According to the 7th annual Sherpa Coaching survey, executive coaching is alive and well. Despite some erratic behavior in the level of activity in the last few years, mostly due to the challenges the economy was facing, it continues to gain ground.
To the coaching community this is not entirely a surprise. Nevertheless, it is good news. Good news because, from a time when executive coaching was mostly reserved for the corporate elite, and more particularly for the elite who found itself in trouble, it has now broadened its role substantially. From a remedial tool that it mostly was, it has evolved into a leadership development tool used at multiple levels of the organization and mostly for the purpose of enhancing performance and growth. The benefits of course being that it is true for the individual being coached as well as for the organization. The trend shows a healthy growth, year over year. Not only does it show an increased level of activity, but more importantly, a more strategic use of coaching. Another good news.
Every year since 2005, the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Miami’s Corporate Community Institute and Tandy Center for Executive Leadership get their research team together to poll coaches, clients, HR and training professionals, as well as a wider group of professional interested in leadership development. Their survey is conducted worldwide.
Business coaching vs. executive coaching
To them, there are 3 broad areas in coaching: personal, sport and business-related. They further define the business-related area as business coaching and executive coaching. In their opinion, business coaching is a replacement term for consulting, as they define it as helping clients develop knowledge and skills. I would venture to say that to many executive coaches, their practice is a blend of both.
Executive coaching on the other hand works on business behavior they say. It is the ultimate leadership development tool, aiming at producing positive changes in business behavior. The focus of the survey is on the latter.
Regardless of the group you belong to, both are optimistic as to the future of the profession.
- More coaching is now devoted to developing upcoming talent.
- Remedial coaching has dropped from 40% of coaching mandates, to 25%. Another 25% is devoted to transition, whereas the remaining 50% is dedicated to leadership improvement. A good trend.
- Coaching allows leaders to reflect about decisions, and about themselves.
- Coaching brings reality front and center and helps leaders deal with it in a timely manner.
- Coaching guide the client in finding replacements for behaviors that is not working.
Do you recognize these trends from your own practice?
Value, credibility and delivery
The survey also establishes that executive coaching has now earned its stripes both as it relates to the perceived value of its effectiveness as well as the credibility of its process.
- More than 60% of non-coaches rate the value of coaching as “very high”.
- More than 90% of respondents say that the credibility of coaching is “very high”.
Also, even though the preferred delivery method remains one-on-one, technology based delivery is gaining ground. Clients and coaches alike are finding that such methodology makes for a higher level of flexibility and are far reaching.
Thanks to the success of executive coaching in organizations, now managers, executives and supervisors are expected to coach through behavioral issues. Therefore, coaching skills training for managers and executives are increasingly in demand. This will probably translate into huge opportunities for curriculum designers and practitioners.
Will your practice be able to absorb this trend?
Did you know?
40% of coaches do not favor standards of practice for coaching. However nine out of ten HR professionals say a standard is important or even absolutely essential. Are we listening to the customers?
Despite the lack of governing standards in the profession, standards of practice are being driven by clients for the most part. As a result of their influence;
- Open ended mandates are being replaced, more and more, by time defined mandates.
- Meetings on “a need basis” are also being replaced by regularly scheduled meetings.
- 99% of all coaches surveyed report using assessment tools. Such tools help measure progress and facilitate talks of ROI.
How does this compare with the latest ICF survey? Although the ICF executive summary is evidently targeted at coaches, where similar topics are reviewed, similar findings apply. The industry is consistent and so are the findings.If you would like to know more about both surveys, I invite you to visit both sites on line for more detailed information.