How to Be an Effective Sponsor of Coaching
Coaching is a significant investment in an individual leader. In Nebo’s nearly two decades of delivering coaching solutions in organizations, we know that effective sponsors – or supervisors – can greatly influence the outcomes of coaching, thus maximizing the organization’s return on investment.
To increase your effectiveness as a sponsor, consider the five tips below:
1. Be Clear Regarding Your Vision of Success
At the start of the coaching, the leader who is receiving coaching – or the coaching client -will share a draft coaching objective for the engagement. Effective sponsors offer clear feedback around the objective(s) and make sure that the client is clear on the sponsor’s vision of success for the coaching experience. Sponsors should clearly articulate their expectations, such as specific behaviors that will be different and/or results that will be achieved as a result of the coaching.
2. Look for Change and Offer Encouragement
Behavioral change takes time and may at first be invisible to external audiences. The coaching objective is often only known to the client, the sponsor and the coach. Effective sponsors notice when the leader is practicing new habits, and they share feedback and encouragement. Recognition from the sponsor has the power to inspire the coaching client to keep putting in the effort even if no one else is aware of the change.
3. Take an Interest in the Coaching
Highly effective sponsors demonstrate an interest in the coaching engagement. Regularly checking in with the coaching client and asking how the engagement is going reminds the client that the sponsor is invested in the coaching experience. Some powerful questions to pose to coaching clients at regular intervals might include:
- “How is the coaching going for you?”
- “What are you and your coach working on right now?”
- “What was one big takeaway from the assessment debrief with your coach?”
- “What is getting in your way?”
4. Offer Support
A sponsor has significant influence over a coaching client’s experience within an organization. Effective sponsors ask coaching clients what they need and offer support. By identifying opportunities for the coaching client to work on their coaching objectives, a sponsor can greatly impact the experience. For example, if a client is working on her executive presence, the sponsor might create more opportunities for the client to lead meetings and/or present in front of groups.
5. Identify Next Steps
When a coaching engagement reaches completion, we encourage the coach, client and sponsor to come together for a final conversation. During this discussion, the sponsor will have the opportunity to listen to what the client has learned and how they have grown. Effective sponsors offer feedback with specific examples of changes and successes they have noticed as a result of the coaching. Sponsors are encouraged to collaborate with the coaching client to identify next steps and how the client will sustain the learning and growth now that the supportive accountability of the coaching relationship has come to an end.
Highly engaged clients make the most of their coaching engagements. An involved and effective sponsor can help to ensure that the organization is getting the most of its investment while creating opportunities for dialogue and positive feedback between the client and the sponsor.
Would you like your leaders to be more effective sponsors of coaching? Contact us to arrange for a conversation with a leader from our Coaching Solutions team.