Assigning a Workplace Coach a Positive Sign for Employees

June 17, 2008 ( - Assigning a workplace coach to an employee is likely to be a sign the worker is on the fast track and that the organization is serious about raising performance levels and developing talent.

According to a news release, that was a key conclusion of a global study commissioned by American Management Association (AMA) and conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity.

When asked about the groups that their organizations coach, 60% of respondents said the coaching involved high potential employees to a high or very high extent and 42% said the same about executives. By contrast, 37% said they coach problem employees to such a high extent.

The study defined coaching as a short- to medium-term relationship between a manager or senior leader and a consultant (internal or external) with the purpose of improving work performance .” The study found that coaching is linked to improved performance, both at the individual and organizational levels.

“Executive coaching has become one of the tools to achieve effective leadership in today s vastly changing corporate culture. As we increasingly learn how to measure executive coaching, we will find that we manage its role in leadership development better, said Edward T. Reilly, president and CEO of American Management Association, in the announcement. In going forward, what we have learned from this study will pave the way to a clearer understanding of the possibilities of executive coaching and practice. Change will need to come quickly given the vacancies in top management that are likely to occur due to retirement of the baby boomer generation.”

Respondents from organizations that use coaching more now than in the past are more likely to report two kinds of advantages: higher levels of success in the area of coaching and performing well in the market, as determined by self-reports in the combined areas of revenue growth, market share, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

Design Ideas

The study found there are a number of ways to design and implement coaching programs. For one, sending potential coaches to external development programs was more strongly correlated with overall coaching success than more internally focused methods.

The study also found that clarity of purpose counts. The more a company has a clear reason for using a coach, the more likely that its coaching process will be viewed as successful.

In addiiton, the more frequently respondents reported using a measurement method to gauge coaching effectiveness, the more likely they were to report success in their coaching programs. The measurement methods that were most strongly linked to success are individual increases in productivity, impact on engagement, satisfaction with the program, and bottom-line results on the business.

The study found that providing coaching to expatriates is tied to success and improved market performance. Yet, few companies report that they offer coaching to this segment of their employees.

is based on a survey that included responses from 1,030 managers and executives. The report is available at .