THE BIG FOUR

Internal coaching is thriving in the biggest accounting firms in the UK. In this report, based on a case study by Clive Mann, managing director of Ridler & Co, we examine the development and success of internal coaching in the Big Four accounting firms. What can other larger organisations learn from them?
The ‘Big Four’ accounting firms in the UK: Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, have all developed their internal coaching into sophisticated, highly credible, well-established functions. Interest in internal coaching is rising among other large organisations, too. According to the latest 2013 Ridler Report, 79 per cent of large organisational respondents expected to see an increase in internal coaching in the next three years, with 39 per cent expecting a large increase.

That interest is being driven by factors, including internal coaches’ deep understanding of their organisation’s business context/political environment, the contribution that internal coaching makes to the organisation’s coaching culture and the relative value for money of internal versus external coaching in context of the increasing demand for executive coaching.

Clive Mann, managing director of Ridler & Co, says: “Over the course of the last seven years of researching trends in the use of executive coaching in the Ridler Report, it became clear that the Big Four accounting firms were doing a huge amount of executive coaching and had built up considerable expertise, especially in the provision of internal coaching. The credibility of internal coaching has become extremely well established in these firms, with full-time internal coaches working with some of their most senior individuals.

“The 2013 Ridler Report indicates that many organisations in the UK and internationally, intend to expand their use of internal coaching as the demand for coaching increases. I felt that these organisations could learn from the Big Four’s many years of experience and lessons learned. The idea to write a case study had its genesis when I met with the Big Four at the EMCC UK’s Professional Services Network in 2013.

“The Big Four have been very open, collaborative and generous in sharing their internal coaching approaches in the case study, for the benefit of the wider community.”

Eye on the prize: Hidden treasures

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