Retaining Talent through Career Coaching

Why “Career Coaching” within all organisations is fundamental for a harmonious workplace and business success

  • The Challenge
  • Staff retention has been a major issue for most companies, particularly post-pandemic. This has been fuelled by a multitude of factors ranging from general dissatisfaction, challenging geopolitics, hybrid working, lack of leadership engagement, business uncertainty, poor transparency in the workplace and a lack of career pathways, amongst many other factors.

    Traditionally, companies have valued individual or team performance over loyalty, but that is now changing.

  • The Necessity for “Active” Career Progression
  • If you look back at your career and that of your colleagues, you can see that we all started out full of hope on the basis that we would progress at a steady rate, we accepted that there would be a few challenges along the way, but if we did the work, built, and maintained relationships, things would happen for us.

    In reality, a passive approach to career development can be totally dependent on luck and to a certain extent being in the right place at the right time. Furthermore, what happens to a lot of employees is that they get so embroiled in their day to day work that they have no time to reflect for themselves.

    Decisions on desired career paths – for example, technical versus managerial/leadership roles, is often not evaluated for the benefits and matching aptitude, attitude, personality, and skill sets.

  • Approaches for Career Progression & Transition
  • In order to think about your career adequately then individuals need to be clear on what motivates them.

    This can change at different stages of your career, because of personal circumstances, such as family as well as motivation, but also your personal attributes.

    What is success?

    Success can mean different things to different people based on these attributes. It can mean, a title, position level or the ability to have freedom to operate with some level of independence and /or intellectual challenge.

    Quite often people focus on one area, such as position or status, because as that is associated to an extent with financial reward and benefits, but also to an extent that is the way we have been programmed from a younger age.

    Looking Internally

    Plenty of organisations do recognise individual contributors based on their level of creativity and /or risk taking. The challenge for managers and HR functions is to recognise this and communicate it properly through effective and transparent communication.

    Be Active

    We recommend that individuals take time out and set aside time to reflect on these. We have worked with plenty of professionals who think that they just need to climb the organisation for status, recognition, and reward, when in fact they can contribute in other ways and coincidentally be much happier and less stressed.

  • What do you do when you are faced with difficult career choices?
  • Once you have given due consideration all the factors we have mentioned earlier in this article, you may have to consider your options beyond your company boundaries.

    These decisions should not be taken lightly; there are plenty of instances when staff have opted to leave without looking at, or considering, other internal opportunities that could have provided better job satisfaction or better progression, especially if the employee is happy with the organisational culture and benefits.

    Stay or go?

    If it gets to a “tipping point” where the employee feels that they have no further option but to consider looking at opportunities outside, then we have developed a simple 2 x 2 to help employees reflect before they take a decision. This can apply at any stage of your career and in any size of organisation.

    The key enemy for both employer and employee here are prolonged stagnation. It benefits both parties to have a level of dynamism. That keeps the employee motivated and the organisation fresh and challenged.

  • Reflections
  • There are as many opportunities to retain strong employees as there are to lose them, so HR functions and leaders need to reflect on these and resource appropriately - employee “churn” is very expensive and time consuming, as well as unnecessary, particularly if you have a strong culture and capabilities.

    Work teams need to “play to strengths” of individuals versus “force fitting” them into roles and responsibilities where they are not best suited. Wise teams do this often without knowing they are doing just that!


    The traditional thinking that only executives need coaches is now dead.

    Coaching is for all, and if you are going to nurture new talent that you have invested considerable resources in through recruitment and early training, then you need to have a coaching system or approach.

    Some favour internal coaches, which have the benefits of consistency and are particularly good for performance, but external coaching providers can give objectivity and more diverse experience and thinking.

    Chesterton Gray works closely with Team Coaching Boutique on worldwide coaching and leadership development programmes. Authors: Garrett Forsythe, John Cockburn-Evans © Team Coaching Boutique®

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