This is, perhaps, an area which is often misunderstood by some Irish Organisations and it is true to say that, relative to the UK and US business environment, we are a number of years behind in terms of embracing the benefits of this discipline. There are, of course, some Irish-based organisations that are indeed well advanced in integrating BEC (Business and Executive Coaching) as a key element of their management and employee development strategy. These are, typically, the larger multinational and Irish (State and semi-state) organisations.

Useful definitions of BEC:

A one to one conversation focused on the enhancement of learning and development through increasing self-awareness and sense of personal ability where the coach facilitates the self-directed learning of the Coachee through questioning, active listening and appropriate challenge in a supportive and encouraging climate - (Van Nieuwerburgh, 2012).

A one-on-one intervention with an individual who is not the executive's (or employee’s) supervisor, where the focus is on job-related issues such as demonstrating leadership behaviours, managing change/transitions and improving performance or avoiding derailment - (paraphrased from McDermott, Levenson & Newton, 2007).

Coaching is a robust and challenging intervention, is results driven, delivers tangible added value, is typically a short term or intermittent engagement and enables the attainment of high standards or goals – (Grant in Handbook of Coaching Psychology, 2007).

Actus offers BEC to both Companies and to Individuals. A Coaching Engagement with a manager, for example, will typically consist of six one-to-one sessions spread out over about three to four months. A Coaching Contract is initially reviewed and agreed by the Client (or Coachee), the Coach and the Company (where the client is being supported by a Company). The Coach is responsible for the management and facilitation of the coaching process, while the Client is responsible for identifying and owning the goal and for his/her commitment to the process. Since coaching is a goal-focussed or change-focussed discipline, there are different reasons why a company or an individual will engage a professional coach. Most common among these are:

  • To develop potential high-performers – to help realise elements of that potential
  • To facilitate job/role transition for managers
  • To assist with change-management at an individual or team level
  • To act as a ‘sounding board’ for senior managers/executives (e.g. business strategy, key decisions, etc.)
  • To address behavioural or management style challenges among individuals

Since Coaching is generally a one-two-one engagement it is critically important that there is a positive ‘chemistry’ between Client and Coach. The top two identified critical success factors for a coaching engagement are: the quality of the client-coach relationship and the competence of the coach. Therefore, getting the ‘match’ right is important. Actus ensures that this is inherent to the process. As part of our service offering we are certified to administer personality profile testing, which can be a very useful and powerful method of client feedback, supporting the development of self-awareness. When used as an integral part of the coaching engagement, such testing can facilitate positive change in the client.