Coaching as a retention tool

Executive coaching has proven to be an effective way to retain employees who are working through challenging times, writes Dr Denise Fleming, managing director, Foresight’s Global Coaching

Coaching as a retention tool
Executive coaching has proven to be an effective way to retain employees who are working through challenging times, writes Dr Denise Fleming, managing director, Foresight’s Global Coaching

Financial incentives are commonly used by corporations as an initiative to retain their top talent. However, experience indicates that complementing financial incentives with targeted executive coaching, as the following case vignettes show, can lead to better retention outcomes.

Integrating new executives
  • Retention in the context of acquisitions
A large corporation implemented executive coaching support for new executives resulting from the acquisition of highly successful, smaller organisations. The leadership team members were previously shareholders and needed to be retained for the acquisitions to be successful. Due to large financial rewards from the sale of shares, financial incentives would have added little extra value. Due to an investment in executive coaching for the executives, the value of their knowledge and skills was recognised and the executives remained.
  • Onboarding
The culture shock experienced by an acquired executive from overseas was mitigated through executive coaching to bridge the gap between the different cultures, peers and processes. Acquiring the executive had been a costly process, retention was critical for the organisation and for the decision makers behind the appointment.

Disrupted environment
  • Change of CEO and restructuring
Through executive coaching, a talented, high-potential person was retained who had become dispirited by the  impact of a recent restructure on people they trusted and admired. The danger of their loss to a competitor, who was making a serious approach, was blocked. Executive coaching identified the benefits of staying, skills were developed and morale returned. 
  • Grooming for a new higher level undisclosed role 
Succession planning indicated that a leader would be promoted to a role elsewhere in the group and a direct report was developed as his internal replacement. A change in strategic leadership resulted in another person being appointed to the expected role. The direct report was moved to an unfamiliar but vital role and was assisted in the change by executive coaching. Retention was the critical objective together with development of the person for their next, as yet undisclosed, senior role.

Competitive inducement
  • An executive highly valued in the role, but unsuited to the next level
Retention of a highly experienced executive who realised further promotion was unlikely was supported through executive coaching as loss to a competitor was a real threat. The coach helped the executive to realise and accept his value to the organisation as a technical specialist, and that he was highly valued globally for his technical knowledge, skills and experience.
  • Thin talent pool, tight headcount and budgets
A seasoned operational executive was under extreme pressure from a new divisional leader to achieve very demanding financial and operational targets through a team focused on a totally different set of targets. There was a high risk the executive would leave to join a competitor. The executive was retained and developed to deliver the required outcome through work with an executive coach.

Career plateaus
  • Strategic status quo
A talented, high-potential executive was asked to remain in an unchallenging role for an indeterminate length of time while other assets were divested. Executive coaching in personal growth and next-level skills resulted in the necessary patience and the executive remained in the role and in the organisation.
  • Overcoming more of the same – not leaving for a new opportunity
A retention challenge arose when a project management specialist – highly valued for specific expertise and the ability to deliver projects on time and on budget – felt new challenges elsewhere were too attractive to refuse. An investment in leadership growth, scope and scale strengths through executive coaching retained the expert.

FGC provides executive coaching to senior executives in Australia and globally. FGC’s distinguished and experienced coaches are supported by a robust coaching model. Visit

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