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Using intervention tools in coaching



This year I have been asked more than ever before for coaching programmes to include feedback or an insights tool and I am curious as to why this may be.

Let me be clear that the most in demand coaching intervention tools that I have been asked for this year have been Hogan, Discovery Insights and Stakeholder 360 reports or Korn Ferry Leadership 360. These all have their individual uses as insight providers around work preferences, personality preferences, values and motivation and direct feedback against work competencies and behaviours but why have they been commissioned more than normally this year?


Typically, they are deployed after session one so that coaching goals can be set up first.  This means the exploration of the reports that these tools offer can offer perspective - like a pair of glasses focusing on the client’s world. Importantly, the reports need debriefing with the goals in mind as well as offering challenge to the worldviews and personal views that the client is holding about themselves in the context of the goal. The intervention then becomes useful and can be combined with enquiry questions which expand the view of the client to what they can change to meet their objectives – all without any judgement from us as the coach.


For the remainder of the coaching programme the client typically will reference the tools and what the insights have offered as they notice the business-as-usual implications or changes in relationships or ways of working. It is also wonderful if the ownership of the self-awareness extends to sharing the reports with line managers, direct reports and even partners and family who can act, in support of the coaching goals, as cheerleaders. This is the value of the tools in the long term which justifies the additional costs of their use.


So why is more needed to kick-start change? Could it be that we are seeing the impact of isolation from the office and virtual working as there is less opportunity for feedback day to day? Distance has created a void in sharing feedback informally and aiding peoples’ view of how they are doing and maybe this is what formal intervention is replacing. Working face to face also helps us evaluate who we are and how preferences are working for us. Without the stimulus from observation of similarities and differences in others we find it hard to locate ourselves. I also fear that having awkward conversations where colleagues call out difficult behaviours is in another period where we are afraid to say what is there for fear of reprisal or enhanced conflict. This is certainly a topic that is coming up in most coaching sessions and it is not a surprise as there is more job security anxiety and increased pressure to not rock the boat. The 360 tools give colleagues a chance to express themselves anonymously. It’s a shame but at least perspectives are offered that may otherwise be hidden from view. 


All of this needs consideration as a coaching solopreneur. How do you manage, get accredited and licensed for the tools use and retain a quality of delivery to aid your client’s development, support the organization’s message and retain a strong relationship with your client at the same time. It is not a surprise that coaches need support for this and seek it in supervision and with other licensed practitioners.


What do you think are the reasons for more investment in tools as stimulus for change?

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