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Blog > A Winning Combination: How In-House and Outsourced Coaching Work Together

A Winning Combination: How In-House and Outsourced Coaching Work Together

When an organization combines external coaching with in-house coaching, they create a powerful partnership that can lead to new perspectives of a business, specialized expertise, and additional resources that support a firm’s talent development team.
Man and woman in business attire sitting down for a coaching session

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As an HR professional, you understand the important role employee development plays in the creation of a thriving workplace culture.

Companies continually enhance their competitiveness to build a culture employees want to join, remain in, and grow in via upskilling and reskilling. But how do you decide on the best approach for employee development in your organization: In-house or external coaching?

In this article, we’ll dive into the benefits and drawbacks of both options so you can determine the winning combination to meet your company’s talent development needs.

Why Coaching Is an Important Part of Talent Development

As companies strive to stay competitive in the global market, they recognize that investing in their leaders and employees is critical to their success. Coaching provides a way for these organizations to increase productivity, employee job satisfaction, and attrition rates by supporting talent development and unlocking their team’s potential.

Coaching can take many forms, from one-on-one sessions with a manager to group training sessions to external workshops. Coaching can also be used to address a wide range of needs, from leadership development to communication skills to decision-making techniques.

Regardless of the format, the aim of coaching is to help employees identify their strengths as well as opportunities they may have for growth while developing skills that help them perform better in their current position or prepare them for future leadership roles.

In addition to helping employees develop new skills and improve their performance, coaching also provides an opportunity for them to receive feedback and support. By providing team members ongoing coaching sessions, coaches both encourage them to stay motivated and engaged in working toward their goals and provide them a safe space to discuss any issues or concerns they may have.

Ultimately, coaching is an important part of talent development because it supports employees’ growth and continued success in their roles. Whether an organization provides in-house or external coaching, it can enable them to build a strong, capable workforce equipped to meet the challenges of the future.

In-House Coaching

In-house coaching, or internal coaching, is a service a team or individual within an organization provides to other members of an organization.

Benefits of In-House Coaching

There are several benefits to in-house coaching.

  • Familiarity: One of the main advantages of internal coaching is that internal coaches are already familiar with the company culture and team. This familiarity makes it easier for them to help the company reach its goals and objectives.
  • Additional support: An in-house coach can assist the organization in completing leadership development initiatives and prioritized projects.
  • Cost-effective: In-house coaching is often more cost-efficient than external coaching, as organizations are able to leverage existing resources and expertise to reduce the need for additional expenses.

Challenges of In-House Coaching

However, there can be some drawbacks to internal coaching.

  • Lack of trust: One of the main issues with internal coaching is that employees may not be as open and honest with an in-house coach due to fear their feedback could be sent “up the chain.” These concerns about trust and confidentiality can negatively impact the coaching relationship, which requires a foundation of trust.
  • Communication: Internal coaches themselves may also struggle with communicating to those in positions of power within the organization, especially if the feedback isn’t all positive. And if a coach cannot adequately communicate their concerns to the firm’s C-suite, can a company truly make progress?
  • Skill gaps: Internal coaching teams may have gaps in their expertise/knowledge. When organizations require team members to build up additional capabilities in specific developmental areas, this process can put unnecessary burdens on internal teams.


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Outsourced Coaching

Outsourced coaching is a service an external coaching partner provides to your organization’s employees. Many firms choose to work with external partners to develop coaching programs tailored to their unique needs.

Benefits of Outsourced Coaching

  • Transparency: Perhaps the greatest benefit of enlisting an outside partner is that employees may feel more comfortable confiding in an external coach who doesn’t have a stake in the organization.
  • Fresh perspective: In general, people are more likely to listen to an outside source than an internal one. As an impartial third party, external coaches can provide unbiased and objective feedback to employees and won’t have preconceived beliefs of what needs to happen to achieve success.
  • Neutrality: An external coaching partner can provide an unbiased opinion since they don’t have the same vested interests that an internal coach does. An outside, neutral third party is often able to dive deep into truth to identify an organization’s strengths and opportunities for growth, which can be particularly valuable during times of change or when an organization needs to address a sensitive issue with an employee or manager.
  • Expertise: External coaches are often specialists in a particular area, such as leadership development or communication. This specialization means they can also provide employees with training and coaching on specific topics or skill areas that may be absent among your organization’s own internal coaches.
  • Customizable: External coaching partners, such as Arootah, can work with your organization to customize coaching programs to meet your specific needs. They can guide you to design programs tailored to your organizational culture and goals and can work with you to ensure that the coaching is aligned with your business objectives.

Challenges of Outsourced Coaching

While outsourced coaching can provide significant benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

  • Unfamiliarity: Unlike internal coaches, external coaches won’t have the same level of familiarity with your organization’s culture and team dynamics. This unfamiliarity can sometimes make it harder for them to provide relevant coaching tailored to your employees’ needs.
  • Trust: Some employees may struggle to develop trust with someone they don’t know, especially if they’re being asked to share personal or sensitive information. A potential lack of trust can lead employees to resist or hesitate to engage in the coaching process. However, coaches can often mitigate this resistance by modeling open and transparent communication and focusing on building rapport and trust with each employee.

It’s important to keep these potential downsides in mind when considering outsourced coaching as a solution for your organization. However, many firms have successfully worked with external partners to develop coaching programs specific to their needs, and with the right partner and approach, external coaching can provide significant value to your in-house coaching program.

How Outsourced Coaching Can Take Your In-House Coaching to the Next Level

As Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

This sentiment is a perfect illustration of how messages are often more effective coming from an outside source rather than from within.

That’s why when it comes to talent development, combining in-house coaching with outsourced coaching can yield the best results. External coaches bring a unique perspective, specialized knowledge, and additional resources to support the in-house coaching team. They can also provide an unbiased evaluation of an in-house coaching program’s effectiveness and pinpoint possible areas for improvement.

With the two teams working together, the result is a more comprehensive, efficient coaching program tailored to your organization’s and employees’ specific needs

The Bottom Line

Companies benefit greatly from investing in coaching programs for their employees. While in-house coaching has its advantages, external coaching can complement it through fresh perspectives, specialized expertise, and an objective evaluation of the organization at hand. By working together, both coaching teams can create a more comprehensive coaching program that meets the needs of the organization and its employees.

If you’ve determined that external coaching is the right solution for your organization, Arootah offers customized executive coaching and leadership training programs that can help your leaders and employees develop the skills they need to thrive in the workplace. Schedule a free 30-minute results coaching call to learn more about how we can drive growth and development in your organization.

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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