News & Insight
June 2013

How High-Performance Organizations Accelerate Executive Leadership Development

Ineffective leadership coaching is costly and impedes development, according to the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), a research organization that focuses on practices that drive market performance, has released new research that reveals that organizational ineffectiveness at coaching future leaders is potentially costing companies and shareholders in a big way.

i4cp’s new report, How High-Performance Organizations Accelerate Executive Leadership Development, offers three key leadership development approaches that characterize high-performance organizations:
Of the three practices discussed in the report, executive coaching has the highest correlation to market performance—defined by revenue, profit, market share and customer satisfaction—yet 44% of organizations say they’re not effective at coaching high-potential employees.

  1. Call upon trusted individuals for mentoring and professional colleagues for coaching.
  2. Utilize high-visibility assignments as well as hands-on developmental opportunities.
  3. Access internal resources and external institutions to provide leadership development learning content.

the people The biggest source of this deficiency falls on managers and supervisors. In fact, 51% of survey respondents (a mix of human resources and business leaders) indicated that leaders who are ineffective at coaching high-potential employees are the top hindrance to the success of leadership development programs.

“Of course, managers who are ineffective at coaching their employees are just a symptom of a deeper issue,” said Donna Parrey, senior analyst at i4cp and study author. “This latest research offers clear evidence that organizations need to do more to support their managers. Providing leaders with adequate training on how to coach effectively is critical to both coach and coachee, and that in turn can have a significant impact on financial performance.”

Approaches High-Performance Organizations Favor
The study asked about the extent to which participants’ organizations used 11 practices to accelerate employees on the path to leadership. The report takes a look at those used by HPOs to the highest extents (very high/high) as well as the practices that most differentiated High-Performance Organizations from Low-Performance Organizations and those correlated to market performance.

  • Internal and external resources – The study found that HPOs find value in both in-house leadership development training as well as external academic or leadership development programs.
  • Mentors and coaches – The use of formal or informal mentors was found to be a big differentiator for HPOs in the study, and the use of coaches—from superiors, peers or external coaching professionals—was the practice found to be the most highly correlated to market performance. For executives, external coaching professionals may be the most relevant option and offer several advantages: they are not ingrained in the politics of the organization, they are certified in the intricacies of coaching, and they are accustomed to bringing out the best in a wide variety of personalities, including those who resist coaching.
  • High-visibility and hands-on learning – Study participants value getting exposure to the board of directors as well as opportunities to engage in experiential/action learning. Both are practices that differentiate HPOs from LPOs.

This research was developed in conjunction with i4cp’s Executive Leadership Development Exchange, a peer working group that includes AT&T, Cargill, Pitney Bowes, Toyota Financial Services and several other leading organizations. A complimentary abbreviated synopsis of the report is now available on the i4cp website and i4cp members have exclusive access to download the full report now.

Headquartered in New York City, WJM Associates is a recognized leader in the fields of executive and organizational development. WJM has a Faculty of over 300 experienced executive coaches and consultants delivering coaching, assessment and other organizational effectiveness services throughout the world. To learn how we can assist you, visit, contact one of our Account Directors toll free at 1-877-667-4647 or email us at [email protected]..

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