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Coaching: It is the central strategy to develop talent

Coaching: It is the central strategy to develop talent 

In a recent survey (Henley Business School 2015) Senior HR professionals were asked to comment on the strategic priorities for their function in 2016. Over 350 organisations from 39 countries responded and highlighted the need to develop organisation wide leadership capabilities across all sectors.

At the senior level the priority is to develop the ability to lead in a volatile, uncertain and complex environment. For high potentials, the emphasis is on driving the organisation forward through the development of leadership capabilities alongside commercial acumen and customer engagement. Whilst at first and middle management levels the emphasis is on building capacity and capability for growth and change and instilling a development culture at every level to in order to retain talent.

Coaching is seen as the central strategy to drive these development needs because it is a targeted intervention that focusses on the exact needs of the individual, their stage of development and their context. Whilst a training programme delivers skills and knowledge, a 1:1 coaching programme allows the leader to make sense of their own drivers, motives, capabilities and indeed vulnerabilities in a trusting environment. Fundamental shifts in perspective can release a leaders thinking to adopt more flexible approaches and enable them to succeed in a changing environment.

Whilst senior executives often employ an external coach, the majority of the organisation will only receive the coaching and development they need if coaching is a skill displayed by leaders at every level. Consider what this means for your organisation. If you could create a shift in capability what would it look like, and do you have the capacity to make this happen? A strong leader coach enables staff to feel motivated and engaged, have clearer goals, develop more effective action strategies and take responsibility for results. Do your leaders have the coaching skills they need to take your organisation forward in 2016?

Joanne James is Head of Corporate and Executive Development at Newcastle Business School. Joanne can be contacted at to discuss your organisations challenges in talent retention, leadership capability and coaching. Executive coaching is available through our approved coaching network.
The new Masters in Coaching Programme Commences in January 2016.To register your interest contact


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