Executive coaching is a growing industry around the world, particularly for leadership development. More than 70% of formal leadership development programs in organizations use some sort of coaching.

And, it’s not just for the C-suite; one survey stated that coaches spend almost half of their time serving managers at all levels of the organization, not just top-level management.

Moreover, coaching is becoming a world-wide phenomenon. Coaching as an industry is growing on the entire continent of Europe. A recent survey stated that there are between 16,000 and 18,000 coaches in Europe, and a wide variety of coaching practices exist within the continent, with various cultural nuances in the way coaching is understood and delivered.

Coaching is also becoming increasingly important in Asia with its growing economic and business prominence on the global scene. Given this popularity, coaching models, tools, training and other resources abound. Even so, not enough has been learned about what makes a coaching process an effective one.

A key variable in the success of any coaching engagement is what training and practices coaches use with their clients. But what exactly are those practices that result in success? What practices do coaches believe work best to bring about positive results?

To better understand the coach’s view of best practices, CCL researchers interviewed 87 experienced coaches about what they do in their coaching.

Some of them were asked to even think about their most effective and least effective coaching engagements in addition to specific questions designed to reveal their specific practices and processes.

With these interviews, we tapped into the real-world experience of coaches to gain practical information about their own best practices for effective coaching. The interviews also reveal the complexity of coaching and the versatility required by coaches as they tailor coaching engagements to meet individual needs.

Given the scope and importance of coaching across organizational levels and around the world, it is essential for coaches to understand the best practices of other effective coaches.

Additional Contributing Authors:

Leigh Whittier Allen, Psy.D., is the former Coaching Talent Manager for the Center for Creative Leadership®. She is responsible for the selection, training and supervision of the executive feedback coaches in Colorado Springs and Denver who provide interpretations of management and psychological data to participants attending various CCL® training programs. She was affiliated with the Center as an adjunct feedback coach for seven years prior to joining the staff full-time in October 2003.

Lisa Manning is an adjunct researcher with the Center for Creative Leadership, and a Ph.D. candidate in the doctoral program in leadership studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Her research interests are in cross-cultural aspects of coaching. Thomas E. Francis, Psy.D., University of the Rockies & Center for Creative Leadership.

Thomas E. Francis, Psy.D., was an intern at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) working directly with the Coaching Talent Manager at the Colorado Springs campus. He recently completed his dissertation project on the best practices of executive coaches working with C-Level clients from the University of the Rockies. His research interests include executive coaching, leading organizational change, coaching and building teams, and organizational issues in human diversity.

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