The personal coaching industry is still relatively new and only came into being about 20 years ago. Although this means that the industry is still in the process of defining itself and gaining legitimacy, there has also been a decent amount of research. Findings for the most part are positive, however there are a few negatives as well that can assist prospective buyers to make informed choices.
In 2009, Harvard Business Review conducted a study with 140 coaches and 5 “experts” to comment on findings. An overview of results, based on interviews with 140 coaches can be found here which gives some interesting insights into the reasons why executives engage personal coaches, how much it can cost (anywhere from $200 to $3500 an hour, with the median price being $500), and the typical duration. Usually up to an hour is optimum, as coaching sessions can be very focused and lead to development goals between sessions. One interesting finding was that although only 3% of people employ a coach for person issues, 76% of people end up addressing personal issues as part of their coaching, highlighting the importance of a good work/life balance. At Peers and Players we strongly believe that improved workplace behaviour usually benefits personal relating as well.
Oxford Brookes Business School conducted a scientific survey in 2012 to address the fact that there was very little empirical evidence to support the benefits of personal coaching. It found that 92% judge coaching by external practitioners to be effective, however there was still room for improvement in evaluations, terminology and standards. Personal Skills Development can be difficult to quantify in a scientific setting because the the benefits can have a ‘ripple effect’ on many areas of work and life performance.
Return on investment is obviously very important to the L&D Managers or HR Professionals who are thinking of justifying the expense for executives or managers to receive personal performance coaching. The good news is that on average, you can expect a 5.45 times ROI according to the Manchester Review’s study of 100 executives in 2001. Improved productivity and quality were shown to be the most tangible benefits, and improved relationships with internal and external stakeholders being the most intangible benefits. When people are more focused and happier at work, their performance is shown to benefit across all areas.
So the evidence is in, and it supports personal coaching as a means to improving work performance, work/life balance and return on investment. Buyers beware though, as it is still a fairly young industry, it is harder to quantify good suppliers from bad. What we would recommend when you are looking for the right fit is to find someone that has experience, a clear methodology, and a quality client list. Make sure that your coach has an experiential approach, and will work with your specific requirements. A cookie cutter approach won’t work in a one-on-one setting. Have a look at what Peers and Players has to offer and if the chemistry is good, we’ll be happy to discuss your particular outcomes and exceed your expectations.