Internet Survey Results:
Benefits of being a coach
(For individual usage only, not to be used in team building, organizational publications or training programs without written permission)
Why coach? The responses are often framed in the benefits received by either the recipient (improvement in individual performance), or the organization (fuller use of individuals talents/potential). Besides being an important part of a leaders role are there any benefits received from coaching others other than it is your responsibility?
During the summer of 2010 we posted an on-line survey which looked at the other side of the coin?what are the benefits of being a coach? Ninety-one individuals responded to our survey asking for a rating from 1 (least personal benefit) to 5 (most personal benefit) or 6 (not a factor) to twenty-four possible benefits of being a coach (see Appendix). They are coaches: the majorities (73%) of respondents were Leaders of an organization or team of employees, 9% were Executive Coaches, 7% were Sports Coaches and 10% selected the category or Other type of coach as a description of their role.
The act is fulfilling in itself
Forget about the impact on individual performance or the organization benefit, the top eight (1/3rd) benefits were all personal:
Coaching others leads to a sense of satisfaction, excitement, enjoyment, personal appreciation, accomplishment, rejuvenation, growth, and deeper relationships. Hello, the popular press paints a much gloomier picture of coaching as an activity that is avoided, dreaded, and distasteful. These results suggest that coaching is a highlight of the leader?s job, an activity which is relished and sought because it is personally rewarding. As one respondent said:
By trying to make a difference - one person at a time, has given me an immense sense of achievement and has added to my personal self worth.
I do it because I like it not because I have to
In support of coaching being a personally rewarding activity, the lowest rated benefit was, I coach because I am evaluated on how often and how well I coach others (3.22). This is given even greater weight when the number of respondents? who selected the choice ?Not a factor? is examined. Twenty-two respondents? select this choice for this statement. I don?t coach because of organization policy or the evaluation system and this is the lowest benefit for me to coach others?what?s in it for me?coaching is intrinsically satisfying. Interestingly only one other factor received double digit responses to ?Not a Factor? all the majority was in the low (2-3) range.
Note to Human Resources and Organizations: dwelling on what the leader has to do is not as important as focusing on the internal personal rewards of coaching others. Provide real life examples of personal benefits leaders and managers receive from coaching others versus policy and procedures.
What is least beneficial to the coach?
Sticking with the arbitrary 1/3rd criteria, the bottom eight benefits from our list of twenty-four for these respondents? were:
24. I coach because I am evaluated on how often and how well I coach others (3.22)
23. Coaching allows me to focus on someone else other than my situation and me (3.51)
22. Coaching allows me to keep in touch with the younger generation and future trends (3.51)
21. Coaching provides me the opportunity for feedback on my personal style (3.70)
20. Coaching provides me the opportunity for feedback on our priorities (3.72)
19. Coaching allows me to stay connect to others on a deeper personal level (3.74)
18. Through coaching I can serendipitously share in their accomplishments (3.74)
17. Coaching provides me the opportunity for feedback on our vision (3.78)
It should be noted that all the averages except one are in the 3.5 and above range indicating that these are relatively less important that the top eight rated benefits. However, they are still average benefits just not the most outstanding benefits.
Maybe some missed opportunities
When looking at the bottom eight benefits a question comes to mind, how are these coaches defining the role of a coach? We contend that to be a good coach you must be coachable, or open to being influenced by the person you are coaching. Three of the bottom eight deal with feedback to the coach on their personal style, our priorities, and our vision. This sounds more like a one way street rather than a forum for open discussion and exchange. Since we don?t have access to these respondents we can only speculate, however if they view coaching a something they do to another person and not a forum for discussion we would suggest they are missing a tremendous opportunity. We all have blind spots and coaching discussions are one vehicle to check on the validity of who we are, the priorities we have and our vision for where we are going. Also many coaching discussions are caused by a lack of understanding or clarity of the unit?s priorities and vision. Without an open dialogue the coaching may be operating in a vacuum.
Matt Starcevich, matt@coachingandmentoring