Companies that pay for coaching for senior executives expect results to focus on leadership development, according to the third annual international survey from Sherpa Coaching of West Chester Township. The company, which teaches coaching as a profession to students at three universities, surveyed executive coaches from 35 countries, but centered on the U.S.
This year's survey was co-sponsored by the Tandy Center for Executive Leadership at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The survey, which has grown from 550 respondents in 2005 to 1,300 in 2007, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sherpa offered university-level executive coaching programs at TCU, Penn State University and the University of Georgia.
"The industry is placing more and more importance on certification and more and more coaches are getting certified," said Karl Corbett, managing partner at Sherpa, founded in 2004. "We're finding less and less 'as-needed' coaching. People are going to regular meetings. People also want a more limited scope - six months or less."
The survey found:
- Nine of 10 human resources professionals and clients see the value of coaching as "very high" or "somewhat high." The number of business people who rate the credibility of coaching as "very high" or "somewhat high" was 74 percent, up 7 percentage points from last year.
- The number of people in the discipline who report employers paying for services increased from 71 percent in 2006 to 78 percent in 2007.
- More than half of practicing executive coaches believe that a standardized approach to coaching - similar to the standards created for the accounting and financial planning professions - is essential if the discipline is to grow in importance.
I love the trend toward higher standards & the expectation of professional certification for coaches worldwide. Coaching is a powerfully effective discipline all its own; it really works! But the waters are currently being muddied by well-meaning consultants and mentors who are calling themselves coaches, when in fact "coaching" is not what they are offering. We need to raise the bar on the coaching profession. As the survey points out, we must establish professional standards and require certification for anyone to carry the title of professional coach...or risk losing the clear distinctives that make coaching the unique and impactful approach to life change that it is.