Why Coaching Programs Fail

By Birgit Zacher Hanson, M.S.

You've seen it a hundred times: One light touch to one domino starts a chain reaction that knocks down thousands more. Executive coaches hope to create a similar effect with their coaching in organizations. (And so do budget-conscious employers.)

It's easy to imagine how this idea sounds good: We start at the top by coaching senior executives and while coaching them on their own issues we teach them coaching skills so that they can coach their direct reports. Not only that, but leaders are also expected to teach their direct reports how to teach coaching skills to their subordinates.

In theory this should work coaching behavior cascading through the organization. In practice, unfortunately, that is not so not in most organizations anyway.

Somewhere along the line the coaching momentum weakens.

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