How Good Career Coaching is Revolutionizing Employee Retention and Engagement - International Coaching Federation
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How Good Career Coaching is Revolutionizing Employee Retention and Engagement

Posted by Erica Sosna | August 16, 2019 | Comments (4)

The “C” word has been somewhat verboten in companies for a while now. And for seemingly good reason. I’ve lost count of the people I’ve heard asking, “Why would we talk to our employees about their careers? We’d only be encouraging them to leave.”

But times are a-changing, and disruption in the world of work means we need to shift our thinking to keep our best talent and motivate them to do their best. The workforce is increasingly mobile and willing to give up a role that doesn’t feel right. We know the job for life is gone, and it’s the employees who are jumping ship.

But there is a revolution in the most committed companies—those with queues of applicants and a position in the 100 Best Places to Work. The recognition you can talk to your employees about their careers. And keep them!

A BlessingWhite study found 83% of employees indicated career support positively impacts their engagement. The same study showed “85% of individuals agreed, or strongly agreed, there is nothing wrong with staying in the same job if they can try new things or develop new skills.”

How can Career Coaching Engage Your Employees?

Career Conversations are an Engagement Tool

Taking time to talk to someone about what they want to achieve and helping them map out a path to achieve it creates a bond of trust. That conversation and commitment to helping them achieve their goals drives retention and loyalty. After all, you’ve discussed their future career with them and put your stake in the ground. By doing so, you put those other voices clamoring for your talent onto the back foot.

Genuine Information about Talent’s Likes and Dislikes, Goals and Plans

This means you’re better informed about how someone might react to certain situations. You’re tooled up with the information you need to keep star talent motivated and learning and are also able to head off—or at least prepare for—nasty resignation surprises.

Personalization is the Future of Work

Personalization is everywhere, and the workplace is no different. The static job description should be long gone; adapting a job role to the person in that position benefits both individual and organization. Talking to talent about their career aspirations gives us precious insight and helps us make the most of them by designing a role to meet their needs and those of the business.

A Case Study for Quality Career Coaching

One such progressive company set up a high potential program to address a sparse leadership pipeline. As well as reducing their dependence on external recruitment, they wanted more homegrown executives that know and understand how the business works.

The 18-month program consists of a mix of leadership training, mentoring and personal development. It is complemented by structured Career Coaching that helps participants describe and own their careers. Through the “Your Career Plan Method,” Career Matters has equipped this talent population to own their career opportunities, not just in this division of the firm, but across all brands and entities that make up this global insurance business. The program puts the person at the heart of career design and ensures the individual, not the manager or talent coach, is in charge of their career and future. After all, no one will know more or care more about their career than they will. On this, they are always the expert.

It wasn’t just the talent who benefited from Career Coaching education. The company was concerned that “managers aren’t always equipped to support High Potential employees or have the knowledge about available roles”. Career Matters has worked with managers to build their confidence in having Career Coaching conversations. Managers are in close proximity to talent. Career Coaching skills mean they are better equipped to respond to high potentials and help them progress to the next stage of their career.

It’s clear the program is working, from the anecdotal—overwhelming positive feedback from participants—to the hard facts—40% of the high potential population has progressed to a new role and the talent is seen as a target for exciting new roles. The company has a stream of motivated homegrown talent who are clear on their career path and confident in the support they’ll receive. They’re engaged in the company they’re working for and in it for the long haul.

Career Coaching? One of the best investments a company can make.

erica sosna headshot

Erica Sosna

Erica Sosna is a two-time TEDX speaker, the author of Your Life Plan (Wiley, 2014) and the go-to expert in careers and the future world of work. Her Career Matters consultancy and unique Career Equation method have helped thousands of people in some of the world’s best companies to define their career next steps and harness their skills and gifts to do remarkable work. Erica also trains other qualified coaches in her method and is a popular conference speaker. Begin your journey to career clarity at

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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Comments (4)

  1. It’s interesting that career support positively impacts employee engagement and I’m glad you mentioned it. I think that people are content when they’re learning about or doing something that interests them. That’s why career coaching and other things like that are so important.

  2. My cousin has just started working in his career and he wants to make sure that he can be the best and be more productive in his area. He doesn’t have a lot of experience so getting a professional to help coach him could be really useful and allow him to be more effective. Thanks for the tips about how he will have the right information about his career and be able to map out a path to achieve it.

  3. I agree that you will build a great bond of trust with someone after talking about what you want to achieve and mapping out how to do it. Not a lot of people do that for one another. To me, it seems worth hiring a coach that will truly help you out like that.

  4. It’s awesome that you talked about how companies are helping their employees by hiring career coaches. In my opinion, a coach could help you find your life goal and reach it. If I were to manage a company, I think it’d be a good idea to encourage my workers and help them grow, so I’ll definitely look for a professional’s help. Thanks for the information on how a coach helps with employee retention.

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