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Coaching Successes In Corporate America Part 2 Transcript

On this show, Tom facilitates conversations with leaders who have successfully implemented coaching programs as part of corporate talent management strategies.


* Guenet Beshah, VP Executive Coaching, Capital One

* Allan Polak, Principal, ALP Consulting

* Steve Dwyer, Sr. VP Leadership Development, Alltel Corp.


According to a recent survey, executive coaching is listed as one of the top 5 most prevalent learning methods within an organization, with 55% of corporations utilizing external executive coaching as a learning methodology.

The executives on the show provide first-hand knowledge and
proven strategies to identify potential champions, use coaching to improve performance, and create a holistic coaching approach to grow and develop employees.

Fortune 1000 leaders on the show discuss a wide range of personal experiences, from persuading stakeholders on the value of having a coaching program to avoiding perceptions of coaching as a “fix it” solution.

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Coaching Successes In Corporate America Part 2 Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript Prepared for: Prepared by: IEC: Insight Ubiqus Reporting Educational Consulting
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:24 Tom Floyd Hello everyone and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors, and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I'm Tom Floyd, the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting, and your host for today’s show. Well, today’s show focuses on the successes Fortune 1000 companies are experiencing implementing Coaching Programs within their organizations. For those of you who have been with us for a while now, this is a follow up to a show we did last season, gosh, I think it was in fall, where we had Intel and Unilever on our show, experiencing some of the successes that they’ve had rolling out of the coaching program, and this show is a follow-up to that, and the show that we will be continuing to air each season, kind of as a highlight for folks to check in and see how a lot of the things that we talk about on our shows, and the themes, and things like that, that come up, how they're actually being rolled out and addressed in corporate America. Today we’ll be talking with professionals who have implemented programs at organizations including Capital One, Alltel Corporation, and many more. 1:30 Tom Floyd To set the stage I want to share some information that was presented at a session I went to at the conference board in Chicago a few weeks ago, and it was actually shared by Dr. Brian Underhill, who is a good friend of mine and has also been on our show several times as well. But some of the information that he shared, just to throw some facts and statistics out there, is he shared some information from the executive development associates EDA bi-annual survey of trends in executive development, and this was from 2004, and some of the findings I thought were pretty interesting in terms of seeing just how much executive coaching is being used within organizations. Some of you may have remembered way back when we first kicked off the show a year ago, we had Strat Sherman on the show and he shared a little bit of his findings from the Wild West of Executive Coaching, that was published in the Harvard Business Review. I guess the question I would kind of throw out there today is, is the West still wild, so to speak, or has coaching actually increased? 2 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 2 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 2:37 Tom Floyd Well, from the EDA bi-annual survey, the findings identified executive coaching as the fifth most prevalent learning method out of 25 possibilities, top five learning method for the first time since 1984, and that 55 percent of corporations utilize external executive coaching as learning methodology, which is definitely good news. It also found that executive coaching is still a relatively new offering with broad executive level application. Organizations and coaches alike reported approximately eight years in offering coaching services. Organizations in the survey also indicated an average of 52 leaders per year received coaching, spending an average of approximately $15,000 per leader. And lastly, 65 percent of organizations reported that coaching represents 1 to 15 percent of their total development approach, and an additional 21 percent of organizations ranked coaching as representing 16 to 30 percent of their development efforts, which I thought was fantastic. 3:39 Tom Floyd Well it’s definitely going to be interesting to learn more about how our guests have successfully introduced coaching programs within their organizations. And on that note, let me give you a quick overview of each of our guests. We’re delighted to welcome three coaches on today’s show, Guenet Beshah, Allan Polak, and Steve Dwyer. Let’s start out with a quick overview of Guenet Beshah. Guenet Beshah is currently Vice President of Executive Coaching at Capital One. After twelve successful years of practicing law, Guenet transitioned to her dream role as an internal Executive Coach at Capital One in October of 2005. As an added bonus, Guenet also assumed responsibility for leading and managing the company’s Executive Coaching Program. Prior to this role, Guenet was a member of Capital One’s Legal Department’s Senior Leadership Team. While in Legal, Guenet had the opportunity to lead the departments largest and most functionally and geographically dispersed team. She discovered first hand what it meant to develop leadership agility, manage cross- functionally, and create a culture of empowerment. Born in A-ddis A-baba, Ethiopia to an American mother and Ethiopian father, Guenet’s childhood was filled with travel and cross-cultural experiences. Guenet obtained her B.A. from Hampton University; her J.D. from Duke University School of Law, and her Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University. Welcome to the show Guenet. 3 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 3 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 4:58 Guenet Beshah Thank you very much. 5:00 Tom Floyd Our next guest is Allan Polak. Allan Polak has over 25 years management and consulting experience in a variety of industries. He has held internal consulting and managerial positions in the utility, financial services, insurance, and managed care industries with The New York Power Authority, Paine Webber, (ET-NA) Aetna, and The Hartford. Allan has worked in and managed line and corporate departments in management training, staffing and selection, strategic human resource and succession planning, executive and organizational development and HRD strategies/implementation for large scope mergers and acquisitions. He has served as a senior internal and external consultant and coach to managers and executives with their ongoing development, with a special focus on business planning, communication, team building, and business influence. He has also served as an external consultant in the design, creation, and delivery of assessment centers, sales and sales management selection and training, and 360 degree and survey feedback initiatives in large, matrix environments. His education includes a B.A. from Colgate University, M.A. from New York University, continuing Ph.D. graduate level education there, and post graduate completion of Wharton’s Securities Industry Institute and Executive Coaching program. Welcome to the show Allan. 6:32 Allan Polak Great to be here, Tom. Thanks. 4 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 4 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 6:33 Tom Floyd Great to have you. And our last guest is Steve Dwyer. As Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at ALLTEL Corporation, Steve has responsibility for developing and overseeing ALLTEL’s leadership programs. Prior to Steve’s employment with ALLTEL in 2005, he was a Colonel in the United States Army for 30 years. During his service with the U.S. Army, he served in many leadership roles, culminating with his assignment as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Aviation Center, in Ft. Rucker, Alabama. Steve received a bachelor’s of science in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received two master’s degrees, one a master’s of science in administration from Central Michigan University and the other a master’s of science in strategic studies from the Air Force War College. During his service in the military Steve received two Legion of Merit medals, six Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, an Army Achievement Medal, the Master Aviator, Parachutist, and Expert Infantry Badges. Welcome to the show Steve. 7:34 Steve Dwyer Great to be here, Tom. Thanks. 7:36 Tom Floyd Now today’s show is going to be a group discussion. I’m going to pose questions to our guests as a panel to get the group’s thoughts. So it will really be a good interactive conversation between everyone. And to kind of start out just with an introductory question or big picture question so our listeners can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, I’m going to ask the three of you just to tell us a little bit about you, about your company, or some of the organizations that you've worked with and your current role within that organization. Guenet, let’s start with you. 5 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 5 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 8:13 Guenet Beshah Sure. So as you already alluded to, prior to this role I practice law, so I often describe myself as a recovering lawyer. Hopefully my legal colleagues will forgive me for that statement. But it was my dream for years to move into this role. I have had the benefit of actually experiencing the coaching program from a number of perspectives, first, as a beneficiary of the program. So prior to moving into this role, when I was a lawyer for the company actually. I received an executive coach and became a true believer through that experience. And once I moved over into this role, I became, as you already stated, a coach and in charge of the program. And it has been an absolute amazing experience to be both a facilitator and steward of this program that Capital One has actually had in place since the late 90’s. So given that old habits die hard, I did some research as I came into the role, and discovered that Capital One was an early subscriber, given that coaching actually didn't sort of come onto the corporate radar screen until the late 90’s. So we have a very robust program. It is centralized within human resources, although it is paid for by the business. We have very strong senior support. It is used to optimize performance so we use it in three primary ways: to support what we call leader transitions, so to support leaders who are new to the organization or who have assumed new roles within the company, to enhance specific competencies or to enhance specific skills, and to expand leadership abilities. It is used throughout our organization, so at all executive levels, and throughout all of our businesses and staff groups. We use a hybrid matching process, and by that I mean we have a cadre of both internal and external coaches. Our external coaches are prescreened by my office, and what we do is we have eligible executives who will complete what we call an executive information form, which lets me know what they'd like to focus on, and it gives me some insight into their preferences in terms of coach background and experience level. We take that information and we provide them with a list of recommended coaches. They have the option to interview one or all. Chemistry is such a huge component of that relationship so we want to make sure that we afford them that opportunity. 6 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 6 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript 11:12 Tom Floyd Well it’s really nice that they have that ability as well. I know that for myself, I, like you as well, believe in coaching so much that I also have my own coaches as well, and it really helped me, and certainly an advantage to doing this show as well so that I’ve gotten exposed to so many different folks that are out there. And you're right, just that click from a personality perspective. To really be able to open up and share new challenges that you might be having, or goals, and things like that. It’s really important. 11:44 Guenet Beshah Yeah, there are two schools of thought out there, and I think it very much depends on how you're going to use coaching in your organization. So I actually attended a conference where there was actually very robust debate around whether the organization ought to select the coach for the individual or whether the individual ought to play a role in that. 12:07 Tom Floyd Interesting. 12:08 Guenet Beshah The thinking was that if the executive is someone who doesn't sort of have great self- awareness to begin with, do you want to trust them to make the decision around which their coach ought to be. But the way we use coaching in our organization is that coaching—one of the reasons I love coaching is that it presumes competence. We’re not trying to fix broken people. So operating from that space, we trust our executives to know the person that they're going to work best with. 12:46 Tom Floyd Got it, and definitely the piece too around some folks view it as a fix-it solution versus as more of a tool for self-realization. It’s going to be interesting that more as well. Well I’m hearing the music for our first commercial break so I’ll go ahead and go on pause. 7 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 7 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 15:41 Tom Floyd For those of you just joining us today, on today’s show we’re speaking with several executives who have successfully introduced coaching programs within their organizations. Where we left off, we were speaking with Guenet Beshah, who was talking about how coaching was introduced at Capital One and some of her experience there. Going to go ahead and move on to our other two guests to give us a high level overview about their role, their company, or the organizations that they’ve worked with before, and how coaching has been introduced from their perspectives. So Allan, let’s go ahead and move on to you. 16:22 Allan Polak Sure. This is Allan Polak, and I’m the principal of ALP Consulting, based in Connecticut. We've been doing this work for about 20 years at this point. It’s gone through a number of iterations. But my own background includes having worked internally for about 20-plus years within organizations and the last number of years externally with ALP Consulting. And I would reiterate a number of the points that Guenet mentioned—that in the companies that we work with, which include companies like Pfizer, United Technologies, Hartford Financial Services, our work includes both providing executive coaching as well as being a consulting resource to companies and how they set up their program so that it drives success within their companies. And we have found that the models that seem to work best are geared towards providing the services for leaders at certain levels and above who are in a major transition, such as from functional leadership to strategic leadership, for succession preparation, for people who are new to the organization at those executive levels, and again, as Guenet said, new to the company or new to their role, and we refer to that as on boarding. We also see companies using this during major M&A activities or during major change to help their leaders lead the business in the best way during those times. And as an investment in key talents or high potential talent to help those people prepare for future leadership roles. 8 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 8 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 17:55 Allan Polak Our approaches highlight, that you want to invest in your best and not engage in this work as rescue or fix it endeavors. Our experience has been, and the companies we work with has been, is that when you set up programs for remediation, or rescue, or fix it, it doesn't work more often than it does, which is not to say you cannot invest in a really talented person who may have a bit of a flat side but we have found that when it’s a rescue, or a fix it, or the company is saying gee, we’ve tried everything else, let’s set this person up with an executive coach. More often than not it doesn't succeed. 18:35 Tom Floyd And what are some of the reasons for that, based on what you’ve seen in the past? 18:39 Allan Polak What we've seen is that the reasons it doesn't succeed very often at all is—the phrase we use is that reputation has a long tail, and that once a leader has a reputation in a company, it’s very hard for that reputation to really turn itself around 180 degrees. And what we’ve seen is, on a couple of occasions where an executive will receive some coaching in kind of a fix it mode, they can work, 19 times out of 20, where they're doing a behavior or a business effort better, and the company often doesn't see it. What the company sees is that one time out of 20, when they're under stress or having a bad day, where they’ll fall back on a problematic behavior or style. That's what the company picks up and notices. Because we have found, and there's research behind it, people will see what they expect to see. And so part of the coaching work that we engage in is helping our players leverage their strong suits, go with their strong suits, and also have a set of strategies in place that actually helps key decision makers and leaders see their growth. Because if you don’t help the organization sees the growth, they typically don’t see it. Because people are so busy in their day to day that you have to say, have you noticed how so and so has done X a bit better or differently? 20:08 Tom Floyd So it’s almost like with what you were saying before with the reputation piece, just to come back to that point. It’s almost been, from your experience, that let’s say that somebody has a perception as a leader that they're a micromanager or something like that. That even if they receive coaching around that, the perception is still going to exist, that they're a micromanager within the organization and people aren’t generally aren’t going to be able to see past that. 9 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 9 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 20:31 Allan Polak If they have a reputation as a micromanager, but they also have a reputation that they're really good at eight or nine other things, that can be addressed because micromanagement is a very behavioral issue that you can get executive coaching with. But if their reputation is of a larger nature. Gee, so and so is just a brutal person to work for, a more global reputation, that's really hard to turn around. 20:53 Tom Floyd So, we've had Eddie Erlinson on the show, for example, which, he and his wife Kate have been doing the research around the alpha male, and alpha female, for example. So if you have some of those very dominant personalities that can almost become abusive when gone awry, so to speak, in organizations, you're saying some of those, that's kind of harder to get past that. 21:14 Allan Polak Well what you're speaking to, Tom, is that it’s much easier to help somebody make shifts or changes in their behaviors, but if you're talking about expecting a major shift in somebody’s major personality or traits, that's a whole other game. 21:27 Tom Floyd Yup, definitely. 21:28 Allan Polak We had one client who actually approached us about working with a fairly senior person who they said, oh, they're not quite on the up and up. You know, they have some integrity issues. And we said well, we’re talking about a selection issue, you know. You can help somebody with their integrity, that's not a development issue. You're really going to change somebody’s core integrity. 21:47 Tom Floyd Got it. Steve? Anything that you would add? 21:51 Steve Dwyer Well, I’m smiling here listening to Allan because I heard him talk at the conference, and the reputation has a long tail. I've actually used that quote a couple of times since then, and I couldn't agree with you more. We just took a different approach, if you want me to get into my approach now, Tom, I can. 10 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 10 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 22:10 Tom Floyd Yeah, sure, definitely. 22:12 Steve Dwyer We had not had any leadership development program at all until August of 2005, and I had met the CEO while I was still in the Army, and he asked me to bring the Army’s leadership approach to Alltel. And in a way I did and in a way I didn't. I kind of took some of the good stuff and some of the good stuff that I've learned since I've been out of the Army. But our approach was to take a 360, an evaluation from peers, subordinates, and the boss, and couple that with coaching. And then dovetail some training in to kind of tie it all together. So that's been our approach. And as far as the coaching goes, we looked at our leaders kind of like rental cars, and I mentioned that at the conference, that [crosstalk] you don’t really do anything to a rental car except put gas in it, and that's how we were treating our leaders. We gave them no development, we gave them—and if they didn't work, we just got another rental car. And that works during our very big growth period when our growth hid all of our sins, but as we got to the point where the mergers and acquisitions started to dwindle down and we realized for a lot of reasons that we had to work with what we had, we started looking at developing the leaders. That’s when we started going into the coaching piece, and our first approach was to say let’s give everybody above a certain level a coach. 23:46 Steve Dwyer Now, Allan, in there are some people who need remediation, and frankly, it did not take with everybody, and I could not agree with you more that some people with those personality defects, I call them, that are not going to change—and you know the bullies that are out there, the people that just take advantage of the position they're in, those people aren’t going to change. But we also had to have a way to find out who they were because if you produced results you got promoted at Alltel. Since we’ve instituted the value system—we have a set of eight core values, we’ve now changed the way we hold people accountable to those values. One of those values is results but there are seven other ones and there are things like respect, integrity, knowledge, teaching people. So it’s not just getting results, it’s more of the how you got results. 11 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 11 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 24:39 Allan Polak Yeah, it’s the what and the how. 24:41 Steve Dwyer Yeah, so now we have the coach, who is supposed to kind of coach them to the other set. They wouldn't even be there if they didn't get results. And then what the coach found is most of the people got it. Most of the people thought this was the greatest thing in the world. And there were a few people that bristled and frankly, some of those people have since been let go, and some very senior folks, and it’s not because of the leadership development program, it’s because the business imperative of taking care of people so that we could get better results started to come through. It’s not all this touchy feely stuff, it’s hey we have a 50 percent turnover rate. We've got to do something about it. Well let’s figure out— Oh!, it’s the boss. Surprise. Why don’t we get rid of the boss and see if this turnover rate goes down. So we've been starting to use those values as a way to determine who gets to stay and who has to go. And all of this— 25:40 Tom Floyd Is it almost like—I was going to ask this question of everyone as well. In terms of coaching around the values in this case, at Alltel, or if it was competencies, or something like that, is it a process of the coach working with the coachee to establish goals, that they be smart goals, or something like that, tied to those values so that they kind of have a centralized conversation each time that they're talking about it? So if the value is respect, for example, that they're putting goals or measure in place to really help work towards that particular value? 12 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 12 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript 26:12 Steve Dwyer That's exactly right. In our case, and I’ll let the other guys talk, we have what's called the developmental plan, and the coach coaches to that developmental plan. And in the plan are eight categories, and in one category, integrity, it’s sort of the price to play, the price to get into the game. You have to have integrity. If you don’t have that, you're probably not going to get much farther. But say for example, respect, which also includes collaboration with other silos, if you don’t have that, let’s coach to that. And so we have this plan that the coach uses as a tool. That's how we do it. 26:45 Tom Floyd Got it. Actually, I have a big smile on my face. And hearing that, that's one of the things that our company does as well, and I actually have two coaches, and we coach around our competencies. Our company has 15 competencies. And a personal thing about me, one of mine is accountability. And it was interesting to come out in my coaching sessions and to have goals around the accountability, it wasn't that, and I never would have been able to articulate this before in terms of how my interactions could relate around, you know, our company’s core competencies like that. But for me, with accountability, it’s not that I’m not accountable, but that’s a ticker for me when other people aren’t. I had to learn internally within our company, interesting when I don’t see that value or competency coming through in someone else that sparks something in me that was really insightful for me to kind of have a reflective session around that. What are some of your thoughts? 13 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 13 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 27:42 Guenet Beshah The other thing that I would add to that is that—so we do two things. We have a coaching action plan, which does cross-reference to our competencies, but as a result of a survey that we did with our coachees, we made a special effort around drawing a stronger connection between the development goals and our business goals. So we made a push this year to ask our executives to work back from their business goals. So what particular leadership goals, development goals, do you need to focus on as a result of specific business goals. So let’s make that link even more specific. A point that I made at the Chicago conference is that I think we sometimes forget, for the sake of what does a business provide coaching? And the purpose is to drive better business results. I think we ought to have this conversation around self-actualization. To what end? And the reality is to drive greater business results and to deliver business performance. 29:00 Tom Floyd And so if it really is improving the bottom line. 29:04 Guenet Beshah Absolutely. 29:05 Tom Floyd Got it. Well let me go ahead and go on pause for a second. I'm hearing the music for our next break. Stay tuned everyone, we’ll be right back. 31:31 Tom Floyd Where we left off, Guenet, you were making a really good point, I thought, around the importance of making sure that coaching is 50/50, so to speak, 50 percent and that it’s really focused on improving the bottom line or focused on business results. And the other side of that, really making sure that it’s actually helping someone grow, especially in terms of leadership and things like that as well. Anything else that you would add along those lines? 14 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 14 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 32:08 Guenet Beshah No. I just want to emphasize the fact that getting great business results and helping the executive grow, that those two things can mutually coexist. I think that there is sometimes a sense that they are mutually exclusive and that there is some fear that the two can't co-exist, and I think that that's absolutely not the case, and I think the fact that coaching continues to be an intervention that organizations are using year after year proves the power that coaching actually has. I think it’s something that is extremely responsive. It is something that is extremely results oriented, and we can't forget that at the end of the day, it is designed to deliver business results, and as long as we keep our eyes on the prize I think coaching will continue to be a powerful intervention. 33:03 Tom Floyd Got it. 33:04 Steve Dwyer You know, Guenet, I’d like to add one thing to that. The holy grail in all of this is trying to figure out how to measure all that. Because when you say it adds to the business results, there's going to be somebody in the business that, at least in my world, says it had nothing to do with coaching. That's because we changed the comp plan or whatever. So the real difficulty, I think, is trying to find out how you can tie this is in—tie success of business into part of the coaching, as a result of some of the coaching. And we've tried to do that and I’m always interested in how people have done that, but we've just done some surveys that show that the people that were getting the coaching had increased their productivity as seen by them. The next thing we’re going to do is ask the stakeholders, have you seen the same increase in productivity, and add addition to the bottom line as they have, and kind of tie those things together. But it’s always anecdotal, it’s always opinions, and I'm wondering if there's anybody that's figured out how to tie it directly to the bottom line. 15 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 15 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript 34:05 Guenet Beshah Well I can tell you what we've done. So we have done, similar to you, we've taken a qualitative approach by surveying the executives that have participated in the program, and consistently we get very positive feedback from them that, one, they value the program, they think it’s a standout opportunity provided by the company, and that they think that they are getting progress with respect to their own results, and that they're very satisfied with their coaches. But this year, we also did a quantitative statistical analysis, using our performance management feedback, and I'm happy to report that we discovered very statistically significant evidence that coaching was actually having a very positive impact on both performance and attrition for us. It was over a two year period, so while we haven't yet made the correlation to actual business performance, we have shown a correlation to actual performance. 35:10 Allan Polak And that is—this is Allan speaking—that's a way that we've suggested to our clients as well, to at least look at the correlation between your performance management system and your coaching interventions. Causality is going to be really tough because your business results are a product of multivariate stuff, but you can look at some correlations between your performance management measures and your coaching events. 35:35 Allan Polak Along the lines of putting it into the business model, we have found that our recommendations that, when you're putting a coaching program into place, in an organization, that you think about how can I make it as similar as possible to how I go about doing a business plan? So in that sense there are clear time frames, there are clear expectations up front, there are clear monitoring and tracking mechanisms during the course of the event, and then clarity about evaluation at the outcome, both by the coach, the person’s boss, the executive being coached, etc. And we have found that when you structure it as if it’s a business plan, there's credibility in the organization, and quite frankly, the coaches value that themselves because good executive coaches want to provide services to the individual but they also want to partner with the organization. And there's nothing worse for an executive coach to be hired by an organization to work with an individual, and given no context about the company or the environment that he or she is being asked to help with and bring value to. So it’s the service of the business results and that's the ultimate goal. You have to know the culture and the context within which you're working. 16 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 16 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 36:53 Tom Floyd So what you're saying is that you really need to make sure that the coach understands the business, the culture, the norms, what's okay, what's not okay. 37:02 Allan Polak We know of a couple of companies who had the roles and the rules quite clear at the beginning of the coaching engagement, that confidentiality would be respected with the client or the coachee, but as a key player in the organization there is also the person’s boss that the coach is expected to engage with. And I know of two instances where that didn't happen and the company really had to say look, you have to realize that you have multiple clients here. It’s not just that one individual because the goal is the business results, not just helping that person gain greater self-realization. 37:40 Tom Floyd In terms of going down the path further of how a company could link it to business results, so if we’re looking at a metric, quality for example, or customer satisfaction, or something like that, how would you recommend or how have you come up with how much coaching could actually impact that? Off the top of my head, one thing that I've seen and that we've done for some clients from a training perspective is getting executives in a room or even if it’s surveying them and saying okay if these are the ten factors that impact quality and training is one of them, coming up with some type of average or percentage for all of them. So if you said training contributed to a five percent increase or decrease in quality, and marketing was 20 percent, and—I'm making this up, the numbers—but other things like that, that that's how we were able to help a few organizations kind of guide that or come up with a rough estimate based on that. Is it through exercises like that, that you're finding you're able to come up with just how much it impacts key metrics that are out there or what's that process look like? 39:02 Steve Dwyer Is that for Allan? 39:03 Tom Floyd For anybody. 39:04 Allan Polak Anybody. 39:05 Steve Dwyer Well just for me, we've tried all that stuff, but when you run up against a black and white kind of guy like a CFO person, all that stuff is really hard to sell. 17 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 17 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 39:18 Guenet Beshah Because it’s so viewed as subjective. 39:20 Steve Dwyer Yeah, so all that stuff—I mean, Allan, you were ticking off the things that we’re trying to do. There may be one thing we missed in there, but most of the stuff you were saying, we are trying to do all that. But then it comes budget time and budget time happens for us about four times a year, each time we go through the quarter, and they always say now what are you doing again, Dwyer? And then I lay it all out, and I show them all these things, and they say well where's this all—there's got to be a way to show us. So what they’ve come up with is attrition, or turnover, and by reducing turnover you can show. For us it’s $39,000 to train a sales rep. So the person in the store costs $39,000 to put him on the floor. So if you can keep him around for another six months, you can do the math. So if you can reduce turnover you can show a direct correspondence to the bottom line. That's the operational cost, and then you can also show that through customer advocacy scores, what a customer that's an advocate will do for your business. We can measure that, and the same for employee advocacy, but we’re still in our embryonic stages right now because we haven't really brought that out. But by turning someone from just a customer to someone who will sell you to other people, you can show that that has some sort of effect on the bottom line. So that's kind of what we’re doing. 18 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 18 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 40:46 Guenet Beshah Hey guys, so let me just say, I’m fortunate because I don’t have to continue to make the case for coaching in our organization. The thing is, is that we've been an organization, we became public in 1995, and I think we have plenty of evidence that coaching has, again, been an extremely powerful competitive tool for us over the years. It’s been a constant, through a lot of exponential change for us as an organization, it’s expanded. When we needed to expand, it’s provided a level of customization that I don’t think a lot of other tools afford us. It’s provided sort of that built-in diversity for the different learning styles of our executives. It’s presumed the competence of our executives and it’s been responsive to our needs, again, depending upon where we were in our organization’s life cycle, and I think it has met the business environment and the leadership demands that all of us face as organizations. No one can doubt the business complexity that we have to deal with right now—the fact that information is so fluid and our leaders are having to make judgment calls based on imperfect information, the fact that the rate of change is absolutely challenging human ability to adapt. And what coaching affords is an opportunity for people to pause, to reflect, to make informed choices to align accordingly, and to drive good, sound, business judgments, and that's your ROI. 42:38 Steve Dwyer No argument there. You're way down the road from where we are, Guenet. We’re still—I'm still fighting the Revolutionary War. You're well into the industrialization era. I’m still trying to convince about six or seven people that help run our company. My one advantage is the CEO is 100 percent on my side. But my job is to be more collateral. I can't just go in and say hey do it because the CEO said. So I'm trying to convince these people one at a time exactly what you were saying. 43:12 Guenet Beshah No, I’m not suggesting that you don’t have your ammunition. That's why you go ahead and you run your analysis, and you shore up your program, and you make sure that you are responsive to your stakeholders. But you also make sure that you can tell the story, and there is absolutely a very powerful story here. 19 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 19 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 43:34 Allan Polak There’s the stories, and Steve, I’m thinking out loud that there's always a desire to find the common three or four metrics that will help you measure the impact of executive coaching, and we’ve worked with a couple of clients to remind them. There are often kind of individual metrics in given situations that can show you the impact, and I’m thinking of one client from a couple of months ago, where there was a very senior person, where there was energy in the company because they believed in 360 feedback a lot in this company, they were all set to go down the road, let’s do a really robust 360 interview-based data gathering of 10, or 12, or 15 people, and this person will see the important information. And the intervention was made, look, before you go down this road, invest in two meetings with a coach to see whether that person is motivated to use that feedback. It turned out the person really wasn't motivated to use that feedback, and they saved about $20,000 in fees. 44:38 Tom Floyd That’s fantastic. 44:39 Guenet Beshah Yeah. 44:39 Tom Floyd Well I’m hearing the music for our last break. Let’s go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone. 47:01 Tom Floyd Just to kind of recap, we covered a lot of things in the last part of the show here, but to summarize, we talked about some key metrics and ways to tie coaching back to the impact on the bottom line. Some things that came up in the conversation were the importance of executive sponsorship, the importance of having common metrics and a measurement system, and also the importance of continuing to evangelize the program, once you have it up and running. I want to kind of switch gears a little bit. I want to talk about resistance and how each of you positioned or introduced coaching within your organizations to minimize resistance. Something that I heard come up at the conference when we were all there a few weeks ago, and I wanted to kind of explore that further. So what my question here is, is how did you position or message coaching when it was introduced? In other words, what did you use to help people understand what's in it for them to receive coaching? Allan, let’s start with you. 20 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 20 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 48:24 Allan Polak I'm thinking of one company we work with where there was a history of executive coaching but in a very kind of fly by night manner. So our recommendation was to position to the company, look, you have no idea of what you're spending on this endeavor or the impact it’s having if you permit it to continue in the way you're doing. We actually heard a story where a certain executive coach in this company literally wandered the executive hallway, stopping in executives’ offices, mentioning gee I’m doing some work with Bob down the hall, would you like some assistance yourself? And when we heard the company describe that, we said, and how long did you permit that to go on? 49:06 Tom Floyd That was going to be my next question, actually. 49:09 Allan Polak Well, the company was naïve. They said well, isn't that how the work is done? And we said no, we don’t think so. So it was pointing out the cost of doing that in such a sloppy way and also pointing out the impact on the business that well positioned executive coaching can have on retention, as Steve says, on the impact on your high potential players, right? Your strongest talents do not want to work for weak bosses. 49:41 Steve Dwyer Absolutely. 21 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 21 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 49:42 Allan Polak They will leave. And the demographic reality of today’s workforce is people will put up with that less, and less, and less. So it was about the power of retaining your strongest talent, building your leadership pipeline. Companies know that unless they're thinking about how do I build my leadership pipeline so that my company’s going to thrive in the next three, five, to eight years, they know in their bones and in their numbers that their company will suffer. So we find that a powerful positioning is to say how are you fixed for your leadership pipeline over the next three, to five, to eight years? What do you feel most confident about, what are you worried about? And that's a good stepping off point to help them think through about, so therefore, what we want from a coaching program. 50:26 Tom Floyd So that's kind of the way it was pitched then to the stakeholders? 50:29 Allan Polak That's right. 50:31 Tom Floyd In terms of going after the individuals, let’s say that first group, if it’s the initial group of executives, or if you're starting at the top, working down from there. How did you position the what’s in it for me, for them, so that people weren’t charging in and saying hey I think you need a coach now. How did you message it in terms of this is why we think it will be beneficial for you and your career development? 22 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 22 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 50:58 Allan Polak We and I’m thinking of the same company—there are two major populations you want to speak to. Those people who would be nervous about engaging in this endeavor—gee, what's that about? Does it mean I’m broken? And those leaders who would say, oh yeah, sign me up, sign me up, I want to do that stuff. And so you have two different messages, and the messages would come from the senior leaders and the senior HR leaders, in a fairly small communication, saying, we have this resource that is available to our strongest players. And that, in the beginning, is saying listen; we wouldn't be offering this to you unless we wanted you to grow your career here. So we have this resource available to our strongest players where we work with external experts who have a deep experience in what enables leaders to succeed in large organizations. And we position it as a partnership, and we recommend to companies that they use the metaphor that works for their industry. So for example, in a high technology company, UTC for example, we like to position this as the client or coachee is the pilot, and the coach is the copilot, because that's about ownership. In the financial services industry we’ll talk about executive coaching as inviting a leader to take stock of their portfolio. What's in their portfolio that serves them very well in the current and in the future role, and what shifts might they want to make in their portfolio so that it brings a maximum return for the business and their leadership. And we find that when you use a metaphor that speaks to that industry, lights go on in people's heads about oh, so that's what it’s about. 52:35 Tom Floyd Got it. Guenet, anything that you would add? 23 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 23 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 52:38 Guenet Beshah No. I agree very much with many of the points that Allan already made. What we did at Capital One is that we rolled coaching out in connection with the rollout of our new competency model. So it was rolled out in a much targeted fashion with senior executives in the company, and they realized the value of coaching, and became fans and users of the program, and became disciples of the program, if you will. And that built momentum for the rest of the organization. Then we began to use coaching more broadly in the organization. So to Allan’s point, we utilized coaching for our stronger performers and that set the stage in our organization to view coaching in a very positive light, so it was not something that people viewed in a pejorative fashion. They wanted it. I did not have to deal with any type of resistance in the organization. It was not something that I had to push onto people. 53:46 Tom Floyd Okay. 53:48 Allan Polak A good phrase that we've used for organizations in terms of developing their people is you want to engage everybody but you want to invest in your best. 53:56 Tom Floyd Got it. Well we have got one minute left and just to recap, I want to ask in closing if you were to offer advice, suggestions, or tips, to companies out there, who are considering implementing a coaching program, what would that be in kind of a 30 second or less spiel? Steve? 24 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 24 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 54:15 Steve Dwyer I would do what Allan was discussing because when we first started out coaching it was like throwing water on a dry sponge. Everybody got it, everybody soaked it up. The next time we do it, and we’re going to have a holistic approach, it’s going to be for our very best or people that are transitioning from say, the operational leadership level to the strategic leadership level, so by definition, they’ll be their very best. It’s investing in high-po’s or people that are going to be high-po’s. 54:42 Tom Floyd Got it. Guenet, anything that you would add? 54:45 Guenet Beshah Agreed. Just be thoughtful and be clear about what success looks like. 54:49 Tom Floyd Okay. Allan? 54:51 Allan Polak I’d repeat those things and say put a specific time-limited plan to it so that your message is look, we’re treating this as any other business endeavor. This isn't just about meeting with somebody and feeling better. 55:04 Tom Floyd Got it. Well, a huge thank you to the three of you for joining us today, and as always, huge thank you for our listeners as well. For more information about our show you can look us up on the Voice America Business Channel. You can visit our web site at www.ieconsulting.biz and always feel free to email me at tfloyd@ieconsulting.biz with any questions as well. And also for you Apple iTunes and iPod fans, don’t forget you can also get access to our show through the music store. Open up iTunes, go to the music store, click podcasts, and enter Insight on Coaching in the search field. Thanks again everyone, we’ll see you next week. 25 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 25 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript
  26. 26. 26 | Confidential October 22, 2008 Page 26 Coaching Successes in Corporate America: Part 2 Transcript