Will coaching be worth the investment?

What does the research say?

In an article titled How Executive Coaching Helps Managers Increase their Performance and Deal with Uncertainty: A Systematic Review (published in August 2021) the author concludes:


This study provides evidence that executive coaching can be a beneficial tool during organizational change and can positively impact the manager’s performance… The executive coaching relationship may represent a psychological safe space where managers can easily learn and find strategies for navigating the challenges of organizational life. We suggest that executive coaching may lead to positive outcomes for both individuals and organisations. It may enable leaders to become more flexible cognitively and emotionally and able to build a performing team.”

Even with one-to-one coaching, the changed perceptions and behaviours of the individual have a spillover benefit into the wider team and organisation. 

What influences the success of coaching?

You should expect a return on your investment (of time and money) in coaching. 

There are three key things that influence the success of coaching:

  1. The quality of the relationship between the coach (me) and the client (you). This is why the chemistry meeting is so important and why you need to choose the coach who is right for you.
  2. The expertise of the coach, which is about the coach’s training, coaching qualifications and coaching experience (note that this is not consulting, counselling, mentoring or advising). This is why it’s important to choose a coach who has coach-specific training and holds a credential with a global coaching organisation.  On the ICF website you can search by name to see if your prospective coach holds a credential (ACC, or the higher level of PCC) with the International Coach Federation – https://coachfederation.org/credentialed-coach-finder

  3. Your motivation to change and commitment to the coaching process makes all the difference. You have to want things to be different… but you also have to do what’s required to make that change happen. In feedback from a recent coaching engagement where the client indicated his expectations of coaching were exceeded, he also commented that the thing that would have enhanced his coaching experience was: “for me to spend more time planning prior to coaching calls … completing my homework may have enabled more development opportunities”. The work you do between coaching sessions is critical to you achieving the outcome you want from coaching.

How can you measure the success of coaching?

Research shows there are three primary ways to measure coaching effectiveness:

  1. Participant feedback.
  2. Participant behavioural change.
  3. Observations from participant’s peers or supervisors regarding behaviour change attributable to coaching. 
This feedback can be collected during the coaching engagement, and/or at the end of a coaching engagement. 
Further, the impact of coaching can be measured at one of three levels:
  1. Individual learning.
  2. Job impact.
  3. Business results.