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Which team members should I offer coaching to on a limited budget?

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

One of the questions we get asked frequently is how to prioritise within L and D budgets.

Does it make more sense to invest in high potential high performers or those who are struggling with greater development needs.

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this. It is a nuanced question, it’s difficult to make a clear judgement on the best course of action.

Of course, both groups can benefit. However we start to look at team priorities and how they align to overall business strategy and goals we can gain insight as to the individuals who have the greatest material contribution to make to deliver the agreed objectives.

Of course the PDP is a great place to start as we explore gaps.

Let us imagine for a moment we have an individual we will call her Jane.

Jane is a dedicated and hard-working member of the team however, sometimes she rubs people up the wrong way. She tends to think she is right. She doesn’t tend to listen. People in the team are sometimes intimidated by her.

Hopefully PDP plans, go into enough detail to pick out this type of growth opportunity. In this case, people are often unaware of the imapact of their behaviour. This type of issue can actually be quite a quick fix.

Perhaps Jane just need some tactics some self/awareness and some practise. In this scenario, whilst Jane is on the whole, a very capable member of the team, a limited investment across two or three coaching sessions could make a massive difference. Not only to Jane, but also for her colleagues and the culture and feel of the daily working experience for all.

Now, let’s look at Derek, he’s been in the business a long time and he has his ways. He knows the business incredibly well. Yet is not keen on change, there is such a wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding from this member of the team.

When it comes to new initiatives and changes of ways that we work, new processes, market challenges that need responding to… he struggles. The newer less experienced members of the team seem to cope better with this. Derek needs support. He needs to get excited about the opportunities that these changes offer him and the business.

Let’s take another example James has been struggling for sometime, his heart doesn’t appear to be in it. His timekeeping is poor, delivery is frequently just satisfactory, rather than great, and there doesn’t seem to be much energy being brought into the role.

James hasn’t been put on performance improvement plan yet, but he’s not far from it.

In practice performance improvement plans are quite demotivating things. They are much more stick than carrot.

At Transform, we are big advocates of integral motivation coming from sense of competency autonomy and belonging. I would much sooner recommend coaching to explore helping James to find his motivation, team, spirit, and sense of belonging, by working as a sounding board. In this case coaching would offer a more personal, less officious solution than a PIP.

So if you had to choose who to give six sessions with an investment of £1200-1600 what would you do?

Personally in this scenario, I’d recommend three sessions each to two of the three.

What does your gut tell you in respect of who to select initially?

Can you see how well it’s working for the individuals and then extend if you can justify it?

Another big part of this is, what to say to the members of the team that are not being offered Coaching! Are they going to feel left out and underinvested in?

Perhaps you can expiress the confidence you in them, and why they do not need the coaching right now. Maybe you can make a commitment that their opportunity will arrive in due course.

One thing is for sure offering a full team training day of some sort for all staff can be quite cost-effective. It can give the team chance to look at an area such as communication skills, or teamwork in the context of their roles and objectives.

Spending time together alone can be incredibly powerful. It can really increase trust and openness within the group. You can effectively use a session like this to train up to 20 people at one time.

It shouldn’t be costed per capita. The range of costs should normally sits between £2500-£3500 and you can manage the investment level by doing it in an internal room.

If you have 20 people in a team it’s just going to be an investment of around £150 p/p to offer all a powerful session. Maybe you can only justify this session and there is not available budget for any 121s at this stage. It’s likely that the session will uncover specific development aims that might be able to be worked on internally.


choosing who to offer coaching

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