Hard economic times have challenged individuals and companies like never before to try fresh, innovative approaches to finding or securing jobs and the future of their businesses. Results of the new International Coach Federation (ICF) Global Consumer Awareness Study imply professional coaching can be that innovative tool to help many companies and individuals recover from the recent global recession.
ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching is a distinct service and differs greatly from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training. Individuals who engage in a coaching relationship can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.
According to the recent study, professional coaching is being used to help people around the world improve work performance, expand career opportunities and increase self-esteem. In fact, the study found that more than half of participants -- 51% -- are at least aware of the still young and growing coaching profession. Of the 48% of respondents who were unaware of coaching, one-third indicated they would consider participating in a coaching relationship in the future.
Reasons to engage in coaching are many. More than two-fifths (42.6%) of respondents who had experienced coaching chose "optimize individual and/or team performance" as their motivation for being coached. This reason ranked highest followed by "expand professional career opportunities" at 38.8% and "improve business management strategies" at 36.1%. Other more personal motivations like "increase self-esteem/self-confidence" and "manage work/life balance" rated fourth and fifth to round out the top five motivation areas.
In previous research the ICF found that coaching is also generating a very good return on investment -- a median return of seven times the initial investment for businesses -- while being used for some of the same motivations mentioned in the latest study.
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