By Jeremy Thorn

Who do you think might benefit the most from an opportunity for Executive Coaching? Would it be just for those who show promising career potential, do you think, or could there be others? And although coaching has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years, is this the only alternative to a more formal programme of management development? It doesn’t have to be! Last week, in the first part of this two part article, I looked at who might benefit from coaching. In this second part, I will explore and what alternative solutions and approaches are available.

Coaching Solutions

Executive Coaching may not be the only solution for any the above situations, but it is certainly a very flexible, cost-effective and tailored process. It also answers many prospective coaching clients’ concerns about any type of development activity, such as:

Alternatives to coaching

What other development processes might you consider? Rather separate from coaching, some might prefer to have a Mentor. While a coach’s job is primarily to help a client to develop new skills, as a specific project with agreed objectives and outcomes, a mentor’s role is predominantly to share relevant experience, reflection and accumulated wisdom, usually over a rather longer timescale. Coaching and Mentoring actually employ very different processes, and often imply rather different relationships. It may well be worth considering both options with a provider before deciding which is best for each individual.

Alternatively —even additionally - some may learn best from their peers, either through a ‘Peer Review Group’, or through a slightly more formal ‘Action Learning Set’ with more specific learning objectives. The principle of both of these approaches is to share common problems and probable solutions together, so that in effect members of the group become coaches of each other, guided by an external facilitator.

In many larger organisations, such groups can be drawn together from amongst their own colleagues across the globe. However, smaller organisation can still be very well catered for, by mixing people of similar seniority from completely different organisations and sectors in their locality, such as offered by the Academy for Chief Executives for example, UK-wide. Whether members are drawn from within their own organisation or outside, both types of groups can work exceptionally well.

And finally, you may want to consider Team Coaching. Like 1:1 coaching, there will be some clearly agreed goals and a formal process, but designed for the whole team rather than any one individual.


As the cliché has it, most organisations do genuinely recognise that their staff are at least one of their most valuable assets, if not their most valuable. But not only do good managers need help and training to become great leaders, they need continuing development as their roles change. And this applies to all managers, not just those picked out for a talent-management programme.

This development can’t happen easily without an employers’ support, but it can be greatly facilitated through several different options. All of the above processes can have a significant effect on a manager’s performance, impact and motivation. And as with many management challenges, there need not be just one solution.

Read Catching A Coach -Part 1- Who Needs Coaching?

Watch a video of the Academy for Chief Executives Speaker Showcase at The Grand Connaught Rooms in 2009, where speakers talked about new ideas.


Jeremy Thorn is the author of several prize-winning business books, an experienced Non-Executive Director, Leadership Coach and top-team Workshop Facilitator. He is particularly well-known for his work on strategic organisational development and ‘win-win’ negotiation workshops across a wide array of organisations in both the private and public sectors, internationally. Feel free to email Jeremy@JeremyThorn.co.uk or go to www.JeremyThorn.co.uk to read more about Jeremy.

As part of the Academy Community, professional speakers, such as Jeremy, witness first hand the power of leaders learning with leaders. The Academy process, experiential business learning, provides a unique environment for CEOs and MDs to hear how other leaders are developing their businesses and themselves, and how they are motivating their own people. For more information visit www.chiefexecutive.com

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