Coaching helps organizations achieve business results during economic downturn

The article below describes how organizations have used coaching to help achieve business results during the economic downturn. Recently, The International Coach Federation (ICF) released a study that actually pinpoints reasons for consumer use of coaching.

The pioneers of the coaching profession tend to agree that coaching formally hit the scene during the late 80’s. This is when the art and science of coaching differentiated itself as a unique approach to releasing the potential of people in the workplace, quite different from mentoring, consulting or counselling. In those early days, evidence of results, return on investment and impact on business was largely anecdotal. Coaches and clients alike knew that coaching was working, but there was little or no data available to support that. Now, in 2012, there has been significant studies conducted and data compiled so the consumer of professional business services now has some hard facts about the value of soft such skills as coaching.

This press release issued by the ICF out of LEXINGTON, Ky., USA states that “hard economic times have challenged individuals and companies like never before to try fresh, innovative approaches to finding or securing jobs and the future of their businesses. Results of the new ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study imply professional coaching can be that innovative tool to help many companies and individuals recover from the recent global recession.

According to the recent study, professional coaching is being used to help people around the world improve work performance, expand career opportunities and increase self-esteem. In fact, the study found that more than half of participants—51 percent—are at least aware of the still young and growing coaching profession. Of the 48 percent of respondents who were unaware of coaching, one-third indicated they would consider participating in a coaching relationship in the future.

Reasons to engage in coaching are many. The Global Consumer Awareness Study determined common areas in which people are using professional coaching today. More than two-fifths (42.6 percent) of respondents who had experienced coaching chose “optimize individual and/or team performance” as their motivation for being coached. This reason ranked highest followed by “expand professional career opportunities” at 38.8 percent and “improve business management strategies” at 36.1 percent. Other more personal motivations like “increase self-esteem/self-confidence” and “manage work/life balance” rated fourth and fifth to round out the top five motivation areas.

In previous research the ICF found that coaching is also generating a very good return on investment—a median return of seven times the initial investment for businesses—while being used for some of the same motivations mentioned in the latest study.

Companies large and small are optimizing individual and team performance through coaching. IBM and Solaglas Windowcare were recognized by the coaching industry as recipients of the ICF International Prism Award last year for their innovative coaching initiatives. Despite the recent global economic climate, ibm.com of North America reported a 563 percent return on investment from its coaching programs that engage sales teams and managers within the company. Solaglas, a leading UK-based glass replacement and installation company, reported higher customer satisfaction and a return on investment of 490 percent. Company executives believe these gains are small compared to the long-term impact coaching will have.

The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, which surveyed 15,000 participants age 25 and up in 20 countries, was conducted independently by the International Survey Unit of PwC. Please contact the ICF or visit Coachfederation.org to learn more.

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.”

One if the issues not addressed in the press release above but what continues to be addressed by the ICF and the professional coaches whom it serves is the fact that the title ‘coach’ is one that anyone can claim, regardless of training, experience or the designation of an ICF credential. This being true, it is important that anyone who is considering hiring a coach is advised to ensure that the ‘coach’ holds an ICF credential to help ensure the maximum benefit of the investment.

The International Coach Federation is the leading global organization for coaches, with over 16,300 members in more than 100 countries, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high ethical standards, providing independent certification, and building a worldwide network of credentialed coaches. The ICF is the only organization that awards a global credential which is currently held by more than 6,700 coaches worldwide. For more information, please visit their website at www.coachfederation.org.

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