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Is Executive Coaching for Business Leaders Effective?

Have you seen an Olympic-caliber athlete who doesn’t have a coach? Of course not. It is a mix of athletic talent and coaching support that catapults athletes to the highest of competitive levels. Successful executives are no different. They possess the experience and it is the skills and the support of an effective coach that helps them achieve the best results.

Yes, executive coaching is important and it is a growing field. According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), in 2019 there were 71,000 coaches which was an increase of 33% from four years earlier. Again, according to the ICF, the number of leaders using coaching services is estimated to have risen by almost half (46%), with some countries reporting double to triple that increase.

Growth in coaching services is as a result of organizations recognizing that more effective leadership is critical to sustain productivity, profitability, customer service, teamwork and ultimately, corporate culture. This is especially true as organizations navigate the evolving COVID-19 challenges as they relate to employees, customers and economics. An executive coach offers an outside perspective and unique observations that are often challenging for internal leadership to see.

Coaches challenge and encourage. The coach’s role is not to sugar coat performance and decisions, but rather help their coachee come to their own conclusions regarding performance and behaviour improvement through a series of questions, referred to as question-based coaching.

Coaching Relationships

According to Harvard Business Review, a successful coaching relationship should have the following ingredients:

  • The executive must be highly motivated to change and/or improve.
  • The coach and the executive need to be compatible, sharing a mutual respect.
  • There is a strong commitment from the organization’s leadership to invest in the executive.
  • There is an attitude of flexibility to adapt the coaching focus as required.

In today’s business environment, hiring an executive coach is being proactive. High-performance achievers have a never-ending desire to increase their potential and they know a coach can help. Their driven growth mindset may have them working an inordinate number of hours, and expecting their subordinates to do the same. They may appear engaged but are actually distracted while multi-tasking and feeling a sense of chaos. An executive coach can help find balance and solutions to managing priorities and time.

Speaking of great coaching, we cover how to deliver facilitation in this post.

Working with a coach is a journey and really does not have an end date, even if breaks are taken from coaching. Consider a coach a confidante who shares their outlook based on personal experience and training and offers observations and feedback on areas such as:

  • Work performance
  • Job effectiveness
  • Career direction
  • Organizational design
  • Priorities and time management
  • Change management
  • Strategic planning and execution
  • Soft skills development or improvement
  • Workplace relationships

A Look into Targeted Research

A recent study by Merrill C. Anderson, Ph.D., of the effects of executive coaching, indicated coaching produced a 788% return on investment (ROI). Manchester Inc. surveyed 100 executives and their research showed that a company’s investment in executive coaching realized an average ROI of almost six times the cost of the coaching.

Finally, according to the ICF, 86% of organizations surveyed saw an ROI on their coaching and 96% of those who had an executive coach said they would repeat the process again. Tangible factors were increased productivity, higher levels of overall performance, reduced costs, revenue and sales growth, higher employee retention, and higher engagement of employees. Intangible factors were increased confidence of those being coached, improved communication, stronger employee and peer-to-peer relationships.

Want to learn more about maintaining organizational growth? Check out this link. 

At X5 Management we are supporting more and more business clients with leadership and executive coaching. While this is not new, the reason for this focus is also attributed to today’s business challenges, such as the Great Resignation, Sales Growth, Customer Service, Communication and Team Dysfunction. Our first step is always a complimentary Discovery Meeting where we meet the client (virtually or in-person) to find out more about the leadership challenges and what solutions we can provide. Contact us at

Kris works with X5 Management as an Executive and Leadership Coach to offer one-on-one coaching sessions and help the Executive or Leader grow and develop, as well as serve as a trusted advisor and sounding board. X5 Management has been supporting business clients across Canada since 2006.

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