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The Internal Coach Playbook

By Joseph R. Weintraub, PhD, Elaine Eisenman, PhD, and Sam Perkins

Carol, an excellent technical designer identified as having high management potential, was promoted to head up a new office. Unenthusiastic about the practical benefits of evening classes in management, her boss decided to ask for a coach from the Human Resources team to work with Carol as an internal coach. With substantial experience in and knowledge about the company’s culture and politics, the coach guided Carol through her initial months, greatly accelerating her transition to being a first-time manager and helping her navigate the potential pitfalls inherent in most organizations.

The coach continued to work with Carol as she built her group, and the high-impact, low-cost intervention attracted significant attention. Within a year, people were lined up requesting similar internal coaching, which now had gained a reputation as a desirable developmental opportunity.

Might your organization also benefit from an internal coaching initiative? And, if so, how? In this article, we discuss three approaches to inform your decision making:

  • Recognizing internal coaching as a distinct competency
  • Understanding the keys to effectiveness
  • Anticipating challenges

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About the Authors

Joseph R. Weintraub, PhD

Joseph Weintraub is an Organizational Psychologist who focuses in the areas of individual and organizational effectiveness. He teaches and consults in the areas of leadership development, coaching, team effectiveness, human resources, and performance management. Dr. Weintraub is the Founder and Faculty Director of the Babson Coaching for Leadership and Teamwork Program. His work on coaching has received several awards including the Management Development Paper of the Year from the Academy of Management and recognition for innovative practices in business education from the Carnegie Foundation. He is the co-author of the books The Coaching Manager: Developing Top Talent in Business and The Coaching Organization: A Strategy for Developing Leaders.

Elaine Eisenman, PhD

Elaine Eisenman is Dean of Executive Education at Babson College, the number one school in the world for entrepreneurship education. In this role, she is a member of the Babson President’s Cabinet, and is responsible for the strategy and growth of this Financial Times top-rated executive education division, as well as for the public sector educational and foundation partner programs in entrepreneurship. She also is responsible for the management of the top‐rated Babson Executive Conference Center. Dr. Eisenman’s career includes experience as a business leader and general manager, HR executive, private and public Board member, and organizational consultant. Her areas of expertise include executive selection, transition, and succession, and the alignment of strategy, selection, compensation, and performance during periods of growth and transformation.

Sam Perkins

Sam Perkins is a Senior Researcher at Babson College, where he develops cases for Babson’s custom executive education programs. Over the past fifteen years, Mr. Perkins has written more than more than 150 case studies on topics ranging from entrepreneurial finance to corporate strategy in Fortune 100 companies. Subject companies include: Alcon, EMC, Estee Lauder, Infineon, Ingersoll Rand, Medtronic, MetLife, Sodexho, and the US Navy. He has also published half a dozen articles in management journals. Mr. Perkins received an A.B. from Princeton University and an MBA from Babson College.​​​

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