by Robin Bellinger, MCLC, Vice President, Coaching Services
and Chris Richards, Strategic Partner and Coach

In a competitive market for talent, organizations are seeking ways to fuel performance to meet increasing goals and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

While advances in technology have boosted efficiency and driven productivity by providing useful tools, we cannot rely on it alone. Leaders are increasingly aware that continuing progress is tied to properly maximizing the most central and vital element of organizational success: developing the skills, competencies, and abilities of the people on their teams.

Engaging professional coaching helps unlock latent talent and, in the process, opens a series of advantages. While the benefits of coaching are broad and positively impact a team member’s personal and professional development, a strong coaching relationship builds upon individual performance, helping the organization retain talent while deepening engagement, accountability, and ownership of goals and mission.

Coaching Builds Upon Individual Performance

Coaching increases an individual’s confidence about reaching goals and meeting position responsibilities. A coach helps identify opportunities and unveils options of pathways that were previously unconsidered.

In increasingly complex organizations that are often scrambling to keep apace in a constantly changing environment, many have found themselves trying to drink from a seeming firehose of options and opportunities—committees, meetings, conferences, retreats, staff outings, and untold other activities, so many of which seem worthwhile and appealing. A coach helps an individual or team sort through and filter all the distractions to identify priorities, and they engage participants with unique feedback and encouragement. Our experience shows that when individuals are focused, they contribute more to the institution’s vision and mission.

Building skills is often at the center of coaching relationships. During the process, the coaching partner is exposed to the expertise of a seasoned professional who helps strengthen core competencies by sharing and applying best practices. In short, the personal attention of the coaching relationship creates a deeper level of understanding, converting learning into actionable steps that boost performance.

Coaching Inspires Accountability and Ownership

While there is some overlap, coaching and mentoring are not synonymous. Coaching empowers a person to uncover their own solutions to challenges and opportunities—mentoring offers advice. A coach will work with an individual to clarify responsibilities and goals and develop a plan to achieve them. Significantly, coaching establishes accountabilities toward identified and agreed upon next steps, an important difference from a mentoring relationship.

For instance, as suggested above, one of the most common challenges coaching partners face is time management. Through a process of discussion and discovery, a coach can guide individuals and teams as they explore how they are using their time, whether the deployment of a resource is helping or hindering progress toward goals, how to identify and focus on priorities, and the real-world practicalities of carving out the time needed to reach objectives and perform at their highest level.

Coaching Creates Retention

Providing coaching signals to team members that they are valued and supported, making it more likely to that they will stay at the organization, reducing the time and expense of searching for new employees (and preventing the loss in momentum that comes with backfilling for departed colleagues). Research indicates that development professionals stay in a position an average of less than two years, with some experts claiming that average is as short as 16 months. Hiring a new team member to replace one that left costs more than $125K, on average, and that doesn’t include the potential loss of philanthropy due to stalled donor relationships.

If approached correctly, coaching will be seen as a personal investment and vote of confidence in the individual or team. Coaching equips a person to draw upon their strengths and build confidence in discharging responsibilities and leveraging opportunities within their role. An effective coaching relationship provides a safe place to gain perspective and test ideas.

Coaching augments supervisors, providing outside perspective that can help team members reach desired outcomes. In this way, coaching develops high-potential employees and increases opportunities for growth. Such an investment not only diminishes the costs of recruiting and hiring new team members, but bolsters skills, abilities and competences that help an organization build from within, developing its future leaders.


Coaching is a valuable investment in both your team members and your organization. It will help your team reach their highest potential and, because coaching creates a greater sense of ownership, your organization will be poised to reach new heights as well.

Learn more about bringing Advancement Resources’ Coaching to your organization!