The importance of hiring the right coach and the available options has been extensively addressed by Leslie Allan in his book, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance. Allan points out that the coach plays a major role in determining whether your coaching program will be a failure or a success. He or she may be someone with a prior working relationship with your organization's employees and may be hired from within or outside the organization.
A manager is one of the internal coach options suggested by Allan. By manager, he is referring to anyone in a leadership position within the organization such as the supervisor or team leader; someone who the employee's report to directly or who is higher up the managerial ladder. Those higher up bring in some degree of objectivity and are best suited for leadership, professional and interpersonal skills coaching. Managers are a good choice if the training involves technical aspects that they are conversant with. It will also serve to make managers more productive and to strengthen the manager-employee working relationship. You can also choose a trainer especially if the coaching program is related to a running training course. Through a trainer, the employees will be able to apply the skills acquired in the training course on the job. The trainer possesses the required knowledge and is familiar with the learning styles of each employee. Subject matter experts also make good coaches as they possess the relevant expertise in a particular area and can pass this on to employees. In all choices, you should ensure that the coach has the necessary coaching skills and the time (Allan, 2008)
Allan also offers suggestions on who to hire outside the organization. These include external consultants who are skilled in coaching and who bring in objectivity due to their unfamiliarity with the organization. Peers can also be hired and these are people working in the same level as the employees being coached. This is somewhat unconventional but can be made to work by encouraging employees to share their work experiences and learn from them. You do not have to work with a single option only and can organize for multiple coaching interactions which will cater to the learning styles of each employee. The quality of the coach's skills is crucial and should not be overlooked. The coaching schedule should also be made available to participants and a system of monitoring and evaluation set up to monitor the program's success (Allan, 2008).
Choosing the right coach for your employees is not an easy task. You have to ensure that he or she is the best possible candidate for the job and will bring out the best in your employees. Allan's book offers great insight into the hiring of coaches and is a great read for employers seeking to create a good coaching environment for their employees. His proposition to hire managers from within the organization as coaches is especially valuable since they are the best placed to ensure the success of the program. This is because they are in constant contact with the employees and therefore understand his or her background, including strengths and weaknesses very well. Being managers, they should possess at least the technical skills for the job that they will pass on to the employees through training. Most employees look up to their managers for direction and if coached by them, are likely to put more effort to appear productive and increase their