Case study Google and Executive Coaching
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Growing at Google
Headquarters: Mountain View, California, USA
Number of Employees: 64,000-plus worldwide
Annual Revenue (2015): 73.59 billion USD
Coaching Implementation Date: July 1, 2010
Number of External Coach Practitioners: 150
Number of Internal Coach Practitioners: 350
Number of Employees Receiving Coaching from a Coach Practitioner (2015): 1,593
Prism Nominating Coach: Kathrin OSullivan, ACC
O R G A N I Z A T I O N A L S N A P S H O T : Google
Courtesy of Google
Since 1998, Google has been on a mission to organize the worlds information and make it universally accessible and useful. With more than 70 offices in 40-plus countries worldwide, the organization employs more than 64,000 Googlers.
Recruiting, developing and retaining top talent are priorities for Google. In 2010, the organization implemented an internal coaching program to enhance an already robust portfolio of employee benefits and development offerings. Today, the organizations Guru program provides access to coaching to all Googlers, while an emphasis on coaching skills and competencies for managers and leaders further contributes to the growth of a coaching culture at Google.
In recognition of Googles inclusion of coaching in its vibrant organizational culture, the International Coach Federation (ICF) named the organization one of five finalists in the 2016 ICF International Prism Award program. The Prism Award program recognizes organizations with outstanding coaching programs that yield discernible and measurable positive impacts, fulfill rigorous professional standards, address key strategic goals and shape organizational culture. (Learn more at Coachfederation.org/prism.)
Driven by PassionGooglers are encouraged to pursue their passions, and the Guru program is an example of this invitation in action. Individuals interested in delivering coaching to their colleagues must demonstrate capacity and passion for applying coaching skills in their current role, and subsequently receive approval from their HR partner and direct manager. They must also meet rigorous requirements around core role performance, seniority and level in the organization.
Initially, internal coach candidates participate in a half-day of training based on the GROW model. During training, theyre observed by members of the program team to further validate their skill and fit for the program. Internal coaches who are ultimately approved for the program begin by offering short-term (one to three sessions) coaching engagements around a discrete topic, such as career development, well-being or sales. Coachees are asked to provide extensive feedback on the coaching experience. Based on this feedback, coaches may have the opportunity to participate in longer coaching engagements on more complex topics and be invited to participate in additional coach-specific training.
Furthering a Learning CultureGooglers embrace the opportunity to learn from one another; coaching is a natural extension of this. Any Googler who wants coaching can use an internal
Courtesy of Google
technology platform to identify a topic for the coaching engagement and select the coach they would like to work with. The same platform is used to track and evaluate the success of the coaching engagement.
Mid-level employees can apply for longer-term engagements with more skilled and experienced coaches (approximately 10 percent of Googles internal coaches support these longer engagements). These employees are matched with coaches by members of the organizations coaching program team.
Coaching skills are also considered critical to the success of managers and leaders within Google. Business leaders and HR partners regularly use a coaching approach and skills in interactions with their teams. Additionally, Googlers at any level of the organization have access to a popular open-enrollment class on foundational coaching skills.
Worth the InvestmentInstead of using traditional return on investment measures, Google evaluates the ROI of coaching in terms of what Googlers perceive as their most valuable resource: time. After working with an internal coach, employees provide an average satisfaction rating of 4.8 out of 5 (average ratings are slightly higher for longer-term, more complex engagements). When asked if coaching was worth their time, theyre overwhelmingly likely to answer, Yes.
Googlers who have received coaching cite a host of positive benefits, including accelerated onboarding, increased self-confidence and enhanced executive presence. One manager whose direct report received coaching wrote that, through the coaching process, the team member has gone through a marked
transformation on a professional level thats been indicated by his peers and colleagues in his performance. He has also been driving some pretty amazing revenue opportunities for some of our largest clients. The coaches themselves have also provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the experience, with one internal coach calling coaching sessions the best part of my day.
As the leaders of Googles coaching program look toward the future, their focus is on improving their current processes, technology and services to further widen and deepen the impact of coaching throughout the organization. To this end, they are exploring enhancements to their existing software platform for managing coaching engagements to further improve the quality of matches between coaches and coachees and streamline tracking and evaluation. Theyre also incorporating more longitudinal research with coachees in order to better understand the long-term impacts of coaching.
In an increasingly complex organization such as Google, nurturing human connections is critical to ensuring employees continued satisfaction and growth. This is a culture where Googlers are committed to learning and growing. They value the opportunity to turn to colleagues for guidance and support, and the Guru program provides a vehicle to expand their informal network of resources, Googles leadership and coaching director, David Peterson, says. The [coaches] find themselves growing and developing as well. Everyone wins.
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The International Coach Federation (ICF) is dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches across a variety of coaching disciplines. ICF is active in representing all facets of the coaching industry, including Executive, Life Vision and Enhancement, Leadership, Relationship, and Career Coaching. Its 27,000-plus members located in more than 135 countries* work toward the common goal of enhancing awareness of coaching, upholding the integrity of the profession, and continually educating themselves with the newest research and practices.*Numbers as of October 2016. Numbers are subject to change month to month.