Why Coaching Works (A Mashup)

I’ve written a few posts on “how coaching works” and wanted to combine them in one easier to find/read place; three of them are “mashed-up” below:


The below post was originally published on August 8, 2011, here


“Coaching is hot.” “Coaching is in.” “Coaching is how smart people achieve goals faster.” “Coaching is how people find meaning and purpose in their lives.” “Coaching is how people make successful career transitions.” “Coaching is how people at the top-of-their-game get better.” These are just some of the things I’ve read or heard about coaching, from clients and journalists. And they’re all true, but I wanted to assemble some evidence:

If there’s a quote that coaches like to use to demonstrate the value of coaching, it’s: “I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential.” – Bob Nardelli (former CEO of Home Depot). Now regardless of what you think of Bob Nardelli’s tenure at Home Depot, or of him in general, he’s right.

Here are some more quotes related to the value and effectiveness of coaching:

“Many of the world’s most admired corporations, from GE to Goldman Sachs, invest in coaching. Annual spending on coaching in the U.S. Is estimated at roughly $1 billion.” – Harvard Business Review

“Recent studies show business coaching and executive coaching to be the most effective means for achieving sustainable growth, change and development in the individual, group and organization.” – HR Monthly

“A study featured in Public Personnel Management Journal reports that managers (31) that underwent a managerial training program showed an increased productivity of 22.4%. However, a second group was provided coaching following the training process and their productivity increased by 88%. Research does demonstrate that one-on-one executive coaching is of value.” – F. Turner, Ph.D CEO Refresher

“Business coaching is attracting America’s top CEOs because, put simply, business coaching works. In fact, when asked for a conservative estimate of monetary payoff from the coaching they got… managers described an average return of more than $100,000, or about six times what the coaching had cost their companies.” – FORTUNE Magazine

“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.” – John Russell, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd.

“Employers are shocked at how high their ROI numbers are for coaching.” – Alastair Robertson (Manager of Worldwide Leadership Development for Accenture)

“Once used to bolster troubled staffers, coaching now is part of the standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up-and-comers at IBM, Motorola, J.P. Morgan, Chase, and Hewlett Packard. These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: a trusted adviser to help reach their goals.” – CNN.com

“According to a July 2011 American Management Association survey, almost half of participating companies use coaching to prepare individuals for a promotion or new role. While half of companies provide coaches to midlevel or senior staff only, 38% make them available to anyone. ” – FORTUNE/CNN.com

A 2008 survey conducted by the International Coach Federation found that “82% of clients reported they were very satisfied with their coaching results” and “96% of clients say they would repeat their coaching experience.” Few products or services inspire 96 out of a 100 customers to repeat their experience — high praise indeed.

And according to the 2009 ICF Global Coaching Client Study, companies that use or have used professional coaching for business reasons have seen a median return on investment of seven times their initial investment. Individual clients reported a median return on investment of 3.44 times their investment.  Where else can you get a minimum of 344% return on your investment?

Sherpa Executive Coaching has been doing a survey on executive coaching for five years now and one relevant finding from their 2010 survey was that “87% of HR professionals and coaching clients see the value of executive coaching as ‘somewhat high’ or ‘very high’.”

Harvard Business Review’s recent industry survey found that the popularity and acceptance of leadership coaching continues to rise even in the current tight business environment. The survey concluded that clients keep coming back because “coaching works.” The report also found that: over 48% of companies now use coaching to develop the leadership capabilities of high-potential performers; the median hourly rate of coaching is $500 (from a low of $200 to a high of $3,500) and the typical coaching assignment is from seven to 12 months.

Allow me to share a couple testimonials from some of my past clients.

From a high potential rising executive:

Working with Matt has been a big help. I was going through a tough period — brand new job, buying a new home, preparing to move as well as being a new Dad — needless to say, I had a lot on my plate. Matt helped me focus on and handle all these new stresses in a productive and pro-active manner. He helped me focus on the positives in my life and provided me with realistic goals that I could accomplish on a weekly basis. His candor and pragmatic approach will definitely be an asset to anyone looking to improve their quality of life.


And from a small-business-person, working through a personal challenge:

Matt helped me to isolate and work through a problem that was gnawing at me for some time. [He] listened with genuine interest and care; asked pertinent questions that went right to the heart of the matter which helped to clarify my needs. [His] caring responses allowed me to explore a solution that honored my integrity. This is in great contrast to my old pattern of avoiding a confrontation for fear of causing someone harm. I am so grateful for [Matt’s] honesty and insight. This experience has taught me that there is always a way to work things out without sacrificing my or anyone’s personal pride. Thank you.


Jim Bolt writing on the web-site Fast Company recounts some results from a coaching survey he was involved with:

  • 43% of CEOs and 71% of the senior executive team report having worked with a coach
  • 63% of organizations say they plan to increase their use of coaching over the next five years
  • 92% of leaders being coached say they plan to use a coach again

Susan Battley has compiled more examples of the impressive Return on Investment (ROI) of coaching:

  • A Manchester Consulting Group study of Fortune 100 executives found that coaching resulted in an ROI of almost six times the program cost.
  • An International Personnel Management Association survey found that productivity increased by 88 percent when coaching was combined with training (compared to a 22 percent increase with training alone).
  • A study of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company by MetrixGlobal found that executive coaching resulted in a 529 percent ROI.
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company [MetLife] found that productivity among salespeople who had participated in an intensive coaching program rose by an average of 35 percent.
  • In the case of MetLife, the company invested about $620,000 in a coaching program, and realized $3.2 million in measurable gains.

But you don’t have to take the word of any of these folks (although I think they make a pretty good case . . . ). You can 1) get a sample of coaching and have your questions answered, for free, during the initial consultation I offer prospective clients and 2) you can begin coaching with me, risk-free, for the first month because I offer an unconditional, money-back guarantee for the first 30 days of coaching.

Click here to learn more.


The below post was originally published on January 11, 2013, here


People make the best decision they can with the information they have available, and do the best they can with what they have.

On its face the above isn’t that controversial, but do you believe it’s how things work?

Do you think it’s how you live your life?

I would argue that it’s the only way any of us live our lives – and it’s a foundation of where I come from as a coach.

Let’s break it down.

First, people do make the “best” decision they can, even if it’s not the best decision.

Second, by definition, people are using the information they have available, even if it’s (in the “grand scheme” of things) incomplete information (and it’s not all the information they truly have).

Finally, people do their best with what they have in each instance, even if it isn’t the best they could do, or isn’t even moral or “good.”

How does apply to coaching? Simply put, coaching is (largely) about: 1) giving you more and better resources (distinctions, practices, information and otherwise); 2) growing your capacity to make better decisions in each moment and 3) helping you develop the habits of mind and body that will allow you make better decisions (all the time… ).

How we think and act is a continual process. Therefore, it is an ongoing opportunity.

We can either continue to do the safe, known things we have, or we can engage in an effective process of examination, inquiry and adjustment and make intelligent and authentic changes.

Our lives are result of that choice.

Curious about coaching? Read below (the last paragraph in particular… ):


About the Author

At its core every problem (or issue, or annoyance, or . . . ) is an opportunity. Whether it be in leadership, business or life, what is “wrong” is a chance to understand the origins of the problem, learn the inherent lesson and design and implement a (lasting) solution.

As a Life & Executive Coach I help my clients to both see their problems, and lives, differently. Besides solving problems and achieving goals I help my clients create an advanced – and personalized – way of living and working.

If you want to solve problems quickly and permanently, and achieve goals that matter faster and easier, allow me to show you how my coaching works.


The below post was originally published on January 18, 2013, here


I read and listen to a lot of self/personal development stuff. But all that reading and listening doesn’t amount to a hill-of-beans (speaking of which, has anyone ever seen an actual “hill-of-beans” and is one all that desirable?) without application.

Information without application is interesting and sometimes entertaining, but it’s never transformative – it doesn’t change anyone or anything.

And that’s what we’re after, what we need. We need to transform, we need to change. More specifically, and accurately, we need to effectively manage change – to the greatest extent possible.

Change is happening all the time. The only thing that doesn’t change is something that’s dead (and even that is changing in that it’s decaying… ).

So:  1) we want to effectively manage the change we are experiencing all the time and 2) just reading and listening to developmental materials is necessary, but insufficient for effective change.

We must apply new and effective strategies and practices in the service of authentic change and development.

Hey! Wait! What’s this “authentic” you just threw in there… !?

Glad you noticed; I’m big on authenticity and no conversation of sustainable change is complete with authenticity. Without authenticity, the energy required to create and sustain change will be absent.

Okay, back to this “other” way coaching works…

Coaching works because, quite simply, it is a mechanism for people to discover and apply authentic strategies for change. (Or at least the way I do coaching is a mechanism for ‘that.’)

As an application mechanism  coaching works in different ways, sometimes these different “ways” show up simultaneously, sometimes individually and sometimes in a particular sequence. These ways include:

  • creating an environment of conversation, curiosity, inquiry and support, that engenders change
  • the fact that the coach’s only agenda is the development and well-being of the client (in contrast to every other person in the client’s life that has some agenda, however well-meaning they may be… )
  • accountability borne of the new and different relationship between client and coach
  • the partnership that develops between the coach and client and the ensuing “power” that he client feels knowing they are not “going-it-alone” and that they have their own developmental partner
  • the willingness to speak freely and clearly, without fear of judgment or reproach because the coach is an un-biased “sounding-board”
  • accountability borne of the coaching fee (i.e. people decide to value change and invest in it, and at the very least, do not want to squander said investment)

Whatever exactly motivates the client to pursue authentic change, it happens, to some real extent, because that what coaching does. Or, more accurtaely, because that’s what people think coaching does. There’s a self-fulfilling prohecy created when something agrees to a coaching engagement.

It works because we believe it will. The same is true of friendship, marriage and many other more familiar social arrangements. Does coaching “fail” at times? Of course, but so do these other arrangements  sometimes. That possibility of “failure” doesn’t stop us for having friends or getting married (or entering into a long-term committed relationship… ).

Another way of saying this is a paraphrase of an old personal development saw: nothing works unless you do and a quote from Henry Ford, “if you think can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Coaching is just a highly effective way for people create clarity about who exactly they are, what they really want and get supported in the process of creating and achieving what they want – faster and easier.

Similar Posts