University of Worcester research explores the use of workplace coaching

Controversial new research has found that using internal colleagues to deliver workplace coaching is more effective than employing costly external agencies.

Workplace coaching has become a new craze among management roles in the world of work, with estimates suggesting that over $2 billion is spent on coaching every year.

Despite this huge spend, until now there has been very little research to examine whether coaching has any tangible impact on the performance of staff.

Rebecca Jones, Senior Lecturer in HRM/ Management at the University of Worcester, provides the first confirmation that coaching does impact positively on learning and performance outcomes in the workplace. But that coaching is best delivered by a coach from within the company rather than employing an external specialist.

“Surprisingly, the research found that coaching is more effective when provided by internal coaches. This could be because those coaches are more familiar with the company and its procedures,” she said. “The research also suggests that coaching is equally effective when it is conducted either face-to-face, or face-to-face combined with some form of e-coaching, which is good news for organisations wishing to provide coaching as cost efficiently as possible.”

According to the International Coach Federation, over the last 30 years, coaching has risen to an industry of over 47,500 coaches worldwide with an annual spend of over $2 billion. The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) has also stated that just over eight out of ten respondents in their 2010 Learning and Development survey reported that they use coaching in their organisations.

Mrs Jones’ research also showed that combining coaching with feedback from others, such as 360 degree feedback, was less effective than when coaching was provided on its own.

“When we get third party feedback about our performance this can lead us to focus more on any negatives that are raised, rather than taking the positives, so we found this method of coaching to be less effective,” she said.

The research integrated existing studies on coaching with wider literature on employee learning, training and development at work.

To read the full research visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joop.12119/abstract

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visit the University of Worcester’s wesbite