The Executive Coaching Guide – Part 3

The Executive Coaching Guide P3

There is growing body of evidence as to the value of executive coaching as a performance improvement tool. This section provides a very brief overview of the research on reactions to coaching, changes in behaviour and return on investment.

Reactions to coaching

Research in this area explores how executives view the coaching experience. In summary, research findings include:

  •  86% of executives rated coaching as very effective and 95% would recommend coaching to other staff members; and
  • Executives saw the major benefits of coaching as being continuous one-on-one attention, expanded thinking through dialogue with a curious outsider, self-awareness, including blind spots, personal accountability for development, and just-in-time learning.

Behaviour change

Behaviour change measures the extent to which executives change their on-the-job behaviour after being coached. Recent findings include:

  • 92% of coaching participants improve their personal performance, leadership and management effectiveness;
  • Significant improvements in the areas of people management, peer relationships, goal setting, prioritisation, engagement, productivity and interpersonal communication;
  • Executive coaching makes a particularly valuable contribution at key career transition points and when leaders face new and/or complex challenges; and
  • A significant effect on the psychological variables affecting performance such as self-efficacy; and a positive contribution to leadership retention, stronger corporate working and better management of risk.


Research in this area refers to the effect of executive coaching on the achievement of organisational objectives. One area that has received a lot of attention is the return on investment (ROI) of executive coaching. Research findings on the utility of executive coaching include:

  • An average return of $7.90 for every $1 invested in executive coaching,
  • An average ROI of 5.7 times the initial investment, and
  • A 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits to the business.

One note of caution, however, is that while the ROI numbers above may appear impressive, they are based on case studies created by commercial consultancies. That is, they have not been subjected to the same level of rigour as articles appearing in peer reviewed academic journals.


  1. Parker-Wilkins, V. (2006). Business impact of executive coaching: Demonstrating monetary value. Industrial & Commercial Training, 38, 122-127.
  2. Turner, C. (2006), Ungagged: Executives on executive coaching, Ivey Business Journal.
  3. Chiumento, S. (2007) Coaching counts. London: Chiumento Research Report. Retrieved from
  4. Kombarakaran, F.A., Yang, J.A., Baker, M.N., Fernandes, P.B. (2008) Executive coaching: It works, Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and research, Vol 60, No 1, 78-90.
    Simpson, J. (2010) In What Ways Does Coaching Contribute to Effective Leadership Development?International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Special Issue No.4.
  5. MetrixGlobal LLC (2001): Executive Briefing: Case Study on the Return on Investment of Executive Coaching.
  6. Manchester Inc. (2001). The Impact Of Executive Coaching.
  7. MetrixGlobal LLC (2004): The Business Impact of Leadership Coaching at a Professional Services Firm.

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