The Progress Coaching Blog

    Build Your "Talent Bench"​ Through Coaching

    January 23, 2017 Posted by : Tim Hagen
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    We hear the term all the time-bench strength. I think this term is used all too often as a reactionary method in case people leave the organization. However, a talent bench is when an organization proactively develops talent that can be used within the department as well as throughout the organization. A talent bench is a strategic asset that a company chooses to build to fill future management positions as well as supplemental leadership positions.

    People leave organizations because they view that their opportunities are limited from a management or promotional aspect.

    What if organizations created supplementary leadership positions such as peer-based coaches or junior coaches? By creating opportunities for improvement and movement, motivation to stay increases retention.

    Why does a company need to create a talent bench? A major reason companies need a talent bench is certainly to back fill future leadership position openings as well as create leadership openings. In addition, it solves one of the most fundamental flaws in organizations-the ability to retain top talent. We tend to leave top talent alone because we typically don't have to worry about them EXCEPT when they leave the organization. We avoid this reactionary challenge by maintaining engagement by giving them a taste as well as proper professional preparation for future leadership positions.

    Here is a five-step strategy to build a talent bench:

    1. Have each department train 20% of employees to coach- If we use this as a metric we maintain a proper framework and conscientious organizational behavior to top talent development and succession planning. This assists that department as well as other departments.
    2. Create Junior Coaches - Junior coaches are those people who do not directly support or manage people. They are coaching assistants that help with middle or under performing talent. How can an organization prepare people for Junior coaching? Here are a few activities that will assist in that endeavor:
    • Read a book
    • Lead a meeting
    • Assigned junior coaches to one employee, only providing positive feedback when they exhibit tendencies or behaviors that are moving in the right direction

    3. Teach how to provide peer-based feedback to peer-based coaches - A peer-based coach is someone who is directly assigned to coaching somebody else. This is not mentoring rather coaching, though mentoring strategies could be utilized. Typically, peer- based coaches will provide one-on-one coaching much like a direct manager would. The key is to teach peer-based coaches feedback strategies to assure feedback is given as well as received properly. Here are two examples:

    • Permission - A permission-based question positions appear base coach to ask someone for permission to provide feedback. This assures that the feedback is received more openly when somebody provides that nod of approval. Here's an example of a permission-based question: Tom would you mind if I shared with you a perspective where I think you have an opportunity to improve?
    • The Sword - The sword positions the peer base coach to provide feedback that might be viewed as aggressive but positions the peer-based coach to own the reason why they're asking such a question. For example, here is a sample question using the sword: Tom so I don't make assumptions which would be unfair to you what you going to do…?

    4. Create a curriculum of knowledge , skill and behavior - The curriculum for Junior and peer based coaches should be a combination of knowledge such as reading books or taking online courses, skills that facilitate practice and simulation such as providing feedback, and behavioral which could be indicative of someone completing a curriculum list of activities that demonstrate accountability.

    5. Reward & Observe One Another - One of the most powerful things organizations can do is to assign people who have no coaching right or responsibility whatsoever but are challenged to reward and recognize other people within their department as well as across departments. This shows initiative and the people who could become future talent leaders.


    Interested in learning more about dealing with different attitudes in your workplace? Check out our free e-book: Coaching Negative Attitudes in the Workplace:

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    The Keys to a Successful Coaching Business

    About Author

    Tim Hagen
    Tim Hagen

    Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. Tim is often a keynote speaker at companies teaching the value of coaching and conversations in the workplace. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges specific to workplace performance. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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