Leadership and business coaching has steadily gained in popularity ever since it was developed from the 1940s, but in the last decade or so businesses in Ireland and elsewhere have turned it into a rapidly expanding sector. It's hard to know exactly what started this widespread adoption, but several writers have pointed to the 2008 financial crisis as a likely driver.
Back in 2008 The Irish Times reported that turnover of top executives was estimated close to 25%. With recruitment costs on those senior positions running at up to 50% of the salary in addition to incentives, relocation costs and internal disruption, this was a significant cost problem in a financial crisis; how could businesses better retain their executives?
Executive leadership coaching began to be explored as a solution; this was a way to help a new executive and a company connect and understand each other as quickly and easily as possible. It could also be used as an additional option in the recruitment process, with emotional intelligence reports an ideal tool to help identify if someone would really fit the role long before offering them the position.
Understanding senior roles, and how leadership coaching supports them
In 2008, many companies in Ireland were caught in a traditional mindset spending large amounts of money hiring, and almost nothing helping someone settle into their role.
Senior executives moving into a new position face unique and demanding challenges; there may be a big problem to fix, there will certainly be high expectations, new working practices, sometimes an entirely new industry to understand. These are steep enough learning curves to challenge anyone's self confidence, at a time when they're very much trying to impress everyone.
With all of that going on in your head, it's easy to make mistakes and fail to connect with the people around you; but that makes it a perfect problem to approach with great leadership coaching rooted in emotional intelligence.
Whatever the business or working practices, people and their emotions are always the same, whether it's the self confidence of the new executive, or the dynamics in the established team they will lead. Support from a leadership coach can help executives rapidly connect with the people around them, providing far more support on that steep learning curve, whilst Emotional Capital Reports and 360 degree feedback programs help leaders chart their own progress and see where they need to focus their time.
But do business coaching and leadership training really work?
There's no doubt companies are buying into business leadership coaching, The Irish Times reported just before coronavirus that around 80% of companies in Ireland were using business coaches in some way, and between 75-95% of the participants were positive about the process.
Significant amounts of research have tried to quantify the effects of leadership coaching, summarised in studies such as Executive Coaching: A Critical Review by David Peterson of Google, which finds clear patterns emerge measuring significant improvements in many areas. Appearing time and again in studies, self-efficacy, openness to new behaviours, developmental planning, goal setting and prioritisation, productivity, communications, teamwork, people management, individual performance and, crucially for retaining those senior corporate leaders, job satisfaction, all improve with executive coaching.
Peterson's review also lists four separate studies valuing the ROI of business and leadership coaching between 500-700%, and whilst he points out that all of this is very difficult to measure, study after study using a variety of metrics keeps getting the same consistent results.
Across a huge range of companies and organisations in ireland, business coaching for executives, directors and senior managers really works, helping improve the individual, and returning on investment superbly for the companies they work for. And if you want to learn more about how a bespoke package of leadership coaching could help you or your company, contact us at any time at Legacy Coaching in Northern Ireland.