Becoming an internal coach within a company is a profession that is growing. More and more, companies are seeing the value in developing their own internal team of coaches as they understand the value and impact that coaching can have on business growth and professional development. If you have a passion for coaching, helping people be their best and see the value of driving business through supporting its people then becoming an internal coach can be incredibly rewarding. Personally, I loved my past internal coaching role and have found it very fulfilling; however, it does come with it’s own set of challenges which are important to consider. Here are some questions that may help with that consideration:
Is the company committed to a coaching strategy and/or creating a coaching culture?
If yes, then you may be moving into a role that will lead significant change and impact within the company. That may come with a lot of excitement and reward and it also may come with its own set of pressures such as attaining metrics that can seem intangible. If the company is not committed to a coaching strategy/culture then are you moving to a role that will be valued and still exist in 2-5 years?
Are you ok with boundaries?
Being an internal coach offers opportunity to connect with interesting leaders and create trusting relationships. These relationships are often a very fulfilling part of the role but they can sometimes be difficult to manage in an internal setting. You will require a high level of confidentiality and have to make peace that your coachees may be less comfortable engaging with you in company social events. You will be seen as a person of high trust and ethics and your behaviour will be noted if it deviates from this path (fair or unfair). This doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink or friendly chat with your colleagues but you need to realise that you are never not a coach in their eyes and your reputation is everything.
Is your company willing to invest in accredited coaching training?
The answer to this will signal their commitment to coaching in general. It is extremely important and I would argue ethical, to obtain proper accredited coach training to be an effective internal coach. The International Coaching Federation is the largest and most globally recognised accreditation while there are other regional bodies such as the European Coaching and Mentoring Council. It is important to have accredited training through one of the regulatory bodies so you are best prepared and skilled to enter a highly demanding role.
Internal coaching is a hugely fulfilling and impactful role where you may have opportunities to work directly with executives on complex strategic issues, support leaders to be more impactful, and work with teams on their effectiveness. This role is not for everyone but if you are passionate about coaching and want the stability and comradery of being within a company, this could be a great career path for you!