WASHINGTON, DC, NOV. 22, 1999 – More and more, corporations across the U.S. are hiring coaches as a perk for their top performers – the investment returns improved performance for the individual and higher profits and a competitive edge for the company. That’s what companies reported in a survey of 4000+ corporations this fall by the International Coach Federation and Linkage, Inc. who were asked about their interest and involvement in corporate coaching.
“We were happy to see that the respondents know intrinsically that coaching is a tremendous value to a corporate culture and produces results,” said Jane Creswell, Chair of the Benchmarking Subcommittee of the ICF’s Corporate Coaching Committee, which analyzed the survey results.
The survey revealed that the primary benefits of corporate coaching are:
- Improved individual performance
- Bottom line results (including profit)
- Client service and competitiveness and development of people for the next level – confidence raising, skills and self empowerment
- Goal achievement
- Relationship improvements
“Coaching helps retain the top performers by showing them how appreciated they are,” says Creswell. “It also sends the message that they have earned the privilege of special attention in developing to their highest potential.” Companies use both internal and external coaches as a perk for top performers. Those that prefer internal coaches see it as a way to leverage human resources and reach everyone in the company, since internal coaches know the company culture. Internal coaches, considered more practical and cost-effective by their employers, are prized for their ability to share in-house expertise and train managers in coaching skills.
The survey indicated that companies who hire external coaches tend to use them for executive ranks, who perceive the outside coaches as providing an extra level of confidentiality. Some companies held that their organizations were too busy to develop internal coaching or that internal coaches would just be devalued. Respondents’ said their greatest challenges to developing corporate coaching programs are getting enterprise-wide buy-in, executive buy-in and modeling. Impatience on the part of upper management for the time investment required for coaching to make an impact was another significant roadblock. Some respondents acknowledged that they don’t yet know how to deliver corporate coaching confidently or how to measure its effectiveness.
The International Coach Federation, the largest professional association worldwide of business and personal coaches based in Washington, DC, has examined the survey results to determine appropriate strategies for responding to the rapidly growing trend. “While the corporate population is very clearly interested in learning more about coaching – and believes it is and will be a positive influence in the corporate world – many of them do not yet understand the current paradigm of corporate coaching very well,” says Cynder Niemela, a member of the Benchmarking Subcommittee. “We need to begin by educating people on what corporate coaching is and what it isn’t.”
As the ultimate goal in its efforts to establish greater clarity and consistency around corporate coaching, the ICF is in the process of developing a Certified Corporate Coach credential, which should be available by mid-2000. “The very things that respondents said they are wanting – standardization, a formal process to certify corporate coaches and success stories – are exactly what the ICF is working very diligently to provide,” said Creswell. “The ICF is committed to ensuring the integrity of the industry through our credentialing programs, and to educating the corporate marketplace on the effectiveness, both in time and results, that coaching provides,” says Marcia Reynolds, ICF President. “We’re pleased to finally have tangible evidence of the power of coaching. With the increasing time pressures, constant change, and heightened complexity in the workplace, we expect coaching’s status to rapidly escalate from being a ‘perk’ to a necessary and cost-effective tool for developing leaders.”
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