How Embedded Coaches Think and Behave to Empower Excellent Workplaces

A ship's anchor on shore, on display.

What does an internal coach do?

The main responsibility of internal coaches is to responsively support others in the workplace by helping individuals to develop, use talents productively, respond to in-the-moment tensions, and authentically navigate life at work.

Embedded coaches work collaboratively with colleagues creating mutual understanding and supporting development trajectories. They must have capacity to connect with individuals regularly to understand evolving needs, perspectives, and ideas, as well as support talent development.

Readily available, embedded coaches are an employee benefit. Independent coaches support their clients; as you read, keep in mind that for internal coaches, clients are their workplace peers and/or those the coach mentors. Which (peers and/or mentees) depends on the parameters and focus of the organization’s coaching program.

Coaches anchor themselves to be present and attentive during coaching conversations. They work to be curious, appreciate ambiguity, and lead with positive intent. Intense attention is an acquired skill supported by these coaching tenets of Perception Coaching®:

1.The client is the expert regarding their life and perspectives.

2.The client chooses and pursues their best paths.

3.The client’s efforts and knowledge produce their best results.

The perspective of the client is acknowledged and valued. Client hopes and actions are anchored by preferences, talents, and competencies. Coaches help clients to explore and understand these and adjust them to best serve clients’ hopes.

Coaches create space for others to navigate life. Clients who reflect, think about the future, and make sound decisions are supported to adopt and sustain productive attitudes. The next three tenets help focus coaching conversations on the client’s experience and development:

4.The coach supports progress on goals.

5.The coach provides support and space to live authentically.

6.The coach responds authentically and without judgment.

Clients navigate barriers, opportunities, and multiple communities every day. Coaching conversations support them to focus on progress, hopes for the future, and leveraging their talents to face challenges. Coaches provide space for navigating setbacks; when clients have support and perspective, failures and mistakes result in robust learning and provide opportunities to identify needs, resources, and develop resilience.

Coaches focus on the future

Coaching conversations focus on the preferences of the client to fuel their progress toward goals and discover future opportunities.

Informal and formal coaches keep in mind, and remind those they coach, that they are not therapists nor counselors. Therapists and counselors help patients process past experiences to find healing or closure; the focus of coaching discussions is on the client’s targeted efforts to improve performance. Reminders of this or referrals are needed if coaching conversations uncover entrenched barriers, triggers, or attitudes due to past or current trauma.

Internal coaching programs invest in the training and development of coaches; they continuously increase the capacity of the coaches and those they support. With Perception Coaching®, the intentional layered approach develops and reinforces a culture which values diverse talents, continuous growth, and organizational excellence.