I have to admit that I was astonished that 90% of firms were coaching and, in my cynical way, wondered how formal this coaching was since it includes coaching by line managers. Perhaps it is my background in legal sector management which has driven this cynicism. I'd also be surprised to find that UK law firms matched the survey in that only 20% of firms surveyed reported a reduction in their coaching budget. In my very unscientific survey of law firms (otherwise known as ringing some contacts) I didn't find a firm that either properly separated their coaching and training budgets or that had not seen a significant reduction in their training (and so coaching) budgets.
In my opinion, coaching is probably more important than ever and should be at least preserved in every firm - if necessary at the expense of training. Coaching deals, generally, with the softer aspects of work - relationship issues, conflict issues, performance appraisal and management, motivation, for example. In difficult times, and in an industry savaged by redundancies, coaching is vital to keep performance high.
So - if you are a partner or an executive in a law firm, please have a look at the article from the CIPD and look at some of the other resources that the CIPD offer (someone in your HR department, at least, will have a membership and so be able to get hold of the information). Examine the coaching your firm is already doing. Formalise the process if necessary and look to expand it. Done well, everyone benefits from coaching - the firm, partners and staff.
I know that this is my second blog about the CIPD - no I don't work for them and no, I'm not currently pitching for work their either...