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Organizational Challenges

Originally Published in Coaching for Transformation

Individuals and leaders in corporate environments face many challenges that can present opportunities for coaching executives, middle managers or teams. Some challenges are routine, while others may occur during times of change.

Some corporate challenges include:

Mergers and Acquisitions—When companies restructure, downsize or merge, reshuffled teams and work responsibilities contribute to increased stress, decreased morale, interpersonal conflicts and resentment. Coaching can help teams build trust, clarify vision and roles and support the transition to a blended culture.

New Team Start Up—When new teams come together on a project, they can go through rocky periods until roles and responsibilities, communication channels, vision and mission are clearly established and shared. Coaches can support the formation and development of a team.

Global Virtual Teams—When people are part of teams that are geographically dispersed, coaches can support them in working across time zones and in determining how to work together effectively.

Goal Setting—Based on company, division or departmental objectives, coaches can support individuals and teams to participate in setting fair, achievable goals. At the same time, coaches can help managers ensure consistency and alignment of personal goals with organizational goals.

Performance Objectives—How people assess, communicate and reward performance for individuals and teams can motivate or de-motivate staff. Coaching can help people identify competencies and create motivational leadership development plans.

Empowerment—Morale issues and lack of trust emerge when people in power micromanage others. Creating a coaching culture helps empower leaders at all levels where feedback is a two-way street.

Social sector challenges include:

Mission Creep—When organizations shift their mission to meet the requirements of funders, coaches can support them in staying true to their purpose.

Scarcity Mentality—When organizations struggle to secure funding, coaches can support the shift from the poverty mentality that drives most nonprofi ts.

Rescuers Syndrome— Even when nonprofits mean well, their efforts to rescue others often result in dependency. Coaching can support movement toward eff ective partnerships.

Burn-Out—When leaders actually believe their work is more important than their well-being, coaching can help them create a culture of self-care.

Board Development—When board members avoid fundraising or lack the skills to provide oversight, coaching can help to develop a fully engaged board.

Dependency—Ways of working with low-income clients may create dependency and lack of motivation for self-sufficiency. Creating a coaching culture within the organization and with clients creates interdependence.

Leadership Capacity—When nonprofits put clients first and staff last, they don’t invest in their own professional development. Coaches can support capacity building through leadership coaching.

Powerlessness—When social change advocates lack the political savvy to effect change, they become heartbroken and turn on each other. Coaches can re-invigorate organizations by helping colleagues reconnect with their dreams and create sustainable action plans.

Related to organizational challenges are a host of opportunities for coaches. When coaches are curious about the unique challenges their organizational clients face, they can craft a relationship that effectively serves the individuals or teams they support.

Some of the opportunities for coaches in organizational work include working individually with executives, mid-level managers or nonprofit leaders or working with groups such as corporate teams, nonprofit boards or nonprofit staff. Coaches can also teach coaching skills, facilitate workshops for visioning, strategic planning or teambuilding and support team growth and development. Coaching contributes to improved team dynamics, communication, trust building, empathy, feedback and shared values.

Benefits of Coaching in Organizations
The command, coercion and control model might work in emergencies, but can fail to tap the full range of human potential. Today, when empowered employees resolve problems, continuous performance improvement frequently becomes a way of life.

It is a rare organization that hasn’t experienced the stress of workforce reductions, budget cuts and streamlined operations. At the same time, people everywhere want a sense of meaning, satisfaction and respect for the work they do. Coaching empowers individuals to develop their leadership potential, so that they engage in their work wholeheartedly and affect the bottom line. Rather than fearing the consequences of change, coached employees embrace change and collaborate to create a better future.

Some of the benefits of coaching in organizations:

  • Increases job satisfaction by building morale and trust
  • Promotes focused professional development
  • Facilitates career advancement and succession planning
  • Attracts, develops and retains talented leaders
  • Fosters creativity, innovation and team spirit

In addition to collecting a paycheck, work is an important source of human fulfillment, a way to develop potential and an outlet for creative expression. Coaching can encourage employees to bring their best ideas and efforts to the workplace, increasing commitment to the organization and its overall success.

Different from mentors or consultants, skillful coaches rarely provide solutions or advice. Instead, a coach facilitates what’s most important to the person being coached by asking rigorous questions. The coaching relationship helps people focus, connect with what’s important, explore new possibilities and choose an action plan. Attuned to values and vision, a coach helps people build capacity, take leadership and maximize their contribution.

Coaching is a collaborative rather than an authoritarian relationship, with a focus on solutions rather than analyzing problems. The coach doesn’t need to be an expert in the client’s profession; the emphasis is on fostering awareness, setting and realizing challenging goals and facilitating sustained personal and organizational growth.


Coaching is life-changing, world-changing work. The coaching programs at Leadership that Works go beyond theories and models and work with clients on a deeper level. You learn how to coach the whole person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whole person Transformation.

Leadership that Works

Transforming the world.
One heart at a time.

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