Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

ICF Global Coaching Study 2012 (Part the Third)

ICF Coaching reportIn this final section, of a review of the Executive Summary of the ICF/PWC Global Coaching Study 2012, we will look at the positive and negative views that coaches hold about the next 12 months. There are some useful action steps you may wish to take in response to this information but …

A Word of Caution

Before you run off and change your business plan (you’ve got one of those, right?) just remember that these are views of coaches of the next 12 month period. Whilst these are likely to be well informed by the feedback coaches hear from their clients, the following comments are not the views of clients. That’s important to remember. Be conscious of this feedback but test your own market sectors as it is likely that geography, sector, client profile etc will have different takes on what they want to see from coaching in the next year.


Coaches felt that there were opportunities in two key areas: increased awareness of the benefits of coaching and greater credible data about ROI (p.12)

For me these two factors are actually quite closely related. The greater benefit awareness, would surely include some elements of ROI. Nevertheless, there is a great opportunity here for coaches who are aware of ways that they can measure the impacts of their work and report these effectively to the project sponsor. If you are unsure how to go about this contact me and I’ll be happy to share my experience. Until then you may want to read this post on measuring impacts of coaching.

The challenge that goes with reporting impacts of coaching isn’t the methodology of completing it, it is in the fact that sponsors frequently will not pay for it. My view is that it is usually well worth the effort to be able to measure impacts, even on your own time. Agree it up front. Scale it in a way that you can manage. Offer a brief report as an added value element.


As mentioned in a previous post there is concern that the unregulated nature of coaching means that individuals who have no training are able legitimately to call themselves a coach. My advice here for you to be able to ensure you are able to differentiate yourself from this group is to get accredited, trained or a work towards a recognised qualification and market yourself on that basis. A reservation worth noting here is that a study by Leedham (2005) found that whilst the experience of a coach was the most important factor in selecting an executive coach, the qualification they held was considered the least important by respondents. I’m not able to tell you with conviction whether this as true in 2012 as it was in 2005, but better to know than not.

The second factor that coaches in this ICF study saw as an obstacle in the next 12 months was “marketplace confusion”. There is no definition of this term in the Executive Summary but for the sake of this post, it may be fair to assume that it means something along the lines of confusion in the mind of the potential new clients/sponsors as to what “coaching” brings to the development table. Clarity over your niche is vital here. Be clear about what you are; how you do what you do; who you can help; the benefits sponsors can typically expect.


I would once again like to thank the International Coaching Foundation for allowing me to use their findings in this series of posts about what we can all surely consider, is another really important piece of research which will continue the journey to a greater degree of professionalisation of coaching. Thank you.

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