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Internet Survey Results:

Non Traditional Coaching Learning Needs and Design Survey
Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D.

(For individual usage only, not to be used/reproduced in team building,
organizational publications or training programs without written permission)

During the last half of 2008, an on-line survey was offered to better understanding the needs for a more non traditional, distant based learning approach to developing one?s Coaching Skills.

Respondents and Need:

The 104 respondents fell into the following categories:

Individual Contributors






Of these respondents, a resounding 88% felt they would need additional training in how to be a better coach, 12% were uncertain and not a single respondent selected the answer ?no?. Heartening that coaching is seen as a critical skill set both for managers/leaders as well as individual contributors.

Seeing a need and committing to do something about it are two separate things. These respondents see a need for continued coaching training and are willing to invest:

1-4 hours


5-8 hours


9-12 hours


13-16 hours


> 16 hours


Two distinct groups stand out, Quick Hitters (1-4 hours) and Sustained Learners (>16 hours). Regardless of their investment in time what is even more interesting is the lack of concurrence for a preference on how this training should be delivered.


Respondents were asked to rate on a 1-5 scale (Extremely Undesirable to Extremely Useful) the multiple choices for how the training and support would be delivered. When one combines the number selecting, either 4 or 5 (Useful and Extremely Useful), self-paced, on-line, electronic is only slightly preferred over more the conventional classroom:

A self paced on-line distance learning workshop


A traditional classroom workshop


One would guess that the Quick Hitters (1-4 hours) would prefer the on-line distance learning and the Sustained Learners (>16 hours) would prefer the traditional classroom. However, the Sustained Learners only slightly prefer the traditional classroom more than the Quick Hitters but both are not significantly different in rating the self paced on-line distance learning workshop as the preferred method of participating in these learning activities. Surprising since this was an on-line survey and one would assume the respondents have an affinity for the internet, it appears both traditional and distance learning have a place in the delivery of coaching training.

To state the obvious, we have at least two different learning style groups. This is reinforced by the preference to:

Being able to learn as part of a group


Being able to learn alone on my own time schedule


Regardless of differences in learning styles, 90% of the respondents wanted to see various examples of coaching situations that illustrate how the skills can be used in the situations they are facing. Visualization of soft skills is a critical part of the group or individual learning process.

How about preferences for personal coaching on specific coaching challenges faced by the respondent during the course of training?

Being able to electronically correspond with a personal coach.


Being able to have a telephone conversation.


The days of high touch seem to be loosing ground to the popularity, speed and ease of contact by email. This is reinforced when we asked respondents to: jump forward and assume you have successfully participated in one or a series of learning modules developing your coaching skills, how useful would these follow-up services be for you?

Time to discuss personal coaching skills, challenges and other improvements I could pursue via:





In a chat room


A blog


Personal attention yes, but not as personal or maybe inconvenient and time consuming as a live discussion. Interesting to conjecture are blogs too general and lacking in a personal focus for the subject of coaching skills?

Who do you coach?

When asked to rate the usefulness of coaching modules that focused on how to be more effective when coaching different groups, respondents said:

Direct Reports


Someone who is not part of your department but has an impact on your work


A peer


My immediate supervisor/manager


The role of coach historically has been seen as downward and the responsibility of the manager/leader?coach to direct report.  These results suggest coaching is everyone?s responsibility and also goes both sideways and upward.  What a positive perspective.


Having written, studied and conducted Coaching Workshops for the last thirty years using a traditional classroom approach, we expected to see a dramatic shift toward more non traditional distance based approaches to emerge.  This survey, taken on the internet, does not support such a clear conclusion.  The data suggest that there is a place for both formats and a resound need for continued Coaching training.  What is clear is that examples and illustrations of the application of coaching skills are important in both formats and that the nature of follow up or reinforcement of the skills developed has changed.  E-mail versus the telephone seems to be the preferred method of contact with participants both during and after the initial training for focused help and personal coaching. Note E-mail has not replaced telephone contact so the versatile training should consider both as a choice for participants.


About the Author
Matt M. Starcevich, Ph.D. CEO, Center for Coaching & Mentoring has over thirty years experience in training and organization development, as an internal change agent and external consultant. For comments or additional information email Matt from the selection below.


Review other internet survey results

Contact Matt Starcevich, matt@coachingandmentoring
Copyright 2009, Center for Coaching and Mentoring