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Sherpa coaching survey results

The annual Sherpa Coaching survey results for 2008 recently became available.

Sherpa Coaching is an executive coach training and certification organisation in West Chester, Ohio. The Survey is in its third year and is offered by Sherpa "for the betterment of executive coaching, and the promotion of process-driven leadership development." You can see some of the press coverage of the survey at:

Brent Combrink kindly summarised the survey below, and you can click here to download the entire report from the Sherpa web site:

  1. 800 respondents, 480 of whom were practicing exec coaches, the others were buyers.
  2. Respondents' email domains were located in 21 countries, although none from RSA.
  3. This survey confirms our suspicion that coaching is perceived as offering value, but with not as much credibility. On a 4-point rating scale, from "very low" to "very high", 44% rated "value of coaching" as very high, while only 14% rated "credibility of coaching" as very high.
  4. Further, the market struggles to measure ROI in coaching. Only 9% of respondents have a formal process for measuring ROI. 35% have no formal process and 56% rely on anecdotal evidence ROI.
  5. The reason for hiring an exec coach is shifting to leadership development (49%, up 6% from 2006) from problem solving (32%, down 5% from 2006). 20% of exec coaching goes to people in transition (no change from 2006).
  6. Where coaching happens in organisations:
    • 48% respondents apply coaching at all levels (similar to the Metropolitan project, for those familiar).
    • 25% use coaching at senior management only.
    • 19% exclusively at top line management (executives).
    • Private-paying clients make the balance of 8% (their level in the organisation is not stated).
  7. Phone vs live / in-person coaching - proportions and perceived effectiveness:
    • Personal and life coaches do slightly more phone coaching (41%) than in-person (39%).
    • Exec coaches do more in-person (44%) than phone (37%) and email (15%).
    • 82% of HR experts rated effectiveness better for in-person than phone coaching, while 96% of those who worked with a coach rated in-person as most effective. It's interesting to note that coaches self-rated effectiveness at 70% to 30% for in-person vs phone.
  8. The trend is for coaching contracts to shorten to 6 months or less (47% in 2006 and 60% in 2007 support this) while only 10% want coaching to run for 6 months or more.
  9. Coaching sessions are less frequent. 29% of coaching happens weekly (down from 35% in 2006) while twice-a-month coaching increased by the same difference.
  10. In qualifications for coaching:
    • Buyers and users place even weighting on certification and experience - about 44% each.
    • Although many therapists are entering coaching, having a psychology background is deemed appropriate by only 3% of coaches and 2% of HR (buyers)."
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