Using coaching to re-energize an internally-developed high-potential program

Client Industry



The client had created its own program to develop high potential talent but was dissatisfied with the results. They wanted greater connection between program components and business challenges to give participants a deeper, more worthwhile experience. Additionally, the organizational culture was averse to feedback, so they wanted to change the mindset of their employees by including feedback to enhance the program. They sought a partner that could link the various pieces together, creating a program that delivered more solid business benefits to the organization.


The original program had several elements: offsite learning experiences focusing on financial acumen; communication and presentation skills; an action learning component focused on significant strategic issues facing the company; various networking components; and an executive panel experience that enabled participants to ask questions on a range of issues, from career advice to lessons learned. There was also a lunch meeting involving the CEO. Right Management proposed a coaching solution in order to link these aspects together.

Each participant worked with a Right Management coach to receive one-to-one guidance throughout the process. New assessments were introduced at the onset of the program, and were followed by a formal debrief with their coach. Participants had structured coaching sessions on a regular basis throughout the 18 month program, and they were able to see the progress more clearly with this guidance.

Coaching sessions were timed to coordinate with activities of the academy. For instance, a session at the start of the action learning component helped the participants review team dynamics and challenges, create personal learning goals, and learn how to give and receive feedback. There are at least two meetings involving the participant, his or her manager, and a Right Management coach to assess progress, clarify learning goals and formalize development plans.


The client reports a significant uptick in promotions, as well as increased responsibilities and visibility that have led to new opportunities for participants. In fact, 77% of the initial class population has experienced a job title change, of which over half were promotions to next level leadership. In the second wave, 74% experienced job title changes with 40% promoted to next level leadership. Those not promoted were moved to positions where they could have more impact. The program also impacted retention and the culture is shifting from withholding feedback to becoming more of a learning environment. In the program evaluation survey, coaching ranked as the second most impactful component, falling just below lunch with the CEO.