The Agile Centre is a leading provider of Agile consultancy, assessments, training and business services and I recently had the great pleasure to speak at one of their regular Meetups to talk about Coaching Leaders through Uncertainty. You can watch the full webinar here: 

Here is an overview of the presentation:

The Growth of Coaching

In 2020, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) published its fourth major research project on the size and scope of the coaching profession. The 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study represents the largest study of its kind with 22, 457 responses from 161 countries and territories. This study shows that there are around 71,000 coach practitioners in the world which is a 33% increase since the last report in 2016 and there has been a sharp rise in managers and leaders using coaching skills at 15,900. The profession of coaching now also shows a global annual revenue of around $2.5 billion. Of those surveyed, 85% agree or strongly agree that a formal coaching qualification or credential is now an expectation and the biggest perceived risk to the profession is that of untrained individuals calling themselves coaches, which is particularly important in what is still a largely self-regulated profession.

Traditionally, the kinds of goals and topics that people bring into coaching include areas such as:

  • Optimising individual/teamwork performance
  • Improving communication skills
  • Increasing productivity
  • Expanding career opportunities
  • Increasing self-esteem/self-confidence
  • Managing work/life balance
  • Improving business management

Shifts and Trends

In my own coaching practice, over the last year, I have seen this list change quite significantly and it now tends to include more of the following:

  • Discomfort with not knowing what to do
  • Keeping staff engaged, connected, motivated
  • Maintaining own motivation, engagement
  • Managing wellbeing issues
  • Space to breathe, share
  • Ability to prioritise
  • Loss of confidence
  • Reviewing life goals

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, people had been commenting that we had entered a state of VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous), and we then found ourselves thrust into an even greater place of turmoil. These kinds of coaching topics simply highlight the challenge so many leaders have been facing to navigate the incredible amount and pace of change and its many consequential ripples. Pre-Covid, organisations were already reporting a state of constant change with continuously shifting priorities and strategies. However, the ICF’s study highlighted that 85% of organisations had experienced an unsuccessful change initiative in the previous three years.

During a period of change, the following kinds of activities have typically been deployed by organisations:

  • Classroom training
  • Web-based learning/e-learning
  • Face time with senior leaders

However, interestingly it is not these activities which appear to have the maximum positive impact on successfully facilitating change.

Becoming a High Performing Organisation

The Human Capital Institute (HCI) has established a range of business and people metrics to define what they call a High Performing Organisation (HPO). The HPOs involved in the ICF’s study clearly showed a different range of activities that were found to have the highest impact in facilitating change:

  • Group coaching with a professional coach
  • One-on-one coaching with a professional coach
  • Meeting with senior leaders
  • Action learning (OTJ)
  • Learning labs
  • Access to managers with coaching skills
  • Stretch assignments/Job rotations
  • Team coaching with a professional coach

At least four of these high impact activities involve coaching or the use of coaching skills. In addition, 61% of organisations considered to be HPOs also report having a strong coaching culture. The link between coaching and improved change management is strong. Not only this, organisations which use coaching as a strategic resource also tend to report an uplift in several important metrics:

Like many professions, coaching has not been totally immune to the impact of COVID-19. However, the ICF’s most recent research into Covid-19 and the Coaching Industry has shown that 41% of businesses felt that the pandemic had a limited negative effect on coaching. What’s more, there is a growing sense that coaching is in fact growing and evolving even more rapidly in response to the challenges being faced.

As many organisations are still battling to survive during these difficult times, and we also still have the mountain to climb toward economic recovery, now is the time, more than ever before, to bring coaching and coaching skills into your organisation to help you successfully navigate your future!

Tracy Sinclair Ltd. supports organisations to develop the potential of their people through coaching, coaching skills and coaching culture. Our Coaching with Conscience services specialise in offering coaching and coaching related services in support of positive social impact and social progress. Connect with us today to set up a consultation for your organization.

Tracy Sinclair, MCC

Tracy Sinclair is a multi-award-winning Master Certified Coach (MCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She is also a trained Coaching Supervisor, Mentor Coach and ICF Assessor. Tracy trains coaches and works with managers and leaders to develop their coaching capability. She works as an international Corporate Executive and Board Level Coach, a leadership development designer and facilitator working with a wide range of organisations. Tracy also specialises in working with organisations to support them develop coaching culture. Tracy has co-authored a book Becoming a Coach: The Essential ICF Guide published in 2020 which provides a comprehensive guide to coaching for coaches at all levels of skill and experience, the psychology that underpins coaching and the updated ICF Core Competency Model. In this same year she founded Coaching with Conscience which exists to have a positive impact on society and our environment through coaching. As part of this work, she collaborates closely with MIND, the UK’s leading mental health charity and the British Paralympic Association (BPA). She also offers pro bono personal development and coaching programmes to young leaders (18-25-yrs). Tracy was named as one of the Leading Global Coach winners of the Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Awards of 2019 and was a finalist for the Thinkers50 Coaching and Mentoring Award in 2021. She won the ICF Impact Award for Distinguished Coach in 2023 and is a member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches. She was the President of the UK ICF from 2013-2014 and was an ICF Global Board Director since 2016, serving as Treasurer in 2017, Global Chair in 2018 and Immediate Past Global Chair in 2019 and Vice Chair and Director at Large on the International Coaching Federation Global Enterprise Board in 2021.

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