CoachCom2020 - Α coaching community enhancing impact of the H2020 SME Instrument

  • Tsekouras, George (PI)

Project Details


Although executive and business coaching has been around for some time, very few have tried to focus coaching on innovation and make it relevant to the needs of SMEs. CoachCom2020 develops a total system to offer and manage innovation coaching for the SME that get funding from the SME Instrument programme.

The CoachCom2020 package includes resources and processes for:

(i) KAM (Key Account Managers) who oversee the process of innovation coaching including the implementation of diagnostic service of the SME innovation needs;

(ii) Innovation Coaches offering services on Business Development, Organisational development and Co-operation

(iii) On-line support and management of the activities around the delivery of innovation coaching services.

The Innovation coaching service has been delivered so far to more than 1,700 SMEs across the EU, those that represent "la creme de la creme" in terms of innovation according to the EU Commission with impressive results.

Key findings

A Life Cycle Model related to the innovation needs of SMEs has been developed comprising of the following stages:

1. Seed stage where a start-up is trying to develop the main concepts of its offerings, matching the offering qualities to the market needs
2. Project-to-project stage where the small company is serving a few customers points with the aim of understanding better its own offerings, learning better the customers requirements and get a first taste of the processes of the value chain.
3. Upscaling stage where the SME is scaling-up its sales and has to to upgrade (and usually standardise) the processes around supply, production, promotion and marketing and finally distribution and market channels.
4. Expansion stage where the SME has to build on the knowledge and capabilities acquired so far to expand to other geographical or sectoral markets in order to increase its turnover and its profitability
5. Renewal stage, where the SME having realised that its markets and/or its offerings have been saturated, it engages in an effort to review its offering and its processes in oder to build a new position in the market
6. Consolidation stage where the SME decides to merge with another company or proceed to a significant restructuring of its organisation and its business model.

Innovation coaching can facilitate the transition between these stages. The analysis has revealed the following trends about the role of innovation coaching in SMEs. Firstly there is a strong correlation between the overall satisfaction of the SME and the SME satisfaction on the outcome of the coaching process; this is probably hardly surprising given the emphasis the SME would naturally put on the outcome of the process they follow.

The analysis also revealed the strong correlation between the SME overall satisfaction and the SME satisfaction on the coaching process, including the selection of the coach and the management of the relationship.

The correlation between the coaches satisfaction and the SME overall satisfaction and the SME satisfaction on the outcome was medium, which suggests that although the selection and management of coaches works, there is some room for improvement, especially in terms of training and developing the coaches to deal all kind of different circumstances.

The weakest part of the chain is the relationship between KAMs and Coaches. It seems that this is the most critical need of the system and it needs immediate address. The main point of improvement there is the need to increase the level and the quality of interaction between KAMs and coaches, especially before a case is handed over from the KAM to a coach. The current situation varies a lot with several coaches complaining for insufficient interaction.
Short titleCoachCom2020
Effective start/end date1/09/1431/01/17


  • Horizon 2020


  • Innovation coaching
  • SMEs
  • Life Cycle stages


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