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Does Coaching Work?

A Survey

Coaching seems to be the latest evolution in the self-improvement industry, but far more pervasive, as it reaches into corporations and organizations, not just the lives of individuals. Coaching works because the Coach helps his or her clients set and reach higher and more appropriate goals, asks more of them than they would have done on their own and focuses them to produce results more quickly.


Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client's level of awareness and responsibility and provides the client with structure, support and feedback. Coaching is a form of consulting, but the Coach stays with the client to help implement the new skills, changes and goals to make sure they really happen. However, Coaches do not try to ‘fix’ clients - it is entirely up to the clients to take action in order to change their lives.

During the first quarter of 1998, The International Coach Federation polled 210 Coaching clients for demographic data and opinions as part of its research regarding the legal, regulatory, and credentialing issues. Of these respondents, 197 were employed professionals. All had formal relationships with an Coaches, regularly meeting for strategy sessions for an average of nine months.

The highlights of the survey findings include:

*70% of respondents said their investment in a Coach was "very valuable"; 28.5% said their investment was "valuable".

*94% of respondents believe Coaching is here to stay and become a recognized profession.

*Half of the respondents confide in their Coach as much as their best friend, spouse or therapist; 12% say they confide in their Coach more than anyone else.

*84.8% of respondents said the main role of their Coach is to be a sounding board - to listen to them and give honest feedback. 78.1% called the Coach a motivator, 56.7% a friend, 50.5% a mentor, and 46.7% a business consultant and 41% a teacher.

*80.5% of respondents say they turn to their Coach for help on time management, 74.3% for career guidance, 73.8% for business advice, 58.6% on relationships/family issues, 51.9% on physical/wellness issues, 45.2% on personal issues, 39.5% on goal-setting, 38.1% on financial guidance and 11% on creativity.

*The outcomes that clients most often attribute to their Coaching are a higher level of self-awareness (67.6%), smarter goal-setting (62.4%), a more balanced life (60.5%), lower stress levels (57.1%), self-discovery (52.9%), more self-confidence (52.4%), improvement in quality of life (43.3%), enhanced communication skills (39.5%), project completion (35.7%), health or fitness improvement (33.8%), better relationship with boss or co-workers (33.3%), better family relationships (33.3%), increased energy (31.9%), more fun (31.9%), more income (25.7%), stopped a bad habit (25.7%), change in career (24.3%), more free time (22.9%).

*82% of Coaching clients have undergraduate degrees; over a third hold Master's degrees or higher.

This poll was conducted by consultant Amy Watson, Principal, PROfusion Public Relations, with survey design assistance by Jackie Rieves Watson, Ph.D., professor of management and statistics, Amber University. None of the results should be considered conclusive or highly scientific since scientific conditions were not established for the responses.

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