How to Prove Coaching Adds Value

Many organisations will tell you that the last few years have been hard for UK organisations, and if election promises are anything to go by the next few years may not be much better. The challenge is on to get the most out of all the organisations resources and that includes its people. This means ensuring that they have the skills and development opportunities they need to work at their most optimum level.

Where does coaching add value?

CIPD’s 2014 Learning and Development Survey reported that 75% of organisations offer coaching or mentoring and that coaching is ranked among the top 3 most effective development methods, and the most effective method when incorporated within talent programmes.

In their 2014 UK Learning Trends Survey, GoodPractice found that organisations were successfully using coaching to tackle these top 5 management challenges:

·         Difficult conversations

·         Managing Performance

·         Developing team members

·         Motivating and inspiring team members

·         Managing Change

They also found that 55% of organisations looked to develop project management skills through coaching (an area we can confirm from our own experience is growing rapidly and is extremely effective as part of an overall project leadership development programme).

Interestingly, the report also suggests that 43% of organisations also use coaching to support managers to achieve work life balance.

In the Executive Coaching Survey; Evidence and Interaction 2014, found that 55% of survey respondents applied coaching in leadership development, 20% used it to address a particular problem and 20% used coaching to assist transitional change.

Clearly coaching has the potential to deliver  benefits across a broad remit of situations. But how do you prove it?

Making the case through employee engagement

Employee distrust and disengagement is found in organisations where the published corporate values differ to the day-to-day behaviours of its leaders and managers. Disengagement can directly impact on profits and performance. Coaching can raise self-awareness and understanding in individuals around how their behaviour is being perceived and crucially, how it differs to what is acceptable within their organisation.

In their report on employee engagement, ‘Engaging for Success’, David Macleod and Nita Clarke found that improving engagement directly correlates with improving business performance. They concluded that poor engagement could cause a 51% higher staff turnover and 62% more accidents. 

Conversely, high engagement led to 18% more productivity and a 12% increase in profitability.

So if coaching can improve the performance of leaders and managers, this in turn can improve employee engagement, which then leads to improved productivity and profitability.

Making the case for coaching through self-awareness theory

Organisations are increasingly looking at behaviour, in addition to skills, to give a true picture of what makes leaders successful. In the Executive Coaching Survey; Evidence and Interaction 2014, point out that positive changes in behaviour can only come about as a result of self-awareness, and coaching develops this.

Self-awareness theory says that when our attention is focused on ourselves (which is what happens in coaching), we see our behaviour in the light of our standards and values. When we observe, and importantly acknowledge, that our behaviour is at odds to our standards (or values), we are minded to change our behaviour.

Making the case for using external coaches

For leaders in organisations, access to an external coach can be very beneficial in encouraging a more honest and open exchange, as the coach is perceived to offer both confidentiality and independence from the organisation.

We are not saying internal coaches cannot be objective. However, internal coaches, depending on their working relationship to the individual they coach, may be mindful of factors such as position, power, confidentiality, politics, future interactions in a business capacity, conflict of interest and so on.

Mindfulness of these factors can be tricky for both parties in the coaching relationship to manage effectively. This is because it requires a lot of mutual trust. The beauty of using an external coach is that whatever is said walks out of the building with the coach and is gone.

Good coaches employ a range of approaches enabling them to adapt to the individual they are coaching, increasing the value for that person. In addition they are often familiar with a number of psychometric tools which can be used to help increase self-awareness of those they coach. The Executive Coaching Survey by Sherpa coaching  found that external coaches are more likely to have a broader range of experience, employ a wider range of coaching approaches and have knowledge of more psychometric tools than internal coaches.

They found that 76% of external coaches had been in business 5 years or more compared to 51% of internal coaches and that external coaches were likely to be older (55% were over 55 years old compared to 42% or internal coaches), so implying (but not necessarily having) more experience.

They also report that wherever you source your coaching, 92% of HR professionals say that coaching interventions they had used had been good or excellent.

Engaging the workforce yet to come!

In their article 50 HR and Recruiting Stats that make you think, identify some interesting recruitment statistics which add a little bit more food for thought to end on. They looked at the motivation of jobseekers and identified the top five biggest considerations for job seekers.

These were:

1.    Salary and compensation

2.    Career growth opportunities

3.    Work life balance

4.    Location/commute

5.    Company culture and values

Coaching can directly influence the second, third and fifth of these factors.

They also report that 46% of millennials left their last job due to lack of career growth; whereas we know coaching offers a way of enabling people to make the most out of the career opportunities available.

So coaching has the potential to improve the ability of organisations to attract and retain talent, so improving organisational capability and reducing turnover costs.

It is worth noting that HR Magazine report that the cost of talent acquisition in the UK in 2011 was £5,311, if this isn’t scary enough, HR Review in 2014 took into account the cost of loss of output during the recruitment process, bumping the figure up to over £30,000 per employee!


So there you have it, the evidence stacks up that coaching is adding value to organisations and is a key tool in the development armoury, especially where changes in behaviour and perception are required.

At MindSightUK we have found that our most powerful development programmes are those that develop self-awareness through a mixture of coaching, insight and mindset shift. We focus our expertise in these areas as we know this is where organisations focused on being at the top of their game achieve the greatest ROI.