08 February 2024

Building Internal Coaching Capacity vs Engaging External Coaches

Which is right for your organisation?

Coaching, in its many forms, is a highly effective way to support and develop your leaders and line managers. The question is: how do you know which coaching option, or combination of options, will deliver the best outcomes for your organisation?

This guide examines the pros and cons of building your coaching capacity internally with accredited internal coaches and coaching skills training, engaging external coaches, and using a combined approach.



Building Internal Coaching Capacity

This can be done in two ways:

  1. Developing a pool of certified internal coaches. Typically internal coaches fulfil their coaching responsibilities alongside their normal role. This can deliver organisations incredible benefits and allows those who train as a coach – particularly leaders – to become an inspirational force of change, maximise the potential of their team or colleagues, and develop deeper and more productive relationships. This in turn has a knock-on effect on their performance in their normal role.
  2. Providing coaching skills training to leaders and managers. Such training is particularly beneficial for busy leaders who find themselves falling into bad habits such as telling rather than asking and fixing problems instead of empowering team members to find their own solutions. Leaders get trapped in a cycle of inefficiency and stagnation with teams who lack motivation, creativity, and initiative. Learning how to coach rather than control, can break that cycle.


  • This is a cost-effective way of providing coaching to all employees, regardless of their level in the organisation, and ensuring they have timely access to coaching when the need arises.
  • Team members who are coached by their managers have increased levels of self-efficacy, improved work performance, better relationships, and improved communication skills.
  • Internal coaches with other roles have a greater sense of purpose, a more diverse skill-set and therefore more career development opportunities.
  • Coachees may feel more comfortable being coached by a colleague who understands the challenges of working in the organisation.


  • Managers may be resistant to having coaching skills training and changing their approach.
  • Internal coaches may struggle to balance their normal roles with their coaching responsibilities.
  • An internal coach’s own perceptions and opinions about the organisation can prevent them from acting without bias.
  • New coaches lack experience and the breadth of tools (e.g. virtual, team coaching) that professional coaches have.
  • Internal coaches may not be seen as credible or as confidential as an external coach.

Most suitable option for organisations who:

  • understand, and have available, the financial and time resources to dedicate to training.
  • want to establish a coaching culture and mindset for better performance and employee engagement.
  • want to implement coaching at scale and democratise 1:1 coaching for all employees.
  • have had experience, and positive outcomes, with external coaching in the past.
  • want to upskill both new and existing managers so they can use a coaching approach.


If this option is right for your organisation, your next steps are:

Find a coaching training provider like TNM who offer a variety of programs including Certified Internal Coach training, plus coaching and mentoring skills training for leaders.

Visit our website to explore our programs



Engaging External Coaches

Experienced, accredited coaches can play an important role in helping leaders and teams move forward from challenges that are stagnating due to inefficiency, poor decision making and communication skills, low self-awareness and a lack of confidence.

An external coach can give leaders a fresh perspective on their leadership limitations and potential, help them unravel their workplace challenges in a safe place and support them to develop enhanced thinking and greater interpersonal effectiveness.


  • External coaches can remain neutral as they don’t have preconceived ideas about the person or the organisation.
  • External coaches have a wide range of experiences and tools at their disposal.
  • An external coach can create a safe space for coachees to speak about delicate issues – it’s as confidential as going to a psychologist or doctor.
  • External coaches don’t have other responsibilities within the organisation so are free from the burden of balancing coaching time and workloads.
  • External coaches can provide more sensitive feedback, and can challenge coachees more than an internal coach who may have to consider their working relationship with the coachee outside their sessions.


  • Using external coaches, particularly when you need to implement a large-scale program, is expensive.
  • An external coach will need time to familiarise themself with the coachee’s context, e.g.  the company culture and processes.
  • External coaching can be difficult to scale, and doesn’t help line managers develop the coaching skills they need.
  • Short-term needs might conflict with an external coach’s case-load – they may not have availability when they are needed.

Most suitable option for organisations who:

  • experience critical situations where coaches are needed immediately.
  • need an external coach to provide unbiased, confidential coaching for sensitive issues.
  • haven’t had much exposure to coaching and are unsure of what benefits it will bring them.
  • have senior-level and executive suite leaders who need intensive work with a professional in an environment outside of work.


If this option is right for your organisation, your next steps are:

To find an experienced, ICF-accredited coach, or an organisation like TNM who can provide a pool of coaches to meet the varying needs of your leaders.

Visit our website to explore our workplace coaching options



Taking a Combined Approach

Organisations are complex and often have layers of issues to address. In many cases, the most effective coaching solution is to use a combination of the options above. The challenge is getting the balance right by deciding how much investment you make in each. To determine this balance, your organisation needs to consider:

  • What are your long-term goals for the organisation and your people?
  • To what extent do you see coaching as meeting immediate needs versus being part of building a coaching culture?
  • Which levels and/or types of employee do you want to provide coaching for? Do you need coaching at scale?
  • What is your budget for coaching?
  • How important is it to you that your organisation can be self-sufficient in developing its people?

TNM have found that increasingly organisations determine a balance between three modalities of coaching by:

  • using external coaches for their most senior leaders and for leaders who need an external perspective;
  • training line managers in coaching skills to change their day-to-day approach, either through specific coaching skills training or through integrating coaching skills into their leadership development program; and
  • developing a pool of dedicated internal coaches either to work with mid to senior-level leaders away from the immediate workplace for issues they won’t talk to their line manager about, or when the company is about to undertake a significant initiative like a restructure, merger or major change likely to result in common coaching needs.



What balance between the modalities of coaching would best suit your organisation?

If you’d like to explore how coaching and coaching skills training can benefit your organisation, get in touch to speak with our team via energy@tnmcoaching.com


Written by TNM Coaching


You are using an outdated browser which can not show modern web content.

We suggest you download Chrome or Firefox.