In my May blog post, I explained what executive coaching is. But before people choose to participate in executive coaching, they often want to know what they would gain. It’s a good question. Coachees must spend additional time and energy on an effort that is not their “day job,” and they often already have jam-packed schedules and plenty of other commitments. So let’s look at the benefits of executive coaching, and why it’s a worthwhile investment.
Within a coaching engagement, it is important to clearly define goals so that the coachee (and the sponsor, if applicable) can see and celebrate successes at the end of the engagement. So the goals of coaching, and therefore the benefits of coaching, are tailored to a coachee’s specific development areas. These in turn are usually relevant to team and organizational success. However, there are also a number of studies on the broader outcomes of coaching.
The International Coach Federation (ICF), an accrediting body for coaches, conducted a survey in 2009 of more than 2000 coaching clients from around the world. Nearly all of the respondents (99%) said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the overall coaching experience, and 96% said they would choose to be coached again. The respondents reported a positive impact of coaching in areas such as self-confidence (80%), communication skills (72%), interpersonal skills (71%), work performance (70%), time management (57%), and team effectiveness (51%). For companies that were able to estimate a return on investment (ROI) of coaching, the median company return was 700%, indicating that a company can typically expect a return of seven times the investment in coaching.
ROI might seem like a difficult thing to quantify. One example of calculating ROI for executive coaching includes costs avoided by developing internal talent, such as search agency and recruiting costs. And an internal analysis by Booz Allen Hamilton identified an almost 700% ROI for executive coaching by estimating the monetary value of things like improved team work, increased retention, increased quality of consulting work, and increased productivity. Anecdotal evidence is powerful too. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the best advice he ever got was to get a coach.
A Center for Creative Leadership study found that participants in executive coaching were “highly satisfied” with the coaching with more than 90% stating they would recommend their coach to a colleague. Based on participants themselves, and those providing them feedback, the results realized from coaching included improved collaboration and communication, increased confidence and effectiveness, and more effective use of feedback. And an analysis of coaching conducted by the American Management Association found that of the organizations they surveyed, 79% used coaching to improve individual performance and productivity, 63% used it as part of leadership development and succession planning, and 56% used coaching to improve organizational performance.
Academia is also looking at the benefits of executive coaching. One study found that workplace coaching has a positive impact on individual learning and development and enables an improvement in organizational performance. And a separate aggregate analysis of a number of studies concluded that workplace coaching has a “significant” positive effect on performance and skills, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation.
There are numerous valuable outcomes of executive coaching, and individuals and organizations alike find it a worthwhile investment. If you are trying to effect similar results, for yourself or for your organization, it might be the right time for you to try out executive coaching.