Does coaching really pay off?

Corinna Ruhl

Does coaching really pay off? Is it just a management fad? What is the return on investment?

A 2011 article by Matt Symonds for Forbes explores the impact of coaching on business goals and cites a recent global survey of coaching clients. The survey concluded that “the mean ROI for companies investing in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, with over a quarter reporting an ROI of 10 to 49 times.” Clearly the impact of coaching is huge. What accounts for such strong outcomes? Symonds writes that “leaders cast a long shadow.” Investing in the development of high performing leaders improves “levels of enthusiasm, trust, and team effectiveness throughout a team or organization.”

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google and CEO from 2001 to 2011, was interviewed by Fortune Magazine in 2009 for a series called “The Best Advice I Ever Got.” The best advice he ever received? You need a coach.


A paper produced by Zenger Folkman asks the question, “Does coaching really make a difference?” Their research showed a measurable positive impact on employee commitment and engagement.

  • The greater a leader’s coaching effectiveness, the higher the levels of employee commitment and engagement.
  • Effective coaching more than doubles the likelihood that people won’t even consider leaving the organization.
  • Effective coaching is correlated with employees who
    • feel valued
    • are willing to “go the extra mile”
    • perceive that their supervisor is doing a good job
    • report that the organization is a good place to work.

Authors Zenger and Stinnett hope that the hard data confirming the impact of coaching convinces every leader that far from being a simple management fad, coaching is a practice with serious business consequences.

Employees want a lot more coaching than they receive, and Zenger and Stinnett report that the business world is responding to this in 2 ways:

  1. Using external coaches
  2. Training managers to be better coaches

Coaching at The Performance Group

Are you interested in external coaching for yourself or your employees? Read about our coaching philosophy and our coaches Denise Burrell and Kris Cramer.

Are you interested in training leaders in your organization to be better coaches? Read about our Coaching Conversations workshop. This workshop focuses on coaching that empowers people, allowing them to take responsibility for their own performance and supports them for continued improvements.


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