About coaching cultures and Global Talent Management

Although the terms ‘coaching culture’ and Global Talent Management have been used and understood in different ways, coaching has become a vital tool within organizations for overall employee development. A robust ‘coaching culture’ has been linked with increasing employee engagement and retention and as well as with better financial performance. The top 5 reasons why organizations turn to coaching are: 1) leadership development strategy, improvement of 1) communication skills, 2) teamwork, 3) decision-making, 4) productivity and employee engagement (ICF report Building a coaching culture 2014).


 Indeed, during the last years, the perception of coaching has transformed from being a remedial support intervention to a highly wanted and practiced tool for leadership development. Further, international employees are today viewed as an important part of the global talent pool and there is strong evidence that the experience of living and working abroad is necessary for the development of global competencies. Although international coaching research is scarce, coaching has been recommended for global managers and expatriates. Also, more and more companies invest in building coaching cultures and train their managers and HR professionals in coaching skills. Studies indicate that companies that excel in talent management are heavily investing in leadership development and make it an integral part of their culture. They involve their senior leaders and line managers, who are supposed to act as mentors and coaches in the process.


 If coaching’s nature has changed, so has the working environment altered significantly:

The current global environment is marked with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Internationally operating companies and their managers face various challenges. There is shortage of talented workers, changing demographics, changing attitudes toward work and the structure of work, and country culture differences. Managers working abroad may confront identity transformations and there are several paradoxes concerning their job-related roles. Global travel, which is often associated with international jobs, creates physical, emotional, and intellectual stress.  In addition, managers have to acquire new skills. As the fresh PhD thesis of Johanna Saarinen (2016) at Aalto University, Finland, shows, managers are, among many other things expected to give regular feedback, listen, coach, and support career development of their subordinates in the global virtual working context.


It has been suggested by Human Resource Management scholars that it would be beneficial if global mobility and global talent management would be combined. Also, it has been argued that coaching should be driven by talent management strategy and supported by the top management. The importance of role models in building a coaching culture is evident – why should managers embrace coaching if their own managers neither model nor reinforce the importance of coaching?


Although companies value coaching based managerial practice, only 13 % of them (ICF Building a coaching culture 2014) could be classified having a strong coaching culture. Further, scholars argue also that companies do not fully benefit from coaching because it is not implemented and managed in a systematic way. For this reason is adequate to ask, what are the best practices for the implementation of coaching in MNCs?


I conducted a multiple case study on the topic ‘Coaching of Key Talents in Multinational Companies’, published by Springer in 2014 as a part of my PhD thesis. Based on the findings of this study, I summarized the following best practices for organizations implementing coaching as follows:

·      Develop a long term integration and implementation strategy for coaching which is aligned with the overall strategy and organizational goals and which is supported by top management

·      Define coaching and coaching processes at the beginning of the implementation

·      Create a support team for coaching consisting of members experienced in international business and in living and working abroad, and which includes a coaching champion(s) with a professional coach training background

·      Align Global Talent Management and coaching

·      Integrate coaching into all HR processes

·      Ensure that the design of coaching programs and offerings are business-driven

·      Specify clear quality requirements for internal and external coaches

·      Measure and evaluate coaching

·      Clearly differentiate managerial coaching and executive coaching

·      Create a continuous learning continuum for coaching consisting of different programs for different managerial levels

·      Cooperate with academia in order to develop the processes and practices and to measure the outcomes of coaching


If you want to learn more about my study, follow the link below:

Coaching of Key Talents in Multinational Companies - Springer


Further, you might find the following surveys interesting:

ICF report ‘Building a coaching culture 2014’. International Coach Federation in partnership with Human Capital Institute. The Global Association for Strategic Talent Management available at http://www.coachfederation.org

Blessing White, Inc. (2009). The Coaching Conundrum: Building a Coaching Culture that Drives Organizational Success. Available from http://blessingwhite.com/research-report/the-coaching-conundrum-report-2009/

See also the recent doctoral dissertation:

Saarinen, J. (2016) Managing global virtual teams. Aalto University publication series. Doctoral dissertations 184/2016 http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-60-7013-1