New Study Identifies Growth in Demand for Strong Coaching Cultures
Today, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Human Capital Institute (HCI) release Defining New Coaching Cultures, the latest study in its joint research series. For nearly a decade, the two organizations have joined forces to investigate the fundamental tenets of coaching cultures within organizations. On the heels of the pandemic and the unprecedented shifts it caused in people’s relationships with work, professional coaching increasingly appears as a preferred approach for addressing widespread mental fatigue and workplace burnout. As a result, organizations across a spectrum of categories are responding to these new challenges by emphasizing and adopting coaching cultures. Respondents to a recent survey commissioned by ICF and HCI demonstrate that organizational leaders view a coaching culture as a potentially significant benefit for dealing with staff stress, burnout, and other emotional difficulties.
The 2023 study revealed that organizations are more committed to fostering a coaching culture than ever before, and more professionals have access to coaching in all its modalities:
- 85% of survey respondents worked with managers and leaders who use coaching skills. 64% employed external coach practitioners, and half involved internal coach practitioners.
- 46% of managers/leaders and/or internal coaches received training in 2023, a slight increase compared to 43% in 2019.
- 27% of employees received coaching from a professional coach practitioner, a slight increase from 23% in 2019.
“Burnout arises when people are working too hard or are unhappy with what they’re doing,” said Robert Garcia, ICF vice president of ICF Coaching in Organizations. “Coaching offers a great method for exploring other options or different ways to do things,” he concluded.
The trend signals a strong future for integrated coaching practices, with the majority of survey respondents intending to further increase or maintain a focus on coaching over the next five years. Findings also identified six elements of a strong coaching culture, encompassing factors such as the value placed on coaching by leaders and employees and the importance of a dedicated coaching budget.
As coaching cultures advance, the data revealed, there is further opportunity for growth: Only 27% of organizations make coaching from a professional coach practitioner accessible to all employees. More often, coaching is afforded exclusively to senior-level staff an appropriate first step in implementing a coaching culture since it can have a ripple effect across the teams they manage. As much as 90% of survey respondents agreed that managers and leaders need to integrate coaching skills in their interactions, reflecting recognition of coaching as a valuable tool. Other employees, however, clearly benefit from access to coaching, particularly high-performing employees.
“At a time when so many are struggling with fatigue, physical and mental, new approaches to work/life balance in a hybrid environment, and different ways of engaging, coaching cultures support a shift toward a more connected and responsive environment where resilience, trust, and collaboration are fostered,” said ICF CEO Magdalena Nowicka Mook. “In an era of redefined professional boundaries and empathy-driven leadership, these qualities are quickly shifting from ‘nice to have’ for employees to a necessity. The organizations that invest in building a coaching culture will be a step ahead for retaining and drawing in top talent. Moreover, they will realize better results for their employees and their stakeholders.”