The Future of Corporate Coaching: Guiding Leaders Through Organization-Wide Transformation in a Digitally Accelerated World

image of a woman engaging in corporate coaching while on a laptop

When HR executives and buyers prioritize leadership development options for their senior leaders, corporate coaching is often at the top of the list. Particularly in times of profound change and disruption, executives and senior-level managers need the support of a coach who can help them filter through noise and make clear decisions that propel their organizations into the future.

The Benefits of Corporate Coaching

With research from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) showing that 86% of organizations see an ROI on their coaching engagements, the benefits of corporate coaching are significant.

The level of satisfaction and impact of corporate coaching is irrefutable, with multiple studies finding evidence that coaching is highly effective.

One such study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that executive coaching enhances goal attainment, resilience, and workplace wellbeing, and according to ICF, 96% of those who had an executive coach said they would repeat the process again.

Research has repeatedly found that leaders who receive coaching are viewed as significantly more effective and tend to be more satisfied in their jobs.

Corporate Coaching’s Fastest-Growing Segments

The majority of corporate coaching has been focused on leadership development in recent years. Within leadership development, coaches are helping their coachees:
  • Develop their senior leaders and middle managers
  • Enhance their culture through more effective conversations
  • Help their staff to become engaged problem-solvers

But today, the focus of corporate coaching is shifting. While leadership development is still a critical and growing segment, 2 additional focus areas have entered the scene:

  • Coaching for transformation and change
  • Coaching for innovation

From a historical perspective, corporate coaching has evolved from individual coaching to team coaching to group coaching. Today, we see the emergence of a fourth possibility: organizational coaching. Because of the interdependent nature of organizations, people and teams are most successful when they are able to work together. When these interdependencies are managed and operate at the same performance level, organizations achieve super-performance. But when they’re not managed, the organization’s success lags.

That’s why corporate coaches are now focusing more and more on the interdependencies between people, teams, departments, and business units. This results in corporate coaching that targets improving relationships, partnerships, and entire ecosystems.

The Future of Corporate Coaching

As the coaching industry continues to evolve under the influence of a “new world of work” — one that is increasingly digital, agile, and transformed for the post-pandemic world — how will buyers expect corporate coaching to meet these new challenges?

To lead their organizations through massive transformations, senior leaders will need coaches who are specialized — not just in a particular industry, but on a specific topic. These specialized coaches must be familiar with relevant research and industry trends, and they must have the ability to analyze data to help leaders solve unprecedented challenges.

The future will see corporate coaching that’s focused on an organization’s overall strategy, ultimately helping that organization achieve its mission by crafting senior leaders who are able to operate at peak performance.

External vs. Internal Leadership Development

Typically, when organizations invest in corporate coaching, they’re considering either:

  1. External corporate coaching providers or organizations; or
  2. Internal leadership development, whereby HR leaders and managers are empowered to use coaching skills to elevate employees’ skills.

But internal coaching programs often fall short of expectations and do not yield the expected results because the HR processes haven’t changed, and leaders aren’t really equipped to hold coaching conversations, so development isn’t really sustained.

That’s why in the future, senior leaders will require a different type of corporate coaching experience: one that blends coaching and mentoring; professional development and strategic dialogues; individual focus with team engagement; and finally external, professional coaching with internal and external peer coaching.

For many organizations, the 2020 pandemic-mandated shift to a virtual workplace inspired true digital transformation — a new way of working and living. And our research indicates that there are continued significant shifts happening in the corporate coaching and talent development landscape in the post-pandemic world.

Learn more about what 100+ HR and business leaders told us about their expectations for the future of corporate coaching by downloading our white paper below.

Download White Paper

Download this white paper to discover what our research found are buyers’ top concerns as they match corporate coaches with senior leaders and the ways corporate coaching is helping leaders to solve unprecedented challenges and adapt to the future.

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June 21, 2021
About the Author(s)
Frederic Funck
Frédéric Funck leads our coaching business strategy, coaching products innovations, coaching client satisfaction and engagements in the EMEA region. He is a member of Forbes Coaching Council and has written numerous articles and white papers on the future of leadership coaching. Frédéric is also chair of a coaching think tank of 60 prestigious organizations in EMEA and serves a keynote speaker specializing in the topics of peak performance and flow.

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