coaching industry
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Here, Tracy Sinclair, Corporate Executive and Board Level Coach and Past Chair and current Director at Large of the International Coaching Federation Global Board, charts the growth and impact of the coaching industry

Executive coaching is one of the fastest-growing professions worldwide for one reason. It works. As a system for building leaders, inspiring teams and motivating growth, coaching shows tangible results across a wide array of industries and organisations.
Coaching is not only a tool for professionals in the field. Managers and leaders are using coaching skills to improve the organisation’s culture, both internally and externally. Corporate culture is only one element. Coach training for managers and leaders to build an in-house coaching culture is increasingly prevalent as well. According to Building a Coaching Culture for Change Management, a 2018 study by the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF), 33% of organisations now offer train- ing for managers and leaders to use coaching skills. Such training invariably comes from a programme that was accredited/approved by a coaching organisation.
Even with the rapid growth of the coaching industry, there is still a need for formalised education on what coaching is, in fact, largely due to its subjective nature. According to ICF, coaching is defined as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. We believe it is important to advance the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals.
As demand for coaches increases, so do the standards for hiring one within an organisation. Organisations using coaches require that they not only be credentialed and accredited, but also belong to a professional membership or accrediting coaching body, thus demonstrating their level of professionalism. We provide a code of ethics and standards which coaches must adhere to, as well as professional development workshops and continued learning for coaches to maintain their credentials.

Coaching training for managers

Managers and leaders are using coaching as an integral part of their leadership style. According to the HCI/ICF study, 83% of organisations planned to expand the scope of managers and leaders using coaching techniques over the next five years. Increasingly, organisations are including coaching training for managers and leaders in their annual budgets.

When surveyed, 45% of respondents said they received coach-specific training that was accredited/approved by a professional coaching organisation.

The impact of executive coaching Measuring coaching’s impact on organisations can be complex, but a few trends emerge from comparisons of organisations that use coaching relative to those that do not. Research shows that organisations with a coaching culture show greater professional development and increased internal mobility within the company.

A coach approach is also more inclusive and tries to draw the best out of everyone. Managers and leaders are demonstrating that leadership is not solely about an individual. Instead, the responsibility to forge a better workplace needs to be distributed and thereby fosters a collaborative environment for shared gain.

The difference between coaching and mentoring

For many, it is difficult to distinguish between a coach and a mentor. As a mentor, it is assumed you are the one with the expertise and knowledge to pass along.

“Measuring coaching’s impact on organisations can be complex, but a few trends emerge from comparisons of organisations that use coaching relative to those that do not. Research shows that organisations with a coaching culture show greater professional development and increased internal mobility within the company.”

When using a coaching approach, you are establishing that the expertise resides within the client and following their lead in a process that draws this out.

Typically, the idea of a mentor conjures an image of someone older with years of experience and knowledge in a certain field. Coaching doesn’t necessarily follow these same assumptions. A coach can be younger or of the same age as their client. Coaching establishes an equal relationship between both parties with the coach not imposing their biases or ideas, but instead guiding clients to achieve their own goals.

Coaching uses the “pull rather than push” model. Using a pull approach can mean engaging in information- seeking questions to draw out information instead of pushing an individual or team to accept an answer that is given to them. When using this model, there are higher levels of accountability within the team and improved communication. Other benefits of the pull rather than a push model have increased self-esteem and improved work-life balance.

Coaching: Impact and future

For many managers and leaders, coaching is the least developed management muscle. It is often easier to tell people what to do instead of fostering critical thinking in the individual so they can come to decisions on their own. Coaching has a proven capacity for creating engagement and motivating team members.

According to Building a Coaching Culture for Increased Employee Engagement, a 2015 HCI/ICF study, 60% of employees in organisations with strong coaching cultures were rated as highly engaged, compared with 48% of employees in all other organisations. The same study revealed that 63% of organisations with strong coaching cultures reported higher revenue growth among their industry peers.

The future of the coaching industry

The coaching industry has seen tremendous growth as organisations place greater value on investing in teams and culture.

ICF is an example of an association that continues to facilitate this growth within organisations, as well as the profession, by serving as a body whose mission is to advance coaching in all its forms. It upholds a gold standard of coaching research, competencies, creden- tialing and training to ensure the growth will continue long into the future in a way that upholds the highest standards of the industry via programmes to develop and recognise the best practices in coaching across individual professionals and organisational coaching cultures.

Contributor Profile

Corporate Executive and Board Level Coach
International Coaching Federation
Phone: +44 (0)7920 407 582
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