When a company decides to offer a Coaching program to one of its professionals, an internal process is initiated to assign it to the coach that is most suitable for him or her.
In this sense there are several approaches based on how deeply rooted the culture of Coaching in the organization, as well as depending on the profiles involved in the process. In many cases the company has several coaching providers to be able to have a variety of development field professionals serving the different internal needs.
Some organizations even have a pool of internal coaches that are normally coordinated by the HR Development Department. They usually combine their work as a coach with other responsibilities in their area.
In any case, when a coach is assigned to a professional it is essential to create the necessary context to promote a successful relationship between one and the other. It is therefore that human resources professionals can establish the basis for creating an honest and complicit relationship between the two.
For this to be done, it is not possible to simplify the assignment of a coach to a manager only because they both retain similar personalities, or with the same professional background. Just what the participant in a Coaching program sometimes needs is someone very different from him or her. At the end, it is about looking for the best «mirror» and the one that most «inspires» the Coachee (who is being coached).
In other cases, on the contrary, looking for a similar profile (same professional history, or same personality preferences), can give Coachee the security to start believing in the change he or she needs.
What it is important is analyzing well, not only the adjustment Coach-Coachee, but also the moment of transition, and the objectives marked by this, since this will determine the successful choice of the coach.
In turn, some companies have specific allocation procedures in which the participants meet with two or three coaches, and then choose the one they consider most appropriate, or with which they feel better. In this case it is also important to be cautious that the Coachee does not fall into the most common errors when selecting:
- The «halo effect» (when we assume a person’s behavior based on an aspect of it, so we generalize)
- The «mirror effect» (when we look for someone who has traits common to me).
These effects can be very present, and therefore it is good to alert the coach about them during the meetings with the professionals.
Likewise, the option of whether the participant chooses the coach, or not, I think it should be based more on the maturity of the leadership of the person, and the reason for the why is within the process, and not because of following a policy of human resources that wants to be equal for all.
We must avoid that the good intention in democratizing, and by involving the coachee on his/her development process, does not become a choice that causes a less future learning transfer.
In any case, and to rectify possible unsuccessful assignments, the participant, as well as the coach, must know that they have the right (and also the obligation) to «break» the relationship, at any time after the first two sessions, if they do not feel connected, committed, or mutually legitimized to lead this development process.