Why Unlimited Coaching Produces Limited Results

Why Unlimited Coaching Produces Limited Results

By | June 3, 2024

As we enter the back half of 2024, many HR and Talent Professionals face constrained or cut budgets for coaching and development. In this challenging context, we’ve seen the rapid rise of “unlimited” coaching providers. And, while we understand why the idea of giving leaders access to unlimited coaching for a fixed price is so alluring, beneath the surface of these offers is a host of significant drawbacks that can undermine the very purpose of coaching: driving meaningful, measurable improvements in leadership performance.

Key Drawbacks to Unlimited Coaching

Lack of Clarity and Usage

In the evolving landscape of workplace benefits, “unlimited” offerings have become incredibly popular. Job listings offering unlimited paid time off, for instance, has risen by 40% since 2019. However, we know that the lack of clarity and accountability around unlimited often leads to underutilization. Unlimited PTO, for instance, has led to employees taking less time off, increasing burnout and decreasing well-being.

Similarly, unlimited coaching platforms witness an average of only nine hours of coaching over six months. This underutilization is not due to the lack of need but rather stems from lack of structure and clear guidelines on how it should be used. Effective coaching requires defined goals, clear timelines, and commitment.

Lack of Business Alignment

Executive coaching demands alignment with business objectives to yield tangible results. LinkedIn Learning’s Workplace Learning Report confirmed this, listing aligning learning to business goals as learning and development professionals’ top focus area for the second year in a row.

Self-guided development, inherent in unlimited coaching models, can diverge from organizational goals, resulting in coaching that is enjoyable for the individual but ineffectual at producing tangible business outcomes.

Lack of Stakeholder Involvement

Another critical aspect overlooked by the unlimited model is the involvement of stakeholders. In these engagements, individuals can isolate their development journey from their managers or HR partners, leading to misalignments with the organization’s expectations and goals.

AIIR Consulting’s Structured Approach to Coaching is Superior to Unstructured, Unlimited Offerings

At AIIR, our executive coaching engagements follow a rigorous four-phase methodology called the AIIR® Method (Assessment, Insight, Implementation, Reinforcement). This method creates clear expectations, accountability, business alignment, and stakeholder involvement right from the start. Each coaching engagement begins with an agenda-setting meeting that serves as a strategic alignment session between the coach, the leader, and organizational stakeholders. This ensures that all coaching efforts are directly tied to both personal development and organizational objectives.

AIIR’s standard engagements span 6-8 months, and include 23 hours of structured coaching around specific goals and measurable outcomes.

By moving away from the “unlimited” model and adopting a structured, strategic approach, AIIR’s clients can ensure that coaching is not just a perk but a powerful tool for individual and organizational growth. The results speak for themselves. 93% of all AIIR Consulting’s coachees report increased job performance as a leader. And, AIIR’s coaching services boast an unparalleled NPS score of 88.

The Bottom Line

As companies increasingly scrutinize coaching and development, HR and Talent Professionals are seeking the most effective and efficient use of their resources, making structured, goal-oriented coaching even more critical. Experience the AIIR difference and discover how focused, aligned coaching can lead to lasting change and improved performance.

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