Millions Spent on Coaching Without a Business Purpose

While multi-millions of pounds are spent on coaching across the UK, nearly one in seven organisations (15%) admit they have absolutely no measurements in place to assess the impact of their programmes.

Human Resources publishes LeaderShape articleWorking with us at LeaderShape, a new survey from the leading recruiting expert, Hays Senior Finance, and reported in HR Magazine, shows that coaching is often undertaken without evaluating the return on investment. The survey also reports that two thirds of businesses (68%) fail to use coaching directly to address corporate objectives and they confess that outcomes are often simply referenced at a personal level.

Our own Chris Gulliver comments: “This is a very expensive missed opportunity for UK Plc in fast-moving times. Increasing amounts of money are being spent on coaching as a universal panacea but many companies have no comprehensive overview or sense of purpose.

“There is a clear lack of framework and training given to those who are delivering many of these programmes with the obvious outcome that they simply don’t understand how to use coaching effectively and spend money wisely. In what other area of business would money be laid out with so little thought to evaluating its impact?”

LeaderShape has developed a unique qualification – The Post Graduate Certificate in Coach-Mentoring and Facilitation in Organisations – accredited by the University of Chester to enable employees to develop and maintain best practice in the workplace. This enables superior delivery of important staff development needs, while at the same time providing a recognised academic award.

Hays Senior Finance ProfessionalsAccording to the survey from the leading recruiting expert, Hays Senior Finance, working with expert coach/mentors LeaderShape, the majority of coach-mentoring programmes are for individuals, with nearly three quarters (72%) deployed to develop individual talents or address personal worries.

Chris McCarthy, Director at Hays Senior Finance, says:  “In far too many cases companies are leaving it to individuals to set the framework for their own coaching or mentoring – with little or no reference to business needs. They then fail to check the standards of their programmes and show little concern for the outcomes. Support can be extremely effective when a professional starts a new role, but it is essential it is carried out in the right manner by people who understand the specific needs of these individuals.”

The survey showed that if a senior finance professional leaves within three months of starting a new role not only is there a financial cost, but it dampens staff morale and the vast majority of respondents (96%) agreed that these appointments would benefit from confidential support during this period.

More than half of UK companies responding to the questionnaire said they wish to expand their business coaching provision. And budgets for coaching continue to rise, with 85% of companies reporting that their business spend will hold firm or grow next year; 37% of survey respondents expect a small increase this year and 2% expect significant budget uplift.

But one major concern revealed by the Hays Senior Finance/LeaderShape survey is the lack of ongoing professional development for providers.  Internal coach-mentors are the preferred choice by those who use coaching, with 73% of companies using in-house support. However, 16% of coaches and 28% of mentors do not receive any training or support themselves, while companies describe nearly one in three (29%) team or group facilitators as untrained.

Chris Gulliver, LeaderShape facultyChris Gulliver of LeaderShape adds: “Coaching is not regularly applied where it can often be most effective – within the leadership teams.  And it is clear that many services are being given to staff, often in difficult situations, by people who are themselves untrained and unsupported.  We believe it is essential to upskill internal providers by training them in a range of coach mentoring and facilitation options. It is equally important to track observed outcomes against business objectives. Otherwise businesses could waste time and money and miss the opportunity to boost success.”

PGC coach mentoring and facilitation in organisationsLeaderShape has developed a unique qualification – The Post Graduate Certificate in Coach-Mentoring and Facilitation in Organisations – accredited by the University of Chester to enable employees to develop and maintain best practice in the workplace. This enables superior delivery of important staff development needs, while at the same time providing a recognised academic award. For more information call  0870 990 5576.

1 Response to “Millions Spent on Coaching Without a Business Purpose”

  1. 1 JOHN A GELMINI 14/09/2010 at 3:13 pm

    Dear Mr Gulliver,
    I cannot disagree with anything you say about the use of coaching but I think that it,s use masks a series of much bigger problems.
    To begin with the selection methods for directors and employees are deficient in that 97% of UK managing directors are men yet women who outsstrip boys academically constitute 62% of the workforce.
    When I first joined the Institute of Directors in 1989 just 3% of the members were woman.
    Looking at the CBI and the annual reports of the Times 1000 the ratios are almost identical.
    Looking at the backgrounds of these men one can see that they either went to a blue brick university (Times 1000) or to a red brick ,preceded by a grammar school(mid caps).
    Their clothing down to their shoes and socks come from similar tailors or department stores(study some annual reports),only 5% of them have international experience (eg :actually have experience of living and working overseas or managing diverse employees in a non UK environment)and less than 20% of them have received formal management training .
    In 1994 at the time of the Heseltine “Competitiveness White Paper” this last figure was 9%.
    If we look at our top civil servants,judges and politicians the same story applies”jolly good chaps ” are appointed rather than people who can get the job done.
    The world of sport is another with perhaps the worst example being the blue blazer brigade who run tennis and regularly select people like Tim Henman- a loser without the true will to win of a curmudgeon like Andy Murray and then wonder why the UK hasn,t won the mens singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry won it in 1958.
    The police,an organisation which is ripe for reform draws it,s Chief Constables almost entirely from the ranks of middle class white men who are freemasons with the only exception being the occasional female Chief Constable like the recently retired Julie Spence in Cambridge.
    The judiciary are even worse,packed full of white middle class people who have little understanding of the lives of ordinary people in socio economic groups C1,S,C2,S,D,S AND E,s .
    These are people who collectively have to live with the consequences of legal judgements made by people totally divorced in most cases from the day to day realities of ordinary living.
    The UK,s workers are not competitive by international standards because the education system has been dumbed down to the point where it is now 47th in the world overall and 15th in terms of producing job ready graduates.
    The UK,s overall economic performance bears out the truth of what I am saying:
    ..1.4% ECONOMIC GROWTH SINCE 1946- You need 3% or better to produce full employment.
    ..15th in the world rankings for productivity and getting worse.
    ..60% workforce utilisation out of 220 working days in 2010,just 110 days in 2008 and 88 days in 2005.(Source :
    The Management Consulting Group PLC)
    Certainly coaching properly applied and measured will help bring some of these underperforming people up to some semblance of “speed” but it is no panacaea for the problem of selecting by nepotism,cronyism and “band of brothers” room- mate -ism which masquerades as meritocracy.
    In my own role as Marketing and Strategy Director for OS International PLC a company based in India and the Seychelles dealing in offshored BPO services,web development and strategic transformational consultancy,I see the potential for what needs to be done and realise it through a combination of Lean,Hoshin Planning,Value Stream Mapping and smartsizing coupled with offshoring of non core activities.
    Only when waste has been eliminated and technology has been brought to bear to speed up what is left do we then move on to look at the training of those people who are left and assessed to be economically viable and deserving of training,mentoring,coaching and guidance.
    People with international experience ,an understanding of other cultures,especially the ones who are our new competitors,an understanding of business based on proper training /experience and the ability to lead by example are the ones who should be running things and until they are the UK will slide downwards into obscurity and economic irrelevance.

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