One of my favorite reports is the annual Corporate Issues Survey by Ken Blanchard Companies. The report reveals the top challenges for Organizations, Management, Employee Development and Human Resources. In the 2008 report, the top five challenges in each area are as follows:

Organizational Challenges
1. Competitive Pressure
2. Economic Challenges (new in 2008)
3. Growth and Expansion
4. Skill Shortages
5. Culture Change (new in 2008)

Management Challenges
1. Creating an Engaged Workforce
2. Managing Change (new in 2008)
3. Developing Potential Leaders
4. Selecting and retaining key talent
5. Communicating mission, vision and values (new in 2008)

Employee Development Challenges
1. Performance Management (new in 2008)
2. Manager/Supervisor Skills
3. Interpersonal Communication Skills
4. Team Building Skills
5. Customer Relationship Skills

Human Resources Challenges
1. Connecting training to business results
2. Sustaining training with follow-up and reinforcement
3. Strategic alignment of training goals and business initiatives
4. Embracing a coaching culture
5. Measuring the effectiveness of training

You can see how all of the above challenges relate to each other, both within each category and between the categories. For example, let¡¦s take the first challenge listed in each category. The organizational challenge of competitive pressure makes creating an engaged workforce of paramount importance. Performance management becomes more streamlined if you have an engaged workforce. Finally, if HR was successful in connecting training to business results, that would be in complete alignment with effective performance management, which would create an engaged workforce, which would reduce competitive pressures. The point is that all of these challenges are tightly interwoven and interdependent on each other.

This line of thinking sounds good in theory, but the big dilemma is determining what is the best way to maximize the dollars spent on human capital, an organization¡¦s most valuable asset. Due to the tight economy and the pressure to produce results, TIME is of the essence. The adage, ¡§time is money¡¨ is especially true today in the midst of a severe recession. Therefore, companies need to make sure their investment in employee development has a substantial ROI, where results can be both tracked and measured. If you can¡¦t determine the ROI, then it is a waste of everyone¡¦s time and money! There is no built-in accountability for most training and development programs.

I believe that creating a coaching culture with coaching initiatives is the best way to go as coaching can address all the challenges listed in the Blanchard Survey. Results are immediate and ongoing when a company embraces coaching. The key is to be crystal clear about what the specific desired outcomes are, when they will be achieved and knowing what that will look like once they are achieved. There are effective ways to measure just about everything, even intangibles like communication, morale and team effectiveness.

To further ensure successful outcomes, it is important that you trust the coach(es) that will be working with you or within your company. One way to develop trust is during the initial consultation or interview. You would not hire someone you did not trust. Besides checking your most valuable indicator, your intuition, ask for actual case studies showing ROI¡¦s achieved for other clients. Testimonials and references are also important. Because there is no licensing required to become a coach, ask for coaching certification credentials. You can then research the coaching school to make sure it is accredited or endorsed by the International Coaching Federation. A certification does not make a successful coach, but does tell you that he or she has actual coaching experience, a big part of the coaching curriculum. A coach worth his or her salt will also expect to be compensated based on achieving agreed upon results, not for just showing up.

Most importantly, at the end of the day, here is what a great coach can do for you and your team:

„« Use a Mastermind approach-Be a trusted advisor, consultant, friend, mentor, role model, fan and accountability partner.
„« Assist you with creating or revising your company¡¦s vision, mission, values and goals.
„« Improve attitudes to assist you with navigating through these challenging economic times.
„« Eliminate behaviors that are costing your company money. Create new behaviors that generate more sales and profit.
„« Be an objective sounding board so you can confidently make impactful decisions and stand by them. No more operating in isolation.
„« Keep you fully engaged and on purpose in your work and personal life.
„« Keep you focused on profitable outcomes: Increasing sales, revenues and team-member retention. Improve customer /client/guest experience. Find and reduce hidden expenses.
„« Build confidence. Managers at all levels may sometimes feel like imposters when they aren¡¦t sure how to learn and perform new tasks or don¡¦t know where to go for the answers. No one likes to look incompetent.
„« Create depth in your talent pool-Transform managers into leaders and leaders into legends!
„« Create super productive teams. No one individual has all the skills, knowledge, contacts or reputation to get the job done.
„« Reduce stress by prioritizing goals and tasks. (I can only imagine the stress statistics that will be reported about this time in history!)
„« More quality free time and improved energy.
„« Improve Emotional Intelligence, which dramatically boosts sales and also is responsible for 80% of success in life.
„« Improved business and personal relationships
„« Whatever else you desire to move forward!
Coaching is a partnership with individuals and teams that deliberately improves and accelerates goal attainment and performance. One of the most exciting things about coaching is that you get to choose the agenda for yourself and/or your organization. The coach¡¦s only objective is to help you get there as diligently and quickly as possible. Again, time is money!
Remember, the average ROI for executive and business coaching is 600%, but can reach into the thousands when fully embraced.

Chris Williams is a CTA certified Executive Coach with Inspirational Consulting & Coaching, LLC. Chris works with high-achieving executives, managers, entrepreneurs and professionals in achieving extraordinary results for their companies and themselves. He transforms managers into leaders and leaders into legends! To schedule your complimentary 30-minute coaching session, call Chris at (928) 284-1509 or email him at

Author's Bio: 

Chris has thirty years of business leadership experience in the hospitality, service and tourism industries. After a successful career working in both corporate America and on Main Street, Chris decided to pursue his dream of inspiring others to be all they can be. He is now and executive leadership coach, consultant, author and speaker. Chris's passion is to work with executives, entreprenuers and professionals in creating powerful visions for their companies along with a smart action plan to make them more sustainable and profitable. Chris is an advocate for values driven leadership and believes it is the key to business and personal success.

Chris lives in rural Arizona with his wife and two young daughters. When he is not coaching, writing and speaking, he enjoys spending quality time with his family, volunteering in his church and community, reading leadership books and articles, cooking, yoga, jogging, gardening and golf a couple of times a year.