Spoiler alert: yes! But let’s start from the very beginning. According to research, coaching is beneficial to both individuals and organizations. It contributes to employees’ well-being, satisfaction levels and emotion regulation, including stress reduction (1). From a business perspective, coaching can increase a business’s value by up to 4 times by helping individuals grow and overcome challenges. While coaching has obvious benefits for the growth of the organization and its business, many companies are uncertain as to its implementation: Should they offer coaching themselves, or should it be left up to employees?
At Pipedrive, we offer in-house coaching and have three dedicated and full-time coaches. In our own experience, approximately 40% of Pipedrivers have benefited from our in-house coaching. Over time, we have drawn three main coaching learnings.
Coaching provides (accessible) growth opportunities
Pipedrive’s experience shows that having an in-house option makes coaching more approachable and accessible. This means that growth opportunities for talents are as agile as the company. Any issue can be resolved quicker and more effectively when addressed at the right time with the right sort of support.
Preparations for coaching and finding the right coach can take some time, not to mention the waiting period for the first meeting. But, much like in other areas, timing is key, especially for a start-up/tech company. So finding a coach 6 months or a year after the initial need rose might mean that the opportunity has come and gone. Plus, as coaches, we know how important it is for the long run to tackle particular topics as early as possible, whether they are connected to professional development, building or fine-tuning a (soft)skill or well-being and mental/emotional health. This knowledge aligns with findings that show coaching is more beneficial when combined with the focus of improving performance and cooperation instead of correcting problems (2).
Let’s imagine a situation: Paul and Maria, both full-stack developers, have been working together on a project. Over time, they start experiencing communication challenges, mostly around giving and receiving feedback. Not sure where to begin, Paul and Maria, start looking for options outside of the organization. They run a few Google searches ask for coaching recommendations from colleagues, friends and their managers. The process is time-consuming and costly, which also affects their team and creates frustration. This, in turn, becomes a potential cost to the organization, whether through unmet deadlines or improper execution.
Now, let’s picture it differently: Paul and Maria come across the internal training on feedback fundamentals and get to know the coach who has been guiding those workshops. They now have the opportunity to book private 1:1 sessions for individual discussions with them. They start attending coaching sessions to learn new skills and approaches that help them improve their work processes relatively quickly. When weighing the cost of coaches’ salaries for the organization against time, employee retention and mental health, then multiplying it by hundreds of employees, we can estimate the value in-house coaching holds.
Coaching has a wider impact on organizations
Being part of the organization gives coaches a unique perspective on the topics that employees are exposed to. This has allowed Pipedrive to develop several training sessions in collaboration with team leads and managers and address needs as soon as they surface. In turn, training provides an opportunity to build connections with people, giving them a feeling of who we are and how we work as coaches, as illustrated in the previous example. In our experience, this leads to people feeling comfortable approaching us.
In addition, being part of the organization has given us an amazing opportunity to collaborate with HR and other departments to answer questions from “How do people feel about working at Pipedrive?” to” How has remote work influenced the company’s productivity?”
Coaches don’t always have the right answers, but being part of the organization provides insight that allows us to ask the right questions, leading us to data-driven decisions. At Pipedrive, coaches have provided insights for conducting eNPS surveys, planning internal training needs and solving specific team challenges.
Actions speak louder than words
A great culture paves the way to success. This claim has studies backing it up (3), which explains why many organizations choose to follow internal values that highlight growth, mastery, and greatness. At Pipedrive, for example, we highlight values like “Reach for greatness” and “Be teachable,” while at Wise it’s “This isn’t just a job, we’re a revolution,” at Bolt “Personal growth and growing together” and at Glia “Master.”
But how can these values be translated into actions? Organizations can take plenty of big and small actions to reflect their values in the culture. In Pipedrive’s experience, in-house coaching is an action that both sends strong and important messages to its employees and brings Pipedrive’s values to life by conveying:
We value you and your growth, and we are willing to invest in it. People sometimes need a little push or access to the right resources to excel. While training is an excellent asset, some experiences and challenges might not fit into pre-planned training. This is where case-by-case coaching sessions, which are tailored to individuals, can make a big difference.
We encourage using support for personal and professional growth. Often, people are hesitant to ask for help for different reasons, including fear of being vulnerable or social stigma. When coaching becomes an organic part of the organization, reaching out for support becomes more accessible, allowing employees to unlock their professional and personal potential. After all, even dentists need help fixing their own teeth.
Innovation takes courage and stepping out of our comfort zones. The same goes for personal development. This is challenging, and the challenge could be alleviated when we have the appropriate accommodation. In-house coaches can support employees during these challenges and support them in stepping up to the next level.
So should my company or I employ coaches?
Naturally, we believe that, given the advantages of coaching, we vote “yes”!
For an individual, coaching can provide the perfect setting to remove roadblocks, thereby empowering them to become more focused, driven and happy. This solution is a relatively low-cost solution with a potentially high reward–a few hours of your time could save you countless hours of feeling anxious, worried or stuck.
For an organization, the secret to success is ensuring that all employees have the resources to become the best version of themselves. Think of the value of coaching to an organization as refactoring your code to keep up with the times (or to keep it from rotting). Similarly, coaching helps to refactor your team members and yourself to help keep you running cleanly (or less buggy :)).
Are you curious about what coaching looks like? We’ve got you covered! You can find our stories and learn some insights from the inner workings of a Personal Coach at Pipedrive here.
Jeannotte, A. M., Hutchinson, D. M., & Kellerman, G. R. (2021). Time to Change for Mental Health and Well-being via Virtual Professional Coaching: Longitudinal Observational Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(7), e27774. https://doi.org/10.2196/27774
McDermott, M. & Levenson, A. (2007) What coaching can and can not do for organization. Human Resource Planning, 30 (2).
Baron, J.N. & Hannan, M.T (2002). Organisational Blueprints for Success in High-Tech Start-Ups: Lessons from the Stanford Project on Emerging Companies. California Management Review, 44 (3), 8-36.