NOTE: As of 2022 the Center for Executive Coaching is now accredited with the ICF as a Level 2 Coach Training Organization. The ICF has changed their language and replaced ACTP with Level 2. We were among the first group of coach training programs to receive this accreditation, after a rigorous review by the ICF.

How to coach clients re: Innovation

From the desk of Center for Executive Coaching Founder and Director Andrew Neitlich… Many business owners and executives have a pressing problem and wonder, “How can my company be more innovative?” Coaching clients to be more innovative is an in-demand area of coaching. The question is, how can you coach someone so that their company is more innovative? In my own business coach training program, including in all of our executive coaching certification programs, we teach a model that encourages business owners to always be testing at least five new ideas in what we call a “sandbox” or “testing laboratory.” Ideas can be related to any area that will improve company sales, productivity, strategic positioning, customer service, or cash flow. Successful tests go into the company’s regular systems, while unsuccessful tests are either tweaked and tried again, or tossed aside. However, as soon as an idea leaves the testing lab/sandbox, the coach pushes the business owners to add a replacement idea to test, so that their company is always dynamic. Now Peter Sims has come out with a terrific book that validates this process. It is called Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries. Sims gives terrific examples of huge successes that arose from small steps, including: Pixar’s rise from doing small films to creating Toy Story (did you know that Steve Jobs bought Pixar for just $5 million?); Chris Rock’s testing of new jokes in obscure comedy clubs; Procter & Gamble’s low-cost prototyping; and Howard Schultz’s test of a new type of coffee house that led to the creation of Starbucks. You don’t have to bet the company to be innovative. It can be done systematically, with little bets. I recall that Jim Collins talked about “throwing things against the wall to see what sticks.” That’s another apt metaphor to use when coaching clients on innovation. I think that every top-tier executive and business coach needs to have a toolkit that helps clients accelerate innovation in their companies. Once you have these tools, you can make a valuable difference to your clients.    

Aflac

Amazon

Ancestry

Army Corp of Engineers

Ascension Health

AT&T

Bank of America

Bechtel

Best Buy

Booz Allen

Bose

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Brown University

Capital One

Caterpillar

Charles Schwab & Co.

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Cisco

Citrix

Coca-Cola

Deloitte

Dropbox

Duke Energy

Galveston Independent School District

General Atomics

General Electric

Google

Harvard Business School

Home Depot

Inland Steel

International Red Cross

Johnson and Johnson

Kaiser-Permanente

KPMG

Laser Spine Institute

Lexis Nexis

Liberty Mututal

L’Oreal

Macy’s

Mckinsey Consulting

Merck

Microsoft

MIT

NASA

National Basketball Association (NBA)

Nike

Nissan

Nvidia

Partners Healthcare

Philips

Procter & Gamble

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)

Ralph Lauren

Regeneron

Rice University

Ross Stores

Russell Reynolds Associates

Schneider Electric

Shell Oil

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Stryker

The Ohio State University

Tom’s Shoes

United Nations

University of Florida

Unum

UPS

US Air Force

US Army

US Army Medical Corps

US Marines

US Navy

USAID

Valassis

VMWare

Xerox

Zappos

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