UK companies coach for corporate success

May 21 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Richard Branson, Charles Handy and Tony Blair top the list of public figures that Britain's leaders would most like as a personal development coach.

As coaching grows in popularity and credibility, both inside and outside the workplace, eighty per cent of executives say they think they would benefit from coaching at work and dismiss the suggestion that it is just another fad.

Virtually all managers (96 per cent) think coaching should be available to every employee, regardless of seniority, according to new research, Coaching at Work, launched on May 16 by the Chartered Management Institute and Campaign for Learning, to coincide with National Learning at Work Day.

The value of learning and development, as a source of competitive advantage in business, has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years. This study builds on previous research by the Institute showing that informal ways of learning are becoming increasingly popular. In its study, Achieving Management Excellence (2000), the Institute found that the number of managers receiving coaching had increased from 58 per cent in 1996 to 77 per cent by 2000.

So what are the benefits of coaching? The current research shows that 85 per cent of managers identify the main value as enhancing team morale and 80 per cent say it is good at generating responsibility on the part of the learner. Managers say coaching can be used to support an individual through restructuring and change in the organisation, or as part of a programme to motivate and retain staff.

But for coaching to work, adequate planning is essential. Executives also say training for coaches is essential, acknowledging that not everyone is cut out to be a good coach. While most executives are happy with the quality of coaching in their company, a quarter, however, are concerned that insufficient time is set aside for it.

The majority (59 per cent) of managers cite personal coaching, involving face-to-face meetings, as the main type of mentoring used in their organisation, while newer methods such as e-coaching over the Internet, are still in their infancy with only eight per cent of managers saying this takes place in their organisation. But only 18 per cent of executives say their organisation has a formal coaching programme. Coaching is far more likely to take place on an ad-hoc basis, they admit, with nearly half (44 per cent) saying this is the case in their organisation.

Thinking about the expertise executives would most like to develop further, those that come out tops are IT skills, personal effectiveness and emotional intelligence. This reflects the growing dependence on technology and an awareness of the continued importance of strong interpersonal skills.

But coaching is not confined to the workplace. Executives clearly use their skills to develop and support others outside the workplace, with 28 per cent saying they have acted as a coach in a sports club, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) saying as part of voluntary or charity work and 17 per cent within the context of a youth group such as Girl Guides or Scouts.

Christine Hayhurst, Director of Public Affairs, Chartered Management Institute, commented: "The increasing number of managers who have experienced coaching are clear about its value as an important element of workplace training and development. The challenge, now, is for managers to work with their people in developing a 'coaching culture' in organisations that extends this type of beneficial learning to employees at all levels."

Research was undertaken among 3,000 managers, of which 280 replied, a nine per cent response rate. Eighteen per cent were directors, 33 per cent senior managers, 30 per cent middle managers and 16 per cent junior managers

As the champion of management, the Chartered Management Institute (the Institute) shapes and supports the managers of tomorrow, helping them deliver results in a dynamic world. The Institute helps set and raise standards in management, encouraging development to improve performance. Moreover, with in-depth research and regular policy surveys of its 91,000 individual members and 520 corporate members, the Institute has a deep understanding of the key issues.

For further information contact Karen Dale or Michelle Low, on: 020 7497 0496, or outside office hours on: 020 8540 9815

Email: [email protected]

The Chartered Management Institute came into being on 1 April 2002, as a result of the Institute of Management being granted a Royal Charter.

Founded in 1997, the Campaign for Learning is an independent charity working to create an appetite in individuals that will sustain them for life. The Campaign for Learning has co-ordinated Learning at Work Day for the past four years as part of Adult Learners Week. The aim of the day is to make learning a part of everyday working life and highlight the benefits of providing learning opportunities to all staff.