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Global trends in the use of coaching in the workplace

Key findings from a 2010 wide scale research study

About the study
In 2010 the NeuroLeadership Group ran a study of how organizations around the world are utilizing coaching in the workplace. 363 respondents qualified and completed the survey. 79% of these had a coaching program in operation. The breakdown of respondents by region was Europe (26%), North America (22%), Oceania (16%), Asia (11%), Latin America (8%), Africa (7%), Middle East (5%) and South Asia (5%). The majority of respondents (30%) had more than 10,000 employees.

Key findings about coaching strategy
55% of responding organizations have a clear strategy for coaching. Of these, 74% indicate their coaching strategy is less than 5 years old and 16% less than one year old. The following chart shows, by country, the percentage breakdown for respondents with coaching strategies:
0% North America Europe Oceania Latin America Asia Africa South Asia Middle East 27% 25% 36% 45% 54% 54% 52% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 59% 60%

66% of respondents provide coaches (either internal or external) to fewer than 50 people in their organization. 51% of all respondents invested no more than $50,000 in coaching programs in the previous financial year. About a third spent between $50,000 and $250,000 on coaching. Only 16% spent more than this amount. 28% of respondents have one definition of coaching that was widely shared and understood. 7% indicated that they have a dedicated team to manage their coaching programs. Across all modalities of coaching, approximately a quarter of all respondents do not measure the impact of coaching at all. From those that are, around one in five measure against organizational metrics, and only one in ten measure business impacts.

Coaching skills programs
72% of respondents offer some form of coaching skills training, however 59% of these organizations have trained less than 100 managers each. 81% of respondents plan to maintain or increase their level of spending on coaching skills training.
© NeuroLeadership Group 2011

Of those organizations with coaching skills training programs, 57% have programs of one to two days in length and 43% have programs of three days or more. 42% of respondents have no formal plans for coaching skills training retention or development, post training.

Global trends in the use of coaching in the workplace
Key findings from a 2010 wide scale research study
Internal coaching
67% of respondents utilize internal coaching as part of their coaching strategy. Those respondents indicate that they use internal coaching to:
0% Improve individual performance Improve overall business performance Develop high potentials Improve engagement levels Support leaders in transition Increase retention Focus on behavioral improvement Help the thinking of senior leaders 50% 45% 66% 20% 40% 60% 80% 92% 83% 79% 75% 75% 100%

60% have fewer than ten internal coaches delivering formal coaching engagements as part of what they do, or as a stand-alone role. In North America, 23% of internal coaches are given no training at all. Approximately half of the respondents cited that they do not assess the skill level of their internal coaches. Only 6% of respondents indicated their coaches are assessed by the International Coach Federation. 76% of coaches are working with between one and five coachees at any one time. One in five organizations indicated that they have formal frameworks in place for supervising internal coaching. One-fifth of the organizations indicated that internal coaching is replacing the hiring of external coaches in their organization. 77% of respondents plan to increase or maintain their level of spending on internal coaching.

External coaching
The majority of organizations were using between one and ten external coaches (74%) and were providing external coaches to less than 100 employees (84%). 66% of respondents offer external coaching as part of their coaching program. 70% of respondents plan to increase or maintain their level of spending on external coaching.

The value of partnering with an external resource
41% of respondents said that their coaching strategy was created internally. Respondents who used external resources to create their coaching strategy: Had more support at the CEO level (75% compared to 52% across all the respondents). Were thinking more long term (81% thinking one to five years ahead compared to 65% across all responses). Were nearly twice as likely to have one definition for coaching that is widely understood (51% vs. 28% across all responses). Provide an internal or external coach to more employees (46% provide coaches to 50+ employees compared to 34% across all responses).

Despite increased interest in the use of coaching, it is still largely reserved for the top. Investment in coaching is surprisingly low, which may be linked to the fact that coaching is not being managed strategically or measured well. With the increased pressure on leadership and learning, finding cost-effective solutions to provide coaching more broadly across organizations is more important than ever.
© NeuroLeadership Group 2011

Review the complete paper
Visit to download a copy of the complete white paper: ‘Global trends in the use of coaching in the workplace’ by Matthew Rule and Dr. David Rock.