Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Iulia Sorescu (Romania).

An Observation on the Available Data regarding Coaching at Work

Companies today are calling for coaching to help them increase their performance, retain talent, improve work related behaviour, enhance cooperation and communication between co-workers and transform their key-performers into leaders. All these benefits of coaching are mostly anectodical. Behavioural changes are hard to measure in terms of monetary value, thus there is no clear data for ROI of coaching yet.

But no matter the ROI, some companies are using external coaching now and then, some others are committed to building a coaching culture. Some companies are using executive coaching, and some are willing to use coaching for their employees.

“At Frontline Education, the process of coaching employees is woven into our core values. One value specifically states that we will invest in our employees through mentoring and professional development” said McDermott, HR business partner at Frontline Education.

Current demand for coaching in the workplace

The current demand for soft-skills development and the need to adapt to constant changes, placed coaching in the workplace on the rise. This can be evidenced by the increase in the number of studies on the topic of organisational coaching, such as the studies conducted by ICF from 2014 – Building a Coaching Culture (2014), Building a Coaching Culture for Employee Engagement (2015) and Building a Coaching Culture for Managers and Leaders (2016). In addition to these, ICF last global survey (2016), devoted an entire section to managers using coaching skills.

Taking into consideration the findings from these surveys, 66% of coaching clients are managers, 60% are executives and 56% are business owners. However, the share of executive clients suffered a slight decline from 2011, from 25% to 23%.[1] As shown in the last Building a Coaching Culture report, “the percentage of respondents who report that their organisations leverage managers/leaders using coaching skills has increased over the past three studies with a three-year average of 86%”:

Why do companies need coaching?

All these numbers can be correlated with the business environment. Job insecurity, innovation, artificial intelligence, the rise of the millennial workforce and the need to adapt to their expectations, the gap

[1], 17.11.2017.

between technological advancements and the rate of human adaptability are some of the changes that have to be addressed by companies.

To adapt to these global changes, organisations need rapid transformations which lead to higher responsibilities for leadership development, strategy planning, thus executive burn-out. Coaching has come as a solution to assist the organisation and its decision-makers.

Do companies really need coaching?

Looking to the available data regarding the situation of coaching in the workplace, there are some observations related to the real demand for organisational coaching. Do companies really need coaching or is it just a new trend for the learning and development departments?

Duality of data

On one hand, we have the companies and the executives claiming in favour of coaching and expressing confidence in its positive impact. On the other hand, there are still obstacles when it comes to apply coaching at work, among these being the lack of time, lack of accountability for using coaching, lack of budget, limited support from senior leaders and inability to measure impact.

On one side we have scepticism related to the ROI of coaching and on the other, there are correlations drawn between revenue growth and a strong coaching culture, as in the figure below:

Fig. from Building a Coaching Culture
for Managers and Leaders, ICF 2016

Subjective resources

Most of resources on this topic, are reports and surveys conducted by coach training companies, such as those mentioned above, run by ICF. How reliable are these findings? How real is the demand of coaching at work and how many companies are actually experiencing coaching with the desired outcomes?

Comparing for example the ICF 2016 Study, Building a Coaching Culture for Managers and Leaders, and 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends[1], the approach to business environment is clearly different. While the first is emphasising the benefits of coaching, the other is offering different solutions. Actually, in the second study, the word coaching appears only 11 times in 144 pages.


[1], 17.11.2017

Another observation is that even though coaching works toward increasing employee engagement, most of the articles mention “increase the capabilities of high-potential performers”. But who are these high-potential performers? Based on what do companies decide who is taking advantage of coaching and who is not? On the assumption that the high-performers are rather the people who are most connected or well-placed in the work-networked, coaching is offered rather aleatory than based on the idea that every employee can use it for increased performance.


I wrote this article from a life coaching perspective, on the premises that coaching is supporting people with their development, learning and transformation. While I don’t deny the benefits of coaching at work (I actually think that it can do wonders), I find that we lack objective data regarding the use of coaching at work. Also, there are still some under-analysed issues, such as who benefits of coaching, beside executives and managers and how well can a coach combine the company’s interests with the coachee interests.

Given the fact that people are the biggest asset in a company, coaching can help enhance and better using their resources, thus contributing in a steadier way to the company’s performance and profit. But, would a company invest in coaching with the risk that the coachee might leave the company as the result of coaching? How many leaders/managers do a company need? And what is the case for the companies operating in developing economies?


Iulia SorescuAbout Iulia Sorescu

Life vision & enhancement coach with a passion for combining coaching with visual arts techniques

Iulia offers life coaching for high-flyer Millennials to transform their dreams into reality. The combination between goals setting and self-esteem boost with the visual arts is a perfect fit to keep them motivated and inspired. Using creative tools in her practice, she makes sure that the process of self-discovery is appealing and engaging.






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