Top executive coaching management software tips from Canva

An executive onscreen using coaching management software

The primary role of an executive leader is to make strategic, high-level decisions that steer the company toward success. In a time when the future is clouded by uncertainty, those choices become even more challenging and higher stake. As a result, CEOs and other C-suite executives need more support than ever — not only to make the right decisions but also to look after their own mental and physical well-being.

Executive coaches provide an ideal sounding board to help leaders gain clarity around their ideas and strategy. They can also help them develop the key leadership and communication skills they need to inspire and motivate others. As such, any company that is serious about growth should have an executive coaching program in place.

As one of the world's fastest-growing tech companies, Canva recognized early that it needed a strategy to maintain its unique culture as it scaled. The design software company established its internal coaching team to develop high-performing teams and leaders and help their people reach their full potential. With more than 20 years of experience as an executive coach, Canva's Internal Coaching Lead Sarah Nanclares knew they needed the right tool to spearhead this initiative.

Here, Sarah shares her top executive coaching software recommendation, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of it.

Table of contents
Why Fingerprint for Success is the best executive coaching software for Canva
How to increase adoption of your executive coaching program: Sarah's top tips
How to choose the right executive coaching management software for your coaching and training team
How to generate a high-impact return on investment for executive coaching management in your organization?
Frequently asked questions

Why Fingerprint for Success is the best executive coaching software for Canva

Canva is known for its intuitive, user-friendly software that can easily replace other design, image editing, and marketing tools. So, unsurprisingly, they were looking for the same simplicity when it came to coaching solutions.

Fingerprint for Success (F4S) is the only tool Sarah uses to run Canva's internal coaching program. Having a powerful all-in-one solution eliminates the need to have a long repertoire of other online coaching tools. "I like that Fingerprint for Success is light," says Sarah. "It's not complex and cumbersome, which is something I don't enjoy about other tools."

Sarah used F4S in her previous work in the coaching industry, to predict compatibility in relationships. Now, she applies F4S' "great, valuable insights" to achieve better alignment at Canva. "It gives an accurate understanding of how a person is motivated, and drivers and drainers to their energy at work," she says.

Canva uses F4S as the core of its people strategy, including recruitment, people development, and team dynamics. In terms of their daily activities, this typically looks like:

Onboarding

As part of their onboarding, new starters are invited to take F4S' highly accurate work style assessment. Not only does this give them unparalleled insight into their personal motivations, strengths, and blindspots, but it also helps leaders understand who is on their team.

"Recently, we had a new People Partner start, who inherited 11 direct reports," recounts Sarah. "So, I was able to walk her through the platform and say "Let me show you the team you've walked into." By understanding the dynamics that make up their teams, leaders can maximize collaboration and make more informed decisions.

f4s team dashboard shows workplace motivations of individuals on a scale
F4S team dashboard

Interpersonal troubleshooting

"The best way to use F4S is to help someone solve a problem," says Sarah. With many cross-functional teams working on projects at Canva, simple misunderstandings can significantly impact workflow. The F4S platform helps Canva employees better understand the people they're collaborating with, so they can quickly get back on track.

"I work with people in company-critical departments, such as engineering, design, and product, when they can't see eye to eye," says Sarah. Rather than bombarding them with long explanations that aren't relevant, the coaching team can show them F4S' data and help them understand the team dynamics at play.

"That's when I bring them in together, and F4S helps people and teams rise above the emotional aspect of the situation, and into "understanding land," says Sarah. "We're moving away from 'right and wrong' which allows us to have much more constructive conversations about behavior."

Not only can F4S help Canva's people better understand what drives their colleagues' behavior, but it can also help them find common ground so they can move forward more effectively.

Understanding cultural differences

With the Canva team located in Australia, China, and The Philippines, F4S helps Canva 'get work done' across multiple regions. The Culture Map feature in particular proves valuable for identifying key similarities, and potential areas of friction.

"We find that some regions are very 'steady as she goes' in their productivity, whereas other locations are used to speed and pressure," says Sarah.  "So, if we're experiencing a struggle, F4S helps us understand what's going on there."

It also helps to find unexpected synergies in cross-cultural teams. "I had one person say I'm so similar to the China team, but I'm different from my team'," says Sarah. "We were able to say, 'Yes, you might be different from the Australian team, but how can we embrace those differences?'"

People development

As well as resolving active situations, Canva uses F4S in a more proactive way. One-on-one meetings are the 'bread and butter' of their internal coaching initiative — and F4S' virtual coach Marlee helps to supplement the amazing work done by their human coaches. With on-demand coaching programs available, coaching to more than 1,000 different personal and work goals, Canva leaders and employees can actively work on key areas of improvement.

Whether it's increasing EQ or improving reflection and patience, these core skills help build happier, more harmonious teams. Better yet, the sessions take just 5-10 minutes, twice a week, and are available, anywhere. This makes it easy for Canva's people to fit it into their schedule.

F4S' people development tools also help Canva understand if they have the resources to reach their company goals. "It helps us ask, 'these are our company's drivers and drainers' — is that what we need to get to our tomorrows?" Sarah says. "Is it in alignment with the goals that we've got set for the business to get us where we need to go?" By having these frank, candid conversations, Canva's leadership team can be more strategic about addressing these gaps.

Talent acquisition

F4S also helps Canva make hiring decisions, both inside and outside the coaching team. With popular tech companies such as Canva typically attracting hundreds of applications for new roles, it can be challenging to spot the A-players. F4S' talent acquisition features such as benchmarking and culture fit help Canva leaders make more data-driven decisions, free from bias and blindspots.

"I personally use F4S when hiring in my team, and I help other leaders in the organization make those decisions, too," says Sarah. "Everyone has to take the F4S assessment before [the interview], and I use it very intentionally to understand how this future person would fit into the team." She adds: "It works really well, and it always has."

How to increase adoption of your executive coaching program: Sarah's top tips

Sarah reports that Canva's F4S adoption levels are high. "I've had maybe two people in five years who didn't want to use the program," she says. With more than 4,000 employees, that's no small feat. Here, Sarah shares her top tips for encouraging your people to engage in the coaching journey:

  • Make it interactive and relevant: By referencing F4S' visual dashboards during your coaching sessions, you can better tell the story of your people "We sit together and I put their report up, and walk them through their strengths and opportunities in a way that is highly relatable," says Sarah. "They always say 'Wow, okay I get it — what else can you tell me?'"
f4s personal dashboard
F4S personal dashboard
  • Language matters: Due to the broad range of clients we serve, the language in the F4S platform may not always be hyper-specific to your industry. "Language is powerful, and if a certain term isn't in the mainstream, this can create misunderstandings," says Sarah. Where possible, try to provide examples of the motivational traits that make sense in the context of your business.
  • Check-in regularly: You'll likely find that certain employees are more open to executive coaching software than others. It's important to be respectful of those people by not forcing the tools on them but also circling back to gain their opinions on it. "You can tell when certain people are on the fence about it," says Sarah. "But once we bring it to life for them and iron out any questions or wrinkles they might have, they love it."

How to choose the right executive coaching management software for your coaching and training team

Hopefully, Canva's success has inspired you to implement your own executive coaching program. But, with so many tools available, how do you choose the right software for your organization? Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • What key features do you need? There's no point paying for superfluous features that aren't going to move the needle for your business. Consider which tools will actually make a difference for your organization — whether it's intake forms or customizable branding for a white-label experience.
  • How will you deliver your coaching sessions? Whether it's in-person, video conferencing, AI coaching or training programs, there are a multitude of different ways to facilitate coaching. Think about what makes the most sense for where the team is currently at — both figuratively and geographically.
f4s personalized coaching queue
F4S personalized coaching queue
  • What is your budget?  Some executive coaching programs cost thousands per month. When you combine that with other software for the administrative tasks involved, it's easy to see how that can add up! It's best to go for an all-in-one coaching platform that is scalable, so it grows with your business.
  • What type of coaching would your execs benefit from? If you are looking to help your C-suite become more effective leaders, executive coaching is probably the right fit. However, if your goal is to help them improve their well-being or work/life balance, a life coach may be more suitable. Startup founders also commonly work with business coaches, to work on key metrics such as revenue and profit.
  • Who requires access to the data? Some organizations only require their HR team or coaching managers to track client progress. However, if you'd prefer your clients to be more active participants in their own coaching process, a more transparent tool such as F4S can be a better option.

Accelerate understanding between teams

Breadth

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Motivated by macro big picture thinking, these teammates value moving quickly to connect dots between abstract ideas to 'get the gist' of things.

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vs

Depth

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These teammates value being concrete and specific, getting into details to understand the steps or tasks required.

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See the different work styles in your team

Take the free assessment & set up your team

How to generate a high-impact return on investment for executive coaching management in your organization?

When it comes to building a high-impact coaching program, your strategy is just as important as your tools. Here are some actionable tips to help maximize your ROI.

Design for maximum adoption

An executive coaching program only works if people are actually using it! Consider how you can add ways to keep clients accountable, such as automatic reminders that their sessions are coming up. Also, keep in mind that executive leaders are busy people — so on-demand offerings such as F4S' bite-sized sessions are ideal.

Leverage the power of data

Visualizing progress over time is another great way to keep clients engaged. At F4S, we use powerful people analytics to capture skills development and movement towards goals, to sustain motivation. This can also provide greater clarity over the effectiveness of your coaching program — and whether you need to make any adjustments.

Plan for the future

Your coaching needs today might look quite different from five years down the track (or even one year, if you're a fast-growing organization such as Canva). Consider opting for scalable software such as F4S that can grow with your organization, so that you're only paying for what you need.

Think outside the C-suite

Employees at all levels can benefit from coaching, not just top executives. However, due to the high cost of traditional coaching, it has historically only been offered to the C-suite and team leaders. F4S allows your entire organization to access coaching, so you can improve employee retention and engagement and nurture the leaders of tomorrow.

Frequently asked questions

What key features do you need to run an executive coaching practice?

There are a range of essential features you may need, depending on the size of your executive coaching program. These include:

  • Features for administrative tasks: Including client-friendly online booking, calendar management, client scheduling, seamless calendar integration, third-party integrations, a system to process payments, and invoicing features.
  • Features for client management: Including a customer relationship management (CRM) system for client relationship tracking, feedback forms, unlimited client capacity, payment plans, and tracking coaching hours.
  • Features for facilitating coaching sessions: Including a coaching platform for online sessions, video conferencing progress tracking, session note-taking, digital downloads, and a user-friendly coaching app.
  • Features for marketing your coaching business: Including custom branding options, email marketing tools such as email campaigns, digital content, and social media management.

If you're just getting started, you might choose to combine a few different tools, such as task management software, administrative tools, meeting scheduling, and document-sharing apps. However, if you're growing coaching programs at scale, an all-in-one platform generally proves more efficient.

How does executive coaching software help coaches and clients?

Executive coaching software offers a myriad of benefits for both coaches and clients. A coaching management platform streamlines various aspects of the coaching experience, improving overall efficiency and effectiveness.

For coaches, essential tools such as appointment scheduling, make it effortless to manage coaching packages with existing and potential clients. The platform allows coaches to showcase coaching resources, enhancing their online coaching business by attracting more clients. With these tools at their fingertips, coaches can save time on administrative tasks so they can focus on their expertise.

Meanwhile, coaching clients benefit from a seamless and user-friendly experience when scheduling sessions and accessing coaching resources. The software keeps clients on track with progress-tracking features, fostering a better client experience. Additionally, a flexible coaching platform accommodates various coaching time preferences, accommodating busy schedules.

For both coaches and clients, executive coaching software facilitates better client interactions. The software's CRM system tracks client interactions, helping coaches maintain strong client relationships and provide personalized coaching experiences.

Ultimately, coaching software empowers professional coaches to efficiently manage their coaching engagements and cater to a broader client base. By eliminating annoying systems and centralizing coaching tools, the software enhances the coaching experience for both coaches and clients — making executive coaching more accessible and impactful.

Ready to kickstart your executive coaching program today?

Take a leaf out of Canva's book and make people your biggest competitive advantage. Get started with F4S' cutting-edge coaching and collaboration tools for free today. F4S' coaching programs are designed to help your leaders unlock their full potential. With sessions taking only 5-15 minutes, busy execs and employees can access them anytime and anywhere.

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