Extra information: why, who, how?

Today, coaching seems to be a privilege reserved for executives, ‘high potentials’, or other higher-educated employees. In addition, coaching often only happens ad hoc, at the request of the employee or as part of a specific training programme.

In addition, organisations usually have to look outside the firm to find (expensive external) coaches. Moreover, in most companies, there are no (or very few) coaching initiatives aimed at lower-educated employees. The direct supervisors of these employees often do not have the experience, resources, abilities, motivation, or opportunity to coach their subordinates.

For all these reasons, companies that want to introduce coaching would benefit greatly from an instrument that would make coaching possible and available at all levels throughout the organisation. And ideally, without the need for external coaches!

‘Stevig in de Steigers’ was developed for exactly this purpose. This instrument makes coaching accessible to everyone, and it enables organisations to use internal coaches at all levels, including lower-educated employees.


‘Stevig in de Steigers’ was developed at the initiative of Vlerick Business School, with the support of the European Social Fund Flanders. The following organisations have each contributed their own specific expertise to the development of ‘Stevig in de Steigers’:

  • Vlerick Business School: expertise in coaching and developmental techniques – project leader and content development.
  • Wonen en Werken vzw: expertise in the target group – practical applicability.
  • Centrum Informatieve Spelen: expertise in game methodology – development and production.

In addition, 7 Flemish companies tested prototype versions of the instrument. These organisations were selected to make sure that the instrument is applicable over the widest possible range of professional profiles, industries, sectors (profit/non-profit), etc.






It took more than 2 years to develop ‘Stevig in de Steigers’ – in a process that can be divided into roughly 4 different phases:

1. Research phase

First of all, researchers at Vlerick Business School conducted a thorough literature study to obtain a broad overview of the scientific literature on coaching. They mapped different coaching methodologies and techniques and the existing definitions of coaching, empirically tested the effects of coaching, and developed scales to measure the effects of coaching. Particular attention was paid to the literature on coaching and other developmental techniques in the context of lower-educated employees.

In addition, in each of the 7 test organisations, 3 focus groups were organised with the HR department and a selection of supervisors and lower-educated employees. Input was collected on what should be (and not be) included in the instrument, the criteria it should meet, etc.

2. Development phase

After several brainstorming sessions based on the input gathered in the Research phase, the project team developed a first prototype of ‘Stevig in de Steigers’.

3. Testing phase

Next, this prototype was tested in the 7 test organisations. In each organisation, we first organised a session in which supervisors/internal coaches received information on the prototype. They then had 3 weeks to thoroughly test it with their employees in the workplace. Then, we organised 2 focus groups in each organisation (with supervisors and employees) to gather as much feedback as possible on the prototype’s methodology, applicability, etc.

This testing phase consisted of 3 different ‘test rounds’. In each round, 2-3 organisations were given the chance to test the instrument. After each round, the prototype was adapted based on the feedback we received, and then a new version of the prototype would be tested in the next round.

4. Finalisation

After the Testing phase, the prototype was finalised: all bugs in the digital version were fixed, a few extra functionalities were added, all texts in the instrument and manuals were thoroughly proofread and edited, and finally ‘Stevig in de Steigers’ was given a name and an attractive lay-out.

Extra information: why, who, how?

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