Executive coaching, an intense and intimate form of leadership development, has been accepted by organizations across the globe as an important tool in developing leadership talent. A 2016 Harvard Business Review article estimated executive coaching to be approximately a $2.7 billion global industry. A survey reported in Fortune Magazine indicated that 79% of medium and large businesses use this approach to develop leadership and in doing so, are making significant investments in their current and future leaders. A recent Harvard Business Review survey of 140 coaches revealed executive coaches hired ten years ago mainly addressed toxic leadership behaviors. Today's executive coaches are hired to develop high potential performers and assist leaders' transition to new positions and roles.
Executive coaching is a form of organizational learning that involves using external professional coaches that work one-to-one with the person being coached in order to facilitate growth and development. Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith describes executive coaching as, "working with leaders who want to get better." Executive coaching is a systematic process in which the coach empowers clients to to achieve organizaitonal or personal goals and results.
The 2012 International Coaching Federation Global Coaching Study reported the number of professional coaches to be approximately 47,500 worldwide and is continuing to grow. A study of research results on executive coaching provides insight to the advantages executive coaching has brought the management field. Organizations have turned to executive coaching for various reasons. It has been linked to professional development, improved emotional intelligence, improved production, and decreased turnover.
Today, executive coaching remains relativity a new phenomenon in the Human Resource Development arena. The coaching profession is developing as its growth continues to rise. Executive coaches did not premiere within major organizations until the 1980s. The use of executive coaching as a performance improvement and leader development mechanism has experineced tremendous growth that continues to increase. In 2016, the International Coach Federation reported over 25,000 members in over 100 countries.
Clients turn to executive coaches in times of change. Senior executives looking to algin vision, build better teams, or step up to new responsibilities may seek outside coaching to facitilite new strategies. Some executives will hire a coach to help transition into or out of a copany. Another reason is to improve skills may be than an exeuctive is good in one area (like strategy), yet needs help with the actual executation of mission. It can be lonley at the top and some do not feel free to let their guard down with peers and others inside an organization; therefore, some executives chose to use outside coaches as a trusted confident to help with a number of different issues.
The pricelag for executive coaching is not cheap. Most professional-level executive coaching programs fall somewhere in the range of $20,000-$30,000 for a six-month range. Some opt to fnd a coach right out of training or looking to increase their hours of expertise who will charge $200/hour. With this expensive pricetags organizations hope the pay-off in producivity, moral, and turnover will cover the price of hrining coaches.
Executive coaching is not without its criticisms. Despite its high demand, the coaching industry still seeks professional legitimacy and is seen as a developing field with high variation in coaches' background, coaching practices, and quality. Despite the growth and popularity, some academics feel the coaching field remains untested through empirical inquiries that analyze costs and befits. The executive coaching field has been criticized for lacking proper evalutaiton tools to adequatrley measure the effectiveness of coaching programs.
A good executive coach can help leaders be more thoughtful, impactful, and better influencers. An expected outcome of coaching is that leaders will develop new skills and be better able to bring others to effectively support organizational missions and goals. If an organizaiton is considering executive coaching there are a few items to address before entering into a contract. The organization needs to establish clear goals and expectations of likely outcomes that will result from acquiring executive coaches. Organizations should ask the executive coach about their qualifications and training. References from others that have used the coach are beneficial. Before investing in an executive coach or coaching consulting agency, organizations will want to share what outcome expectations (for example, lower turnover) the company has with the executive coach for beginning the coaching process. Companies must consider the cost of executive coaching and establish what the return on such investment will be for the acquired coaching venture.