The Evidence-Based Benefits of Coaching
Recent research by the International Coach Federation estimated that there are 53,300 coaches worldwide and 18,800 coaches in Western Europe alone. The Association for Coaching states that over the past five years the coaching profession has become the number one professional development tool favoured by organisations and leading corporations. So why are people so hesitant about investing in a coach?
I was recently speaking to a fellow coach and we discussed why people are more likely to pay for a massage or see a physiotherapist than to invest in a session with a coach. It’s because individuals already know about the benefits of a massage or physio, namely to relieve aching muscles and reduce any pain they are feeling. However, most people do not know the benefits of coaching or what is involved in a coaching session. They are also sceptical that the claims made by coaches may not be backed up by science.
So I turned to research to put together a list of four benefits of coaching:
1) Increased Confidence – A survey carried out by the International Coach Federation (ICF, 2016) found that 80% of people who received coaching reported increased self-confidence. The process of coaching focuses around giving the coachee the skills and knowledge to become self-sufficient. By enabling and supporting coachees through any mental blocks or challenges they are facing coachees can build their confidence in their ability to self-manage and problem solve without a coach.
2) Enhanced Problem Solving and Perspective Taking Skills – A survey carried out with over 40 organisations from a number of different industries found that 47% of survey respondents reported an increase in being able to see others perspectives (Clear Coaching Ltd, 2007). This skill can be particularly important if you feel as though you are having difficulties in relationships at work or at home. Being able to see another’s perspective on a situation or issue can help us to foster a greater understanding and compassion for others behaviour.
3) Increased wellbeing – A recent meta-analysis, (a study that looks at a number of research studies and provides a statistical summary of the results from all the studies), by Theeboom and colleagues (2014) found that coaching had a significant positive effect on a coachee’s wellbeing. By taking the time to invest in yourself and feel supported, motivated and valued your mental and emotional wellbeing will benefit.
4) Increased Resilience – A study by Grant and Colleagues (2009) carried out an experiment to test the effects of cognitive behavioural and solutions focused coaching. One of the groups in the experiment had the coaching sessions and the other group did not receive coaching (the latter representing “the control group”). The researchers found that the group that had received the coaching reported greater resilience and felt more confident in responding to change compared to the control group. The researchers suggested that overcoming the barriers the individuals faced when trying to reach their goals during coaching helped the individuals feel more confident and resilient when facing challenges. Increasing resilience is particularly important when levels of mental health problems are on the rise and society presents us with uncertain and volatile political and economic situations.
The research also found that these increases in skills, confidence and wellbeing had knock on effects of improving work performance and happiness. So why not invest in yourself and reap some of the benefits coaching has to offer.
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Association for Coaching - https://www.associationforcoaching.com/page/WhyCoaching
Clear Coaching Limited (2007) - file:///C:/Users/Elean/Downloads/WhatarethebenefitsofcoachingHeadlineReportFeb071.pdf
Grant, A. M., Curtayne, L., & Burton, G. (2009). Executive coaching enhances goal attainment, resilience and workplace well-being: A randomised controlled study. The journal of positive psychology, 4(5), 396-407.
International Coaching Federation (ICF) Global Coaching study 2016 - https://coachfederation.org/research/global-coaching-study
Theeboom, T., Beersma, B., & van Vianen, A. E. (2014). Does coaching work? A meta-analysis on the effects of coaching on individual level outcomes in an organizational context. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(1), 1-18.