute for what duties should be undertaken by the line manager.”

She said that in order to use coaching successfully, organisations should establish goals, focus on selecting and managing suitable coaches, and review and evaluate effectiveness.

Pillans added: “It’s very hard to measure the effects of coaching, but it is doable. [It is important to] understand the outcomes of coaching that may or may not be financial.”

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