5 Reasons you are Coaching for Failure


During the past few years, Advantexe has been involved in the design, development, and delivery ofbusiness-acumen-coaching Coaching simulations to tens of thousands of people and process leaders. All of the simulations have a goal of providing participants with the opportunity to learn by doing as they practice having coaching conversations based on various coaching models. 

Before starting a project where we are delivering a coaching simulation, we have a serious conversation with the client about making sure they aren’t developing skills that coach for failure. It is a provocative approach, but one that our clients truly appreciate. Here’s why… 

There is a fundamental problem with most coaching frameworks and the way the organizations embrace them. Typically, the first step of coaching is setting goals and objectives and then having a dialogue about how to best achieve them. The fundamental problem is that most organizations aren’t providing the basic business acumen skills needed by every employee to understand their own business strategy and the financial skills to measure their success.

Let this sink in: If a manager doesn’t have basic business acumen skills, how can that manager effectively set the right goals and objectives needed to execute the business strategy? From my perspective, I have seen over and over again a huge disconnect in many organizations between business acumen and coaching. 

This lack of basic business acumen skills cascades into five reasons why you are coaching to failure: 

Setting the Wrong Goals and Objectives – Without business acumen skills and an understanding of the strategy and value proposition being offered to customers, managers are going to set the wrong goals and objectives. Even if a direct report achieves their goals, they are most likely the wrong goals. Focusing on, and achieving the wrong goals could lead to failure. 

Acknowledging the Wrong Realities – Good coaching is built around dialogues that recognize the realities of the situation. But what if you are recognizing the wrong realities? You are then having dialogues and building plans for the wrong things. 

Discussing the Wrong Options – A great coaching dialogue lays out different options to achieve success. But what if you are coaching to the wrong options? What if you are telling your direct report to fix things or do things that are not in support of executing the strategy or the achievement of key financial metrics? It could lead to failure. 

Suggesting the Wrong Way Forward – A great coaching dialogue outlines ideas to solve challenges. But think about the situation where you are engaged in a conversation to fix something, and the entire conversation and the solution you have designed are not aligned with the right business strategy or the right financial metrics of success. 

The Wrong Approach to the Relationship – The Manager / Direct Report relationship is a fragile and delicate thing. The balance of the relationship is impacted every day through the daily trials and tribulations of work. Even in the best of circumstances, it is difficult to think about situations where the entire approach is based on the wrong goals, realities, options, and ways forward. Eventually, things will turn bad or even toxic when the realization of the misalignments hits. 

These 5 reasons you are coaching for failure are real. If your organization doesn’t have the appropriate level of business acumen to be able to coach effectively, not only is your entire approach to coaching out of alignment significant business troubles may be looming in your future. 

New call-to-action

Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.