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How to Build an Internal Executive Coaching Program

Not long ago, a CEO I know witnessed several of his star employees leave his company to pursue other opportunities. He wanted to build a leadership development program to keep additional employees from leaving. We talked about the pros and cons of in-house executive coaching versus retaining an external coach. He decided on the internal route and solicited my help to build the program and lay the foundations for sustainable, positive growth.

1. Seek expert opinion when structuring the executive coaching initiative

Using a specialized external coach to structure your program ensures no stone is left unturned and nothing missed. External coaches highly specialized, unbiased, and are often best positioned to identify blind spots. Another pitfall to watch for is when organizations fail to devote sufficient time to training coaches. Without adequate training, executive coaching initiatives are destined to fall short.

2. Ensure strong integration with other leadership initiatives

Executive coaching cannot be an ad hoc initiative. It must be strongly integrated with other leadership training and initiatives. At the onset of any executive coaching endeavor, leaders must be crystal clear on the purpose of executive coaching. Once objectives are outlined, organizations must devise a multi-year plan of action that outlines the executive coaching process and how it will be embedded within the current leadership development infrastructure.

3. Hold annual strategy meetings

Executive coaching should not be a one-time affair. It’s critical to measure progress over time and identify areas for improvement. Strategy sessions should be held, at a minimum, on an annual basis. As part of the annual sessions, both qualitative and quantitative performance metrics should be assessed, as well as the tie-in to any training or leadership development the company offers. Once metrics are assessed, organizations should think strategically about how executive coaching can further enhance organizational initiatives.

With the right mindset and foundations in place, internal executive coaching initiatives can rival the effectiveness of external initiatives. Indeed, a study spearheaded by executive coach Marshall Goldsmith found that internal coaches can trigger the same positive results as external coaches. The key is to develop a strong platform that is 100% confidential and fuels continued growth.


Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders and has dedicated her career to helping them.

As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’.

Contact Information: Feel free to email Dr. Nadine San Francisco Executive Coaching at or by phone at (415) 861-8383.


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