How to make your case for funding to train as a coach: to your boss

Coaching is a growing field. What was once a one-to-one benefit for the privileged few – the superrich with lifestyle quandaries, or a boardroom elite – has become a widely recognised and widely pervaded skill. Likewise, coaches come from all backgrounds and can be found at all levels. Training as a coach has never been more popular or made better sense.

But good training does not come cheap.

If you’re thinking of training as a coach, sooner or later you’re going to start thinking about who foots the bill. You may be hoping your employer will do this, or you may be self-funding. Either way there’s an essential business case to be made.

Here are 3 key reasons for each business case – looking to your employer to cover the cost, as well as supporting facts and figures to back them up.

  • Save your boss money by bringing coaching skills inhouse. Business coaching typically costs around £400 a session and any coachee will need several sessions.
  • Increase business capability and not just in keys areas such as HR and L&D. You may want to mention specific areas such as the benefits you can bring to line management, or coaching managerial programme candidates, as well as in team leadership in areas such as sales or new business.
  • Address business-critical organisational issues – make these specific to your organisation. They might include talent retention, growing leadership skills for the future, enhancing productivity through better people motivation and improving communication.

Your boss or the person who holds the budget line for this expense isn’t going to want a long, rambling dissertation about why you should train. Get it down to headlines and bullet points.

Our own Coach House alumni are as likely to take their coaching skills back into an existing role as use them to work independently as a coach.

“A lot of our executive board have coaching, so for me I wanted to understand more about coaching when recommending it in my job,” says Amy Robbins. Executive Director, Head of People at Manning Gottlieb OMD.

BE BUSINESS–SPECIFIC

Equipping yourself with coaching skills can benefit employers in numerous ways but do your research to ensure the business case you make is specific.

For example, coaching to improve motivation or communication may be top of the list if the business has just gone through (or is in the process of) a major restructure, merger or acquisition.

Growing leadership internally might be highly valued if the business is growing fast but has difficulty attracting the best external leadership candidates because, say, salaries are currently not quite high enough.In his book Coaching for Performance, coaching pioneer John Whitmore listed benefits including improved performance and productivity, more motivated staff, better use of people, skills, and resources and greater flexibility and adaptability.

What areas are most relevant where you work?

Coaching skills can be widely applied outside of coaching per se. “You will learn so much about yourself, how you address people, how you address business situations, how you behave in meetings…” says another of our graduates, Patrick Mills, Director of Membership and Professional Development at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).Or to quote another graduate, Kate Herbert, Managing Partner, Head of People, OMD UK: “I’m so much more self-aware but also more aware of others, other people’s behaviours, their body language and their tone of voice…” Skills like this bring multiple business benefits.

Don’t be put off pitching for coach training simply because you think you haven’t tucked enough years under you belt just yet.

At today’s rapid work pace, experience can be accumulated at speed. Relative youth can also hold you in good stead and give you some common ground with younger coachees.

In many businesses spanning digital, media and creative fields, the ideal coach may be younger rather than older, as Baby Boomers fade from the scene to be replaced by Generations X, Y and Z. If you’re in an areas such as technology or media this may be particularly noticeable – can you get your hands on the business age demographic to substantiate your case?

A Gallup poll survey in the US, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, stresses that millennials don’t want bosses – they want coaches.

In increasingly agile business settings, frequent coaching conversations and immediate feedback are built into the framework. As Gallup puts it: “The role of an old-style boss is command and control. Millennials care about having managers who can coach them, who value them as both people and employees, and who help them understand and build their strengths.”

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