Executive Coaching – Info 2017 The Purpose of Coaching (1 of 4)


The Purpose of Coaching (1 of 4)


Since 2005, the research team at Sherpa Coaching has compiled an annual survey on executive coaching. This blog edition is also available in the Expert Series of Choice Magazine.

Choice logoAlmost every HR and business leader (over 90%) sees high value in coaching. The credibility of coaching has risen consistently, and to such high levels that there is little room for improvement. Executive coaching is firmly established as an important part of any human resources, training or organizational development department.

Let’s look more closely. What is it, specifically, that clients want when they hire a coach? What do clients want us to do?

There are three main reasons coaches are hired: 1) to help clients solve specific behavioral problems, 2) to develop ‘up and coming’ leaders, and 3) to assist in job transition.

In the first Executive Coaching Survey, published in 2006, behavioral problems were a bigger part of the rationale for executive coaching. Now, the emphasis has clearly shifted to leadership development.

The trend toward leadership development emerged in 2009 and the figures moved consistently in that direction. Two years ago, we concluded “this trend won’t be reversed.” In 2016, for the first time ever, ‘a specific problem or challenge’ became the least likely reason to hire an executive coach. This year’s data confirms the change in rankings.

T0103Chartoday, overwhelmingly, business leaders see leadership development as the key purpose of coaching. Hiring coaches to address specific problems has decreased dramatically in favor of proactive leadership development. Having a coach is now the mark of an up and coming leader.



The annual Executive Coaching Survey is published by Sherpa Coaching in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Managing Partner Karl Corbett leads the research team. Karl is also the university relations liaison for the Sherpa Coaching Certification at the University of Georgia, University of New Mexico and Howard University in Washington, DC. He can be reached at (513) 232.0002 or kc@sherpacoaching.com.


Look for part 2 of 4 of this blog next Monday.

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