How To Persuade Your Manager To Invest In Your Leadership Development

You’ve concluded that it’s time you engaged a business or executive coach. You’ve done your research and chosen the coach you’d like to hire. Now comes the final challenge – persuading your manager that coaching is a sound investment.

Furthermore, sometimes your manager is not the only one that needs to be won over. Your board, chairman, business partner/s, shareholders, finance manager, accountant, financial planner, other advisors, executive assistant and / or life partner may influence the decision.

However, as Inc Magazine pointed out in Sep-15:

“All a coach needs to get started is a website. Overhead is extremely low, what’s more, there are no real certifications needed. In short, a coach becomes a coach by standing up and announcing him or herself as a coach.

The downside of this dynamic is that the most competent business coaches are lumped in with all the rest.”

As society gets further down the learning curve with respect to selecting and using professional coaching as an effective leadership development tool, you may well encounter some resistance or scepticism when you recommend your organisation invests in 1-1 coaching – for you and / or members of your team.

So how do you successfully pitch coaching to the buyers, influencers and potential users of coaching in your enterprise to effectively persuade them you are on the right track?

Simple, you follow the three golden rules of designing an effective coaching intervention:

  1. Identify the business results that need to be achieved
  2. Identify the way the leader’s behaviour needs to change to achieve those results
  3. Identify the way the team’s behaviour needs to change to achieve those results

Once you have done this, you can construct a project brief (or proposal) that includes the return on investment (ROI) from the coaching proposition under consideration to rationalise the purchasing decision.

Sounds straightforward but how do you do this if you haven’t done it before? Why not consider enlisting the help of a professional coach to build and validate the business case for the coaching intervention you feel is warranted?

Does your executive or business coach offer casual sessions? If you (or your manager) are nervous about “letting go” and committing to a year-long engagement, buy one or more single sessions or a short-term program to get direct assistance from your prospective coach to establish the expected commercial benefits and numerically validate the return on investment proposition before you even commit to a longer-term program. You can learn more about this in my previous post entitled “5 Ways To Afford Coaching”.

The Pitch

Once you have prepared you project brief / proposal, it’s time to think about how to win the hearts and minds of those who help determine your fate.

Is a MS Word document sufficient? Would a MS PowerPoint presentation format work better?

What questions do you anticipate you’ll be asked?

What concerns do you expect will be raised?

What objections would you raise if someone on your team was requesting the same kind of investment into fast-tracking their personal and professional development?

Do you have solid answers ready that will allow you to respond with confidence?

Will you present your ideas on your own to your manager/s or should you consider inviting your coach into the meeting too, so everyone can meet him or her first-hand?

The Investment

Professional coaching leads to a hybrid of personal and professional development. The leader grows because of the coaching. Subsequently the enterprise grows through distinct and intentional changes in the behaviour of the leader designed to enliven the business.

If the benefits flow to both the leader and the organisation, would you consider sharing the investment?

Offering to fund 25%, 33% or 50% of the program fees could ultimately convince your manager of your conviction that the coaching program will deliver the ROI outlined in the business case you have developed, documented and presented.


If you’d like to find out more about how to get started in framing a compelling business case for working with a business or executive coach to improve performance in your organisation, sign up for a free strategy session call.

Bring us your biggest executive career or business problem…and we’ll show you how to solve it — free of charge — in just 30 minutes (valued at $395).


Article: Why Business Coaching Is Dead And What Will Replace It
Blog: The Art Of The Brief
Blog: 5 Ways To Afford Coaching
Blog: Coaching 101 – An Introduction to Professional Coaching

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