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Annie Hayes



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Has the coaching boom peaked?


Research from the US suggests that coaching of corporate employees may have passed its peak in popularity.

The survey of 2,000 HR and L&D executives found that one-third of the organisations that provide executive coaching say they rely less on it than in the past.

Boston-based consulting and training firm Novations Group asked those offering coaching: “Which of the following best describes your organisation’s use of coaching?” The responses were:

  • We increasingly rely on coaching: 19 per cent

  • We rely on coaching at about the same rate as in the past: 48 per cent

  • We rely less on coaching: 33 per cent

“According to the findings, markedly fewer companies are expanding their use of coaching than are curtailing it,” said Novations executive consultant Michelle Knox. “These are the first data we’ve seen that suggest that use of coaching may be slowing.”

Executive or employee coaching increased dramatically over the past decade or more, said Knox. “So it’s understandable that such enormous growth would slow somewhat, but now it appears there may even be a slight downturn. No doubt this is due to senior management pressure for greater accountability and cost containment.”

But there will be a cost if less coaching is available at the middle and senior levels, warned Knox. “Most of those leaders who in recent years were able to make a successful transition to the next level benefited from coaching.”

About half of major organisations never embraced the coaching boom, said Knox.

The Novations Group Internet survey of 2,046 senior US human resources and training & development executives, including many global organisations, was conducted by Equation Research.

2 Responses

  1. Peaked or Matured?

    In my personal experience, I would say that the coaching market has matured rather than peaked.  There are still plenty of companies investing in coaching for their staff and organisations are becoming more savvy about choosing external coaching providers, especially when it comes to executive coaching.

    With a maturing market comes a consolidation.  I am seeing more organisations looking for coaching companies, rather than individual independent coaches, usually because companies are better positioned to offer account management services, plus procedures for selecting coaches and then addressing any issues with how the coaching process is progressing.

    Hannah McNamara

  2. Has the coaching boom peaked?
    It is not clear from Novations website if the research covers only buying coaching services from external providers. It would be interesting to know if coaching capability has been developed in-house in organisations instead which would potentially then have an impact on the need to hire externally.

    Jackie Cameron, Cameron Consulting, Edinburgh

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Annie Hayes


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