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Coaching for Legacy Industries on the Brink of Innovation

Changemakers exist in all industries. Behind every company’s positive evolution is a person or team who saw opportunity in doing things better. But while it’s true that the changemaker impulse is industry agnostic, not every industry has rallied around change at a similar pace.

Some industries, like healthcare, legal, and finance, currently sit on the brink of profound innovation. These “legacy industries,” as we’ll call them, have been slower to modernize, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Rather, changemakers today face a unique opportunity to have an outsized impact in these industries which are poised to begin operating in more thoughtful, compassionate, and innovative ways.

In this article, we’ll explore how the changemakers of legacy industries can unlock the best ideas, people strategies, and resources in the early phases of innovation.

What We Mean by “Legacy Industries”

In the context of this article, legacy industries are major business verticals that have traditionally been slower to adopt change—including, but not limited to, the healthcare, legal, and financial industries. As a result of being slower to modernize, legacy industries today share similar challenges and needs. The urgency to meet these challenges with innovative solutions has accelerated in a post-pandemic world as workforce norms and expectations have fundamentally changed for the long haul.

How Does Coaching Facilitate Change & Innovation?

Coaching helps facilitate change and innovation by driving predictable positive outcomes for organizations. With employees, managers, and executives supported by coaches, an entire organization can reach new heights. Here are some key ways in which coaching can elevate companies in legacy industries.

Talent Retention

Coaching facilitates engagement, belonging, and alignment between employee and organizational values. As a result, coaching plays a key role in talent retention, a proven outcome supported by data. To maximize innovation, organizations must keep their talent happy and supported.

Culture Development

The ultimate outcome of a well-designed coaching program is the formation of a coaching culture. In a coaching culture, an organization sticks to its values, listens to all voices, encourages healthy communication, supports employee success, and embraces the shift to a more compassionate workplace.

Change Management

Navigating change may be difficult, whether it’s personal, organizational, or wider within an industry. For legacy industries, modernization means change, which may involve the shift to remote work, the adoption of new tools, or shifting roles within a team. Coaching is a space to acknowledge, plan, and strategize for change gracefully.

Leadership Development

Managers and leaders in legacy industries face big, new challenges. In order to meet the moment, we shouldn’t expect anyone to become seasoned leaders overnight. Coaching for new managers is one of the most common use cases for coaching, and it’s a dedicated resource for effective leadership development.

Coaching for Healthcare Professionals

Following an extremely treacherous few years defined by a pandemic, healthcare organizations today face an uphill battle to regroup and move forward, stronger. Among the most pressing challenges is a global labor crisis affecting the entire industry, most notably in nursing. Healthcare workers are burned out, leaving the industry, or avoiding it altogether.

According to a 2022 McKinsey study on the need for innovation in healthcare, the United States could see a shortage of up to 450,000 nurses and 80,000 physicians by 2025. While the numbers are scary, reversing this trend is possible. McKinsey notes it will require organizations to fundamentally restructure their recruitment and retention strategies to meet talent needs with more compassion and effectiveness.

The McKinsey report further reveals that healthcare leaders prioritizing innovation could see game-changing financial returns in the years ahead. By embracing strategies that promote productivity, technology adoption, and organizational growth, healthcare leaders have an opportunity to drum up more than $1 trillion in newly created value. Such an outcome will require new strategies in an industry that has traditionally avoided change, but the opportunity is there–and it’s massive.

To meet the moment—and the need for greater innovation, talent retention, and performance—why not consider coaching for healthcare professionals? These are the exact outcomes enjoyed by organizations leveraging coaching to support their people. For that reason, don’t be surprised to see the growing popularity of coaching for healthcare managers and executives in the coming years.

Summary: Coaching for Healthcare Professionals

The Problem: A labor crisis calls for new, innovative ways to support healthcare employees.

The Solution: Coaching for healthcare managers and leaders

Expected Outcomes: With the individualized support of a coach, employee wellness, performance, and retention trend upward. Improved communication and collaboration optimize a team’s capacity to create needle-moving innovation. 

Coaching for Lawyers & Law Firms

A 2015 article featured in The Atlantic wasted no time putting the legal industry on notice with its title: “Why Are So Many Law Firms Trapped in 1995?” The point was simple and unlikely to surprise those familiar with the industry: law firms have been slow to adopt new technology, ideas, retention strategies, and ways of working. As a result, they are prone to missing out on opportunities for improved productivity, efficiency, and organizational culture.

Making the shift toward modernization and innovation is no small task for a law firm. One of the most important parts of the process is for firms to recognize that there will be some growing pains. For a case study on how to minimize those growing pains, look no further than San Francisco based firm Hanson Bridgett

As covered in a 2021 article from Harvard Business Review (HBR), Hanson Bridgett caught a stroke of luck in its decision to modernize and move toward a hybrid work model in 2018. Two years later when COVID-19 forced most organizations to scramble, Hanson Bridgett saw “literally zero interruptions to any of our systems or to any of our people,” said managing partner Kristina Lawson.

Hanson Bridgett’s restructuring sprang from a strategic move to cut office space costs in favor of attracting and retaining the best legal talent. To do this, the firm accomodated three workstyle options for its staff: Work in a traditional office, work in a desk-sharing environment, or work exclusively from home. Despite “significant cultural resistance” at first, the firm began logging an increase in billable hours—a clear indicator of an increase in productivity.

But it wasn’t just productivity that defined this success story. Hanson Bridgett recognized new challenges and addressed them head-on. The firm invested in new IT infrastructure, cloud services, and vendor relationships to support the work-from-home transition. To manage the inevitable culture shock, leaders and managers were called upon to become more creative, compassionate, and involved with their teams. In-person off-sites were organized to help strengthen culture during a time of significant change.

For law firms looking to emulate Hanson Bridgett’s transition, coaching supports many of the key elements that made this story possible. From change management, to staying connected in a distributed world, to upskilling for managers and leaders, coaching for law firms is a multifaceted resource.

Summary: Coaching for Legal Professionals

The Problem: New expectations for workplace norms and work-life alignment call for law firms to modernize in order to maximize bottom line, productivity, talent retention, and culture creation.

The Solution: Coaching for lawyers and legal professionals

Expected Outcomes: Coaching helps individuals navigate how to thrive in new systems and handle change management. Used in team settings, coaching also supports collaboration and innovation for distributed teams.

Coaching for Finance Professionals

A 2017 HBR article describes the financial services industry as just beginning its transition into the Digital Age. To win in this new paradigm, HBR argues financial institutions must invest in visionary leaders who can effect change and build companies for the next 50 years. If they don’t, finance will continue losing top talent to the tech industry. “This focus on people is key,” says HBR.

“Financial institutions need more technically adept, visionary talent if they are to survive the shift to the Digital Age and take the kind of risks necessary for long-term success.” 

–Harvard Business Review

This ongoing need to focus more on the people and talent side of the financial industry has been well documented for the last decade. In a 2013 study from Deloitte, 65% of senior bankers reported feeling that culture was a significant problem within the finance industry. However, in a classic example of superiority bias, only 33% of those respondents believed culture problems existed at their own organizations.

The report also revealed poor leadership was a main driver of those culture problems. Respondents ranked training for senior managers and emerging leaders as the most important solution to combat these culture shortcomings. As one finance professional lamented in the report, “We just don’t train leaders and managers. We just assume they’ll learn it by osmosis.”

Surely progress has been made since the early 2010s, and there’s evidence that financial professionals understand what needs to change. To facilitate that change, coaching is perfectly positioned as a solution for the financial industry. In fact, improving culture, facilitating innovation, and developing new managers are some of the most common and successful use cases for coaching. 

Summary: Coaching for Finance Professionals

The Problem: Financial institutions today struggle from decades-long shortcomings highlighted by poor culture, insufficient leadership development, and a lack of focus on the people side of business.

The Solution: Coaching for financial institutions

Expected Outcomes: Coaching offers an all-in-one solution for the financial industry’s leading challenges, serving as a resource to develop emerging leaders, strengthen culture, and retain top talent.

Finding the Right Coaching Program for Your Organization

For legacy industry organizations looking to make the most of coaching, note that not all coaching is equal. At a)plan coaching, we specialize in a whole-person coaching approach that enables our coaches to meet the bespoke needs of our clients. That means our coaches are well equipped to serve clients and organizations dealing with the challenges outlined in this article.

The right coaching program strikes the right balance of customization and scalability. Customization, because organizations have unique needs, and a coaching program should be designed accordingly. Scalability, because the coaching must be consistent for all participants in the program in order for the organization to see maximum impact.

For any talent managers and human resource leaders working in healthcare, legal, or finance, we’d love to connect. We believe coaching can and will contribute in big ways to the innovation on the horizon for these all-important industries.

Looking to learn more about coaching for legacy industries like healthcare, legal, and finance? Get in touch >

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