The Return on Investment of Professional Coaching
There has been a lot of discussion about the ROI of professional coaching. The attention to ROI of coaching tackles this issue from a number of angles:
- Is there one?
- If there is, what is it?
- How do we measure it?
- When? And, How? is coaching best used?
And, lest you imagine this discussion only happens in the corporate context of coaching, let me assure you that it is not the case!
The questions “Does coaching work?” And specifically, “Will it work for me?” are ubiquitous among all people thinking about supporting themselves and the achievement of their goals with coaching.
My own take on this is naturally that coaching works a great deal better than anything other process, to achieve targeted personal AND professional growth.
Coaches can certainly all agree that coaching is effective – or we wouldn’t be coaches. Right?
However, the question of the ROI is not really for coaches. Others must see coaching as valuable in order to invest in it! Coaching is expensive – and it should be. It is a very intensive 1:1 process which requires a great deal of training, experience and commitment on the part of the coach. Much research has been done to help organizations make decisions about their resource allocation in staff development. It turns out that their research applies to professional coaching that is used for personal ends just as well. Andrew Neitlich (Head, Center for Executive Coaching) has compiled some good data on the return on investment in coaching (CLICK here for the article).
Here are some interesting statistics:
- The International Coach Federation (ICF) has found an average return of $4.30 and $7.90 for every $1 invested in professional coaching (through a review of studies conducted by a wide variety of organizations).
- ICF also found that training combined with coaching increases productivity by four times more than training alone (which makes sense given that coaching works over time to reinforce the work of training. Also the research shows that almost 85% of most training content is lost after two weeks).
- Fast Company Magazine did a survey and found that 92% of leaders being coached said that they plan to use a coach again.
- Companies that provide coaching report benefits through improvements in:
- Organizational strength
- Customer service and reduced customer complaints
- Retention, especially among those receiving coaching
- Cost reduction and bottom line profitability
- Well-being and engagement of coached employees
Since many of you readers are not organizational or executive coaches specifically, I want to point out how these same results apply outside of the organization:
- Individuals that engage professional coaching experience improvements in:
- Greater sense of fulfillment, purpose, and direction in life
- Personal productivity
- Improved time management
- Improved strength in relationships
- Improved ability to navigate conflict
- Greater commitment to life goals
- Improved relationship with money
Executive coaching receives much attention, hence its ROI is studied. However, just like the internet was initially invented to improve communication and data resource management for the military, but now is widely used for by more than 50% of the world’s population – research on executive coaching ROI applies for personal coaching as well. Further research data shows:
- Executives and leaders receiving coaching report these benefits:
- Improved working relationships with direct reports
- Improved working relationships with immediate supervisors
- Better teamwork
- Improved working relationships with peers
- Greater job satisfaction
- Reduction in conflicts
- Improved organizational commitment
- Stronger relationships with external customers
My perspective is that the personal growth that allows a leader in an organization to achieve the results above is the same that would allow an individual to live his and her life with much greater joy, satisfaction and peace.
These are worthy aspirations for a meaningful life.
To your continued thriving!
Lisa E. Hale, Ph.D., PCC
President ICF-CO, and Focused Leadership Consulting