Executive coaching is a growing business. It is no longer limited to Fortune 500 companies. Entrepreneurs and owners of private businesses of all sizes have turned to coaching for business and personal growth.
Back in 2004, the Harvard Business Review reported that executive coaching got started in the 1980s, yet still lacked reliable information for measuring success. The report estimated $1 billion spent on corporate coaching in 2004. It was anticipated that the coaching industry would continue to grow due to the considerable need for executive improvement.
Even after the 2008 recession, the executive coaching industry has continued its wide adoption by leaders everywhere. The attraction is simple: executive coaching prepares new executives to lead and equips established executives to master their own abilities. This potent combination has driven the substantial growth seen in the executive education marketplace. A 2012 study released by the International Coach Federation (ICF) “estimated the industry’s annual revenue at about $2 billion,” according to Frank Kalman of CLO Media.
While the individual executive coaching practice has been widely adopted, business coaching has emerged as its own specialty. With business coaching, the client hires a coach to provide an independent, third-party look at what is going on in the business. Coaching eliminates the blind spots business owners and operators tend to develop.
Yet with all of this market growth, I still get asked from time to time about the exact benefits of executive coaching. Occasionally, people think “coaching” is still too vague. On one hand, I find an odd disconnect here. Some of the same business owners who question the validity of business or executive coaching spend thousands of dollars at the gym on personal trainers or with golf coaches. My answer to them rings with the same logic from the sports world. If you want to move your game to a new level as a business leader, you should consider hiring a coach.
Measure What Matters
With any business endeavor, whether entrepreneurial start-ups or bigger corporate giants, the results from executive coaching can be measured in one of three ways. Good leaders impact all three.
Unless you are that very rare entrepreneur who operates all by themselves, you need a team to conduct business. The people making up the teams just may be the most valuable measure of the effectiveness of an executive’s growth from coaching. As a leader, your ability to influence the team around you makes up the essence of your effectiveness.
Leaders who broaden their influence and strengthen their ability to lead can realize significant gains with the people they lead. When a leader is on his game you can measure:
- Team morale
- Devotion to the purpose of the team
- Alignment with vision and mission
- Reduction in turnover
- Reduced talent acquisition costs
Finding ways to do more with what you have is productivity. Time, money and materials can be wasted or optimized with effective productivity. The leader can directly impact productivity by finding ways to streamline procedures and process, improve workplace conditions, set reasonable goals, and inspire the team.
The leader must see the process from end to end. If the business owner or senior executive is struggling with seeing the big picture, productivity can suffer. I’ve said before, you must inspect what you expect. Knowing when and how to do that can increase productivity.
Profitability, the last measure of coaching effectiveness is obvious. Seeing profitability improve is a direct gauge of executive effectiveness. Making the right changes, implementing the best practices, negotiating good deals, and all the other aspects of running a business result in bottom-line performance.
As the senior executive, your own ability to impact profitability can make or break your success. Entrepreneurs who have great ideas, but no business skills, need help. Executives who climb the ladder but never get training for the technical aspects of business management need help.
If you do decide to hire a coach, ask how they measure what they intend to do for you. If the outcome doesn’t include one or all of these three areas, you may have the wrong coach.
Coaching can be measurable, whether for your personal growth or your business growth. Ask your prospective coach to walk you through these tangible ways to gauge success from the coaching. If they either can’t or won’t do that, you may need a new coach.
Originally posted on DougThorpe.com
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