Why having a coach is important?

A coach provides the space and structure for reflection that is necessary for learning and growth. They help you understand what your values are and how your actions differ from your established values or goals. A good coach can help you reconnect with what you love about your life and work. To understand what they do to deserve that money, HBR surveyed 140 leading coaches and invited five experts to comment on the findings.

In addition to encouraging people to continue to progress in their profession, professional development counselors can also help people determine an appropriate positive direction to pursue their careers. While 70% of the coaches surveyed said they provide a qualitative assessment of progress, less than a third provide feedback in the form of quantitative data on behaviors, and less than a quarter provide any type of quantitative data on the business outcomes of hiring coaching. Since some executives will have mental health problems, companies should require coaches to have some training in mental health issues, for example, to know when to refer clients to professional therapists for help. Nearly half of the coaches surveyed in this study reported that they hire them primarily to work with executives, which has the positive side of coaching: developing talent with high potential and easing the transition to the position or promotion.

You might think that it's not so important that executives need advice for professional development because they've already reached the peak of their professional careers. If a coach can't tell you what methodology he uses, what he does, and what results you can expect, show him the door. Some coaches start with 360-degree feedback, for example, while others rely more on psychological feedback and in-depth interviews. Interestingly, most of the world's best athletes, regardless of the sport they play, have personal trainers who help them hone their skills.

However, training for professional development is not only designed for those who are beginning their professional career, but it is also aimed at those who have deepened their careers and those who work at the highest levels of companies. Managers should not underestimate the impact of coaching on their employees, as it often involves a fundamental change in the approach to their work. This raises important questions for companies that hire coaches, such as whether a non-psychologist coach can work ethically with an executive with an anxiety disorder. However, the survey results also suggest that the sector is plagued by conflicts of interest, blurred lines between what belongs to coaches and what should be left in the hands of mental health professionals, and incomplete mechanisms for monitoring the effectiveness of hiring a coach.

The research also revealed important information about what companies ask coaches to do and what they actually end up doing. Keep in mind that your coach may ask you to hire again for more than you expected or what you really need.