The Importance of Coaching in Succession Planning

      During a strategic planning session with an executive leadership team, the SWOT analysis revealed a large number of leaders in the organization were 5-7 years away from retirement. When this fact was highlighted, the team realized they had a huge issue.   

      For years they had discussed the need for a formal succession planning program, however one had not yet been implemented

      Now there was a sense of urgency in putting the right program in place to ensure sustainability and leadership strength for the organization. 

      Benchmark studies indicate upward of 70 percent of companies are currently assessing and developing their high potentials and senior leaders, and another 10-15 percent are in the process of building a system to do so. 

      What type of succession planning program leads to maximum success? 

      So, companies are seeing the value of having something formal, but what makes a great program?

      Our experience has shown programs that include job shadowing, formal mentoring, stretch assignments and executive coaching result in the highest success rate in transitioning high-potentials to next level leaders that hit the ground running. 

      Providing people with coaching allows them to: 

      • engage in confidential, unobjective discussions about their career aspirations 

      • get clear on the path they want to explore  

      • craft a solid development plan to grow specific leadership skills and capabilities 
      • take responsibility for driving their career growth 

      Organizations can create the conditions for success, people have to drive their own success. Coaching supports people to do just that! 


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      The ROI of introducing executive coaching early in the succession planning process 

      Identifying high-potential leadership candidates is not just about the identification process. It is about the development, coaching and mentoring along the way that can help the person decide whether they are really interested and capable of committing to that career track. 

      I’ll never forget sitting with an executive team that was discussing the succession track for a couple of high-potential people in the organization.

      The debate was fierce about skill sets and where they would best fit to make the most valuable contribution. After a while I piped in, “Has anyone talked to these people about what they want?” Dead silence followed. 

      There’s nothing worse for an organization than taking good people and promoting them, only to find out they never really aspired to or were not ready for the roleIt can lead to the loss of an otherwise great employee, thus leaving two holes to fill.  Waste of time, waste of money, waste of talent!  

      Introducing coaching early in the succession planning process can help people opt out of that career track earlier or keep them engaged and more highly committed to the organization earlier, both options yield high ROI for the organization. 

      The ROI also shows up in the coachee through: 

      • stronger relationships  
      • more influence 
      • greater performance 
      • more impactful communication 

      These couple of studies capture additional ROI: 

      Weed them out or invite them in! Introduce coaching early in the succession planning process…it makes great business sense! 

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