Reports On Huge ROI’s For Executive Coaching

In case you missed Matt Symonds recent article on’s about executive coaching,  he reported that corporate America is spending more than $1 billion annually on executive coaching.  This growth in coaching is due to a heightened focus on developing high potential leaders (rather than a remedial effort to help derailing employees), and the leaders themselves say it is working.  According to Symonds, a recent global survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association Resource Centre found that the mean Return on Investment in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, and over a quarter of coaching clients reported a stunning ROI of 10 to 49 times the cost.  (The International Coach Federation’s announcement of the survey is here.    According to ICF, individual executive coaching clients, as distinct from corporate clients where the coach is retained by the corporation on behalf of the executive, also reported a strong ROI on their coaching investment, with a median of 3.44).

Symonds provides a brief overview of how some of the world’s top business schools are starting to include “the intense, one-to-one techniques” involved in coaching in their MBA programs, suggesting that academia has recognized the real-world legitimacy of executive coaching, and is looking to get on board.  Symonds also hints that academic theory (or emotional intelligence, for its own sake) is a poor substitute for practical, pragmatic coaching focused on improved results.  I agree.

Effective executive coaches make no assumptions about what the client needs to function successfully.  Instead, they work from the executive’s agenda to help the client accelerate the development of the insight needed to deliver the desired change, whether that’s enhanced communication, time management, building high performance teams, or some other area of focus.  Self-reliance, and not dependency, is the goal.  What other investments in professional development do you know of that provide an average client-reported ROI of somewhere between 340 to 700%?  The reasons for such high returns are clear:  leadership matters.  A lot.

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