Coaching has long been seen as a luxury for the few – the top leaders.
However, coaching is becoming more mainstream – at least partly due to the proliferation of online coaching through tools like CoachHub, BetterUp and Torch – more and more low and mid-level managers are benefitting from these programs.
This begs the question, while coaching may be positive for the managers and leaders who participate, does it actually benefit the wider organization? Are there trickle down impacts to employees?
Torch surveyed 85 US employees from the 2,500 employers in its network, and identified the coaching ripple effect – Torch defines this as “the positive change from coaching that extends beyond the individual being coached to their team and the broader organization”.
94% of respondents said they saw a positive impact of coaching on their manager – the main improvement was around communication; they were particularly more open to feedback, asked more questions, were more empathetic, and a better advocate for their team.
But it wasn’t just managers that were changed by coaching – it had a direct positive impact on their direct reports too (91%), primarily around new skills, shifting mindsets and a better workplace experience.
Nine in ten said they developed new skills because of their manager being coached, and they had a better growth mindset – 67% said they were more likely to see out opportunities to develop new skills, and 61% more likely to see failures as opportunities for growth.
Two in three also saw an increase in self-efficacy and confidence in their own ability, while 79% reported an increase in their workplace experience and 63% felt more recognized and valued at work.
Talking exclusively to UNLEASH about these findings, Torch’s principal behavioral scientist and lead on this piece of research Mandy Varley shares: “Since I’m a coach who has also studied the science of coaching, the results didn’t surprise me exactly.
“But I was encouraged to see how coached leaders didn’t just change the psychological experience of their direct reports – they also had a tangible impact on their direct reports’ skill development.
“It underscores a key finding of our research: that coaching individuals doesn’t just transform them, it also transforms their teams – and their organizations, too.”
The ROI from coaching
This coaching ripple effect finding empowers HR teams to continue to make the case for coaching as a worthwhile learning and development investment – but, importantly, they don’t have to find the budget to fund coaching for the entire organization.
“The ripple effect shows us that starting coaching even with a smaller group of individuals can still have a big impact on an organization. The idea that a program needs to touch every single person to scale and drive ROI is a myth,” adds Varley.
Torch’s data found that it wasn’t just that “workers see and feel the impact of their manager being coached”, but the ripple effect also “influences key business metrics like retention, performance, and promotions”.
This is particularly important as it is well documented that managers are a major factor in decisions to stay at or leave a job.
When workers are having a better experience at work, “those workers are then more likely to stay at their jobs, boost their performance, and increase the chances that they’ll be promoted”, stated the report.
Varley continues: “For organizations that want to see people not just learn about leadership, but to actually apply those learnings to their work and life, research points to coaching as the best solution.
“With finite resources, why would you invest in a solution that doesn’t drive the outcomes your organization is looking for?”
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