The Future for Coaching

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According to The Coaching Study 2004 large organisations predict a significant increase in their use of coaches in the near future. Co-author of the study Jerry Arnott of Origin Consulting, examines what the key findings of his research mean for those buying in coaching and the coaches themselves.

Against a background of increasing demand and heightened expectation, the provision of external coaching services across the UK has soared over the last few years.

As a result, there has been an influx of providers offering a wide variety of solutions to organisations who increasingly see coaching as a key component in their development strategy.

For those of us involved in the training world, coaching skills have become essential.

The need for clarity
There is ample evidence to show that coaching works and yet, at the same time, there is growing confusion in the market around the quality and value of provision.

How do organisations determine who will meet their requirements most effectively? How do they distinguish one coach from another? How do they ensure their chosen coach will contribute real value?

These questions were the background for The Coaching Study 2004.

Research was undertaken during early 2004 by the University of Central England and Origin Consulting to find out how coaching contributes value to businesses and organisations across the UK.

Led by Professor John Sparrow of UCE and Jerry Arnott, MD of Origin, over 100 organisations contributed to the research, including many household names such as Royal Bank of Scotland, EMI, Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes and Pfizer.

Headlines from ‘The Coaching Study 2004’
The overall message from the study was ‘coaching works but it could be better’.

The research findings revealed a growing awareness and appreciation of the potential value of coaching and, at the same time, a recognition of its limitations.

Some of the key points which emerged were:

* There are a significant number of medium/large sized organisations not using coaching due to a lack of understanding of how to measure its return and value.

* Size matters: the larger the organisation the more likely coaching is being used in a variety of situations.

* Use of external coaching services is far more established in the private than public sectors.

* The majority of coaching is provided at executive/management levels in support of personal development and performance improvement.

* There is a strong expectation that coaching demand and usage will increase in the future and, with this, a need for greater rigour, standardisation and consistency

Certain key criteria have emerged as being critical to the buying decision, in particular personal style, cultural fit, a good track record, coaching experience and professional standards.

At the same time a number of factors have been identified as key determinants in producing positive business and individual outcomes; these include showing evidence of professional development, coaching qualifications and having a structured approach

The study gave clear indicators of increased demand for coaching and heightened expectation from organisations embracing a coaching based approach to people development.

Message for training professionals
The importance of investing in personal and professional ‘coach training’ is growing as greater rigour and standardisation enter the coaching market.

Evidence of professional qualifications and ongoing development will increasingly become the norm

Taking a more facilitative coaching approach will become the expectation of many customers in the training context.

There will always be a place for ‘instruction’ but this will be increasingly side-lined as an effective approach for learning delivery.

At the same time, our customers (eg line managers) will be seeking greater guidance and support to enhance their own coaching capability

There is compelling evidence to show that coaching works.

Those of us involved in the world of training are in a unique position to promote, support and embed the value of coaching within our own organisations.

* More details about The Coaching Study 2004 are available from the Origin Consulting website or by telephoning the University of Central England on 0121 331 5217.

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