Although coaching has traditionally been used as a developmental tool for executives, in many organizations access has expanded to individuals at every age and stage of their careers. This is because a growing number of organizational decision-makers recognize the capacity of coaching to empower, engage and develop employees.
As the face of individuals receiving coaches changes, so do the modalities used. Increasingly, organizations are utilizing managers and leaders who use coaching knowledge, approaches and skills to create awareness and support behavior change. Organizations with strong coaching cultures value and invest in professional coach practitioners and managers/leaders using coaching skills in order to support employees at all levels in growing their skills, enhancing their value and reaching their professional goals.
For the third consecutive year, the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) partnered to research coaching within organizations. In a study of almost 900 human resources (HR), learning and development (L&D), and talent management (TM) professionals, leaders and managers, the key research findings include:
There is a business case for a strong coaching culture.
- Seventeen percent of respondents’ organizations have a strong coaching culture. They measure higher employee engagement (62% of employees rated as highly engaged compared to 50% of other responding organizations).
- Organizations with a strong coaching culture report recent revenue above their industry peer group (51% of organizations compared to 38% of other responding organizations).
Coaching impacts many talent and organizational outcomes, but it is not a solution for every challenge.
- Improved team functioning, increased employee engagement and increased productivity are the top outcomes of coaching and are reported by more than half of all survey respondents.
- Lack of time and lack of accountability for using coaching skills are the top reported impediments to using coaching skills. n The use of all three coaching modalities (i.e., external coach practitioners, internal coach practitioners and managers/leaders using coaching skills) correlates with strong coaching cultures.
- Sixty-four percent of respondents in organizations with strong coaching cultures report the presence of all three modalities, compared to 33% of respondents in organizations without strong coaching cultures. n Relative to prior HCI/ICF studies, the share of respondents reporting that their organizations use professional coach practitioners has declined.
- Managers/leaders using coaching skills are the most common modality. Their usage has increased nine percentage points since 2014. n Establishing trust, applying ethical standards and practicing active listening are rated the most important coaching competencies for managers and leaders.
- All of the ICF Core Competencies for coaches were rated highly, with the exception of establishing a coaching agreement. n Training for managers to use coaching skills is an important component of building a coaching culture.
- Eighty-seven percent of respondents in organizations with strong coaching cultures report that their current training for managers/ leaders to use coaching skills has been instrumental in building a coaching culture, compared to 43% of all other respondents. n Sixteen percent of respondents say their organizations plan to offer managers and leaders coach-specific training from a program that was accredited or approved by a professional coaching organization in the near future.
- Managers/leaders using coaching skills are trained most often by the L&D department, HR department, and internal coach practitioners.
Definitions of Key Terms
- Coaching: partnering with coachee(s) in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
- Professional coach practitioner: someone who provides an ongoing partnership designed to help coachees produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that the coachee already has.
- Internal coach: a professional coach practitioner, who is employed within an organization and has specific coaching responsibilities identified in their job description.
- External coach: a professional coach practitioner, who is either selfemployed or partners with other professional coaches, to form a coaching business.
- Manager/leader using coaching skills: a leader who uses coaching knowledge, approaches, and skills to create awareness and support behavior change.
- Coach-specific training: training that teaches coaching competencies and/or how to apply technical skills in a coach-like manner and encompasses theories and core coaching competencies designed to prepare an individual to practice as a professional coach.
- Accredited coach training program: any program consisting of coach specific training that has met the rigid criteria required to be approved by a professional coaching organization.