Professional Coaching is a targeted intervention that helps people develop and maintain positive change in terms of their work and career development. It's a process that usually involves a partnership between three key stakeholders: the coach, the coachee (i.e. the person receiving the coaching) and the coachee's sponsoring organization (usually their employer). However, when pursued directly by individuals the partnership may only involve the coach and the coachee. Unlike psychotherapy, Professional Coaching does not address underlying mental health conditions. The common metaphoracle distinction is thatt where clinicians typically focus on working through people's nightmares, coaches help people to pursue their dreams. Although Professional Coaching is often framed in terms of helping people to peform better it may also focus on helping people explore alternative career paths, pursue career advancement, better align with their existing roles, and generally pursuign professional development among many other things.
Research Shows that Professional Coaching Leads to Many Benfits
Athanasopoulou, A., & Dopson, S. (2018). A systematic review of executive coaching outcomes: Is it the journey or the destination that matters the most? The Leadership Quarterly, 29(1), 70–88. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2017.11.004
Generally speaking, there are three types of positive outcomes for the
coachee: "personal development", "behavioral changes towards others", and "work performance".
Professional coaching has been shown to lead to many relevant benefits for coachees including:
- Improved resilience among coachees (Grant et al., 2009, RCS).
- Increased workplace wellbeing (Grant et al., 2009, RCS)
- Decreased levels of stress (Grant et al., 2009, RCS)
- Improved work performance and planning (Hall et al.,
1999, interviews; Bowles, Cunningham, De La Rosa & Picano, 2007;
repeated measures design; Fischer & Beimers, 2009, mixed methods;
Moen & Skaalvik, 2009, Moen & Federici, 2012a and Bozer et al., 2013,
- Coaching signals employer's support to coachee; whether support is real or
perceived, it improves coaching impact
- Increases the occurrence of critical moments - Issue-related or self-related “new realizations” (e.g. self-doubt, new learning) evoke positive emotions
- Reduced stress/anxiety
- Increased work and life satisfaction
- Improved resilience
- Better time-management skills
- Increased Adaptability, flexibility, and in trait levels of openness to experience
- Improved ability and quality of goal-setting
- Better leadership skills including: Better management and development of others and in the way that the coachee tends to be perceived by others (seniors and subordinates) as a more effective leader post-coaching
- Improved team player & team-building skills
- Better communication skills
Professional coaching has been shown to lead to many relevant benefits for businesses and organizations themselves including:
- Improved organizational performance (Gorringe, 2011; Luthans and Peterson, 2003; Levenson, 2009)
- Improved capacity to successfully manage organizational change (Grant et al., 2009; RCS)
- Enhances perceived supervisor support and sense of personal capacity for development
- Coaching is often seen as source of support and encouragement by the organization broadly speaking signifying that the organization values the coachee
- Indirect positive organizational effects from increased
employee satisfaction, productivity, leadership effectiveness
and coaching culture
What research has been done investigating executive coaching specifically during periods of large organizational change are:
- Increased goal attainment
- Enhanced solution-focused thinking
- A greater ability to deal with change
- An increased leadership self-efficacy
- Increased resilience
- Decreases in rates of depression
- Indirect improvements in family life.
- Grant, A. M. (2013). The Efficacy of Executive Coaching in Times of Organisational Change. Journal of Change Management, 14(2), 258–280. doi:10.1080/14697017.2013.805159
In one randomized controlled trial they found coaching was found to lead to quantitative improvement in terms of:
- Enhanced goal attainment
- Increased resilience
- Increased workplace wellbeing
- Reduced depression and stress
Qualitative responses indicated participants found coaching helped:
- Increases in self-confidence
- Increases in personal insight
- Improved management skills
- Better dealing with organisational change
- 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. doi:10.1080/17439760902992456
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that "The results indicate that within the context of the Development Scheme coaching provides a
potential financial ROI. The findings also show that coaching impacts positively on members such that they are highly committed to demonstrating and exhibiting leadership behaviours and that there is some
evidence of a broader impact on the Department as a whole with generalised skills transfer"
A preliminary evaluation of executive
coaching: Does executive coaching work
for candidates on a high potential
Amanda J.W. Feggetter - International Coaching Psychology Review ● Vol. 2 No. 2 July 2007 Pg.129
© The British Psychological Society – ISSN: 1750-2764
In another study, participants in the coaching group received multirater feedback on their leadership style and undertook 10 coaching sessions conducted by professional coaches over a 20-week period. When compared with randomly allocated controls, participation in coaching was associated with:
- Increased goal attainment
- Reduced stress
- Enhanced workplace well-being
- Bolstered resilience
- Improved self-reported achievement
- Elevated humanistic–encouraging components of constructive leadership styles
Grant, A. M., Green, L. S., & Rynsaardt, J. (2010). Developmental coaching for high school teachers: Executive coaching goes to school. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62(3), 151–168. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019212
Coaching has generally been found to also (1) increase continuous one-on-one attention (2) expanded thinking through dialogue with a
curious outsider, (3) improve self-awareness (including ability to see blind spots more clearly, (4) hold people more personall accountabile for their own development, and (5) be effective for providing highly targeted just-in-time learning and devlopment.
Some research has also specifically found that coachig is particularly effective for promoting leadership skills and development of transformational leadership characteristics, specifically.
What is Evidence-Based Coaching and Why is it Better?
The evidence-based movement has long historical roots and, truth be told, it all originates with the field of medicine. Beginning in the early days of medicine it was pretty much a free-for-all. Anyone could hang a shingle and claim they could treat everything from the sniffles to leprosy and none of these claims had to be backed up by any evidence what so ever. Many grifters and snake-oil peddlers ran amuck and swindled people out of their hard earned money. Not only were these people made poorer by the actions of these quack practitioners but, given the serious nature of conditions of health many people were harmed and died as a result of their poorly placed confidence. It wasn't until the 1900s that medical doctors (as we know them) even made it on the scene and it was even later still that evidence was used to back up claims and provide confidence in medicine as a practice.
In short, evidence has the capacity to inform us to make better decisions. Whether the decision is to go with a specific coach or medical practitioner over another or to pursue a set of goals or to risk undertaking a medical procedure in order to be well again, better informed decisions generally lead to better outcomes. Like evidence-based medicine, evidence-based coaching offers a more transparent and better informed path for both you (as a coachee) and your coach (as a practitioner) to make the best informed decisions to lead to your development.
In today's medical context, the term “evidence-based” refers to the most critical and thoughtful use of the best available knowledge in making decisions. Evidence is responsible for nearly every marvel that modern medicine has to provide. Evidence-based coaching is no different. Evidence-based coaching referrs to using evidence to deliver coaching to clients, in designing and teaching coach-training programs, and in the development of coaching materials and tools. The best knowledge is up-to-date information from relevant, valid research, theory and practice. It also takes into account relevant organizational data and all key stakeholders that may be impacted by decisions. However, because the existing academic coaching literature is still quite small, the best available knowledge is usually supplemented by (if not drawn directly from) the much more established literature in related fields.
The Four Domains of Knowledge Informing Evidence-Based Coaching
1. The Behavioural Sciences
2. Business and Management Sciences
3. Adult education - including workplace learning and development
and 4. philosophy.
The behavioural sciences happen to be where the vast majority of expert knowledge that informs coaching stems from. The behavioural sciences describe how people think, act, and feel and specific domains of the behavioural sciences - like organizational psychology, sports psychology, educational psychology, and counselling psychology - all describe this all through the lens of how this impacts people, their work, their performance, their success, and wellbeing.
As a great deal of coaching focuses on professional contexts (with both executives and nonexecutive clients) any coach working in these sorts of contexts should have a solid foundation of education and training in business and management in order to best understand and meet their clients’ needs. Similarly, when done in a corporate context, involving both a coachee and a corporate sponsoring entity, organisations increasingly require
coaching to be explicitly linked to the business's bottom line or expected imperatives and (direct or indirect) outcomes.
Adult education, including learning and development, provide the critical theory and practice laying at the foundation of adult learning - also known as androgogy. The majority of coaching clients are adults. Research can inform what is both effective and ineffective where it comes to teaching and learning. Efforts should both be directed to their target demographic and make use of the vast bodies of evidence in the domain of adult education.
Philosophy is at the heart of many coaching issues, such as the nature of good corporate governance, business ethics, questions of self-identity and personal values. Coaches need to have well-developed critical thinking skills, the ability to analyse and reason from first principles, and the ability to construct arguments and hold robust and well-reasoned discussions.
All the coaches at Emovere and who work in partnership with Emovere are evidence-based. If you don't believe what they're saying about something, ask them. They will show you their evidence to back-up their claims. If you have strong evidence to suggest otherwise, feel free to have a discusion about it with them.