Leveraging a Coaching Program for Succession Planning

Instructor: Joseph Madison

Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.

This lesson will define and discuss the purpose of succession planning and explain how a coaching program can engage your employees to better evaluate them as candidates for promotion.

Succession Planning

Henry, a CEO for International Tech For You & Me, has panicked, because over half a dozen of his upper-level managers are retiring within the next month, and he has no one to replace them. Even more stressful is the organizational knowledge loss that will happen once the management team leaves. These senior managers have been working for International Tech for over ten years, so they know the history of business, previous mistakes and successes, and the ins and out of business processes. His senior managers had managed his company smoothly for the last decade, so Henry had put off the process of documenting all the work that his management team does, how they collaborate, and their standard operating practices.

Now, Henry is going to have to accomplish all of this in the next month, when his senior management team should be finalizing projects. This is where succession planning is key.

If Henry had planned for his senior managers to retire, he could have integrated the replacement candidates into the positions and had them collaborate with the future retirees. The smooth transition would have kept his business progressing.

Positives of Succession Planning

Succession planning is the process of setting up plans and processes for when key individuals in your organization retire, leave, or are promoted. Succession planning is vital because:

  • No organizational knowledge is lost. - If your employees are trained on the position higher than them, they gain the knowledge needed to do the job, and learn the organizational knowledge necessary to transition smoothly.
  • There's no ramp-up time. - If a manager leaves and the employees one step below them are already trained on the skills necessary to be a manager, then you do not have to worry about hiring outside the company.
  • It aids career progression. - Ensuring there are succession plans also provides career progression for your employees. This will create more loyalty, because your employees know they can move up, instead of outside candidates being hired.
  • Employees learn more skills. - Having employees consistently learning skills for higher positions gives them more knowledge and abilities for their own position, which only makes them better employees.
  • There's less money output. - If you are progressing your employees up a ladder, then you are promoting them slowly and steadily. However, if you hire outside your company, and you are having to hire quickly to replace an empty position, it is likely you will be paying a premium.
  • It forces you to consider the big picture. - Planning for succession allows you to gain a better idea of how your company works and which employees may be retiring. This allows you to plan better for the future, so you are not surprised.
  • There's better communication. - Succession planning requires employees at all levels to be consistently communicating, which will positively affect your business and create a stronger culture.

Succession planning means no organizational knowledge loss.

Coaching Programs

Now, let's look at how coaching programs will assist in this process. A coaching program is a system where you train every level of employee on the skills for the position above theirs. This requires a learning culture, because your employees will be consistently training and working with other departments in order to learn new processes and attributes of your business. This also ensures that your organization will not lose its historical knowledge due to mass retirements or another disastrous event. Coaching programs can be a combination of the following:

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