By Joan Caruso
It’s been more than a decade since coaching gained a toehold in the corporate environment, and it has continued to broaden its acceptance. I find it valuable to periodically take stock of emerging trends in the field and validate them against our own experience at The Ayers Group.
- Here are some of my observations:
- Coaching continues to become more of an executive perk. As I reported in the Fall 2004 issue of the Ayers Report (“The Perk That Pays Back”), this trend emerged at the beginning of the decade. Then coaching shifted back to a remedial focus during the economic downturn. Over the last two years, however, we’ve seen steadily less use of executive coaching for remedial situations and more of a focus on using it to develop and retain high-potential employees and high flyers.
- Companies are giving more attention than ever to the coach-coachee matching process. A 2004 survey* of executive learning methods by Executive Development Associates found “the match between leader and coach to be much more critical than expected.” Our clients are asking for more information about the criteria for creating the optimal match. We tell them it’s our responsibility to bring in-depth knowledge of our coaches to the table, but the more information the client can provide about a coaching candidate—learning and developmental style, coaching objectives, etc.—the better the match we’re able to create.
- Anger management has become one of fastest-growing disciplines in executive coaching. Undoubtedly fueled by a fast-paced business environment where change, complexity, pressure, and stress are on the increase, the number of requests we’re getting in this area is on the increase. I’m very cautious in dealing with these situations, going only to executive coaches with demonstrated expertise in this discipline. With demand for anger-management coaching outstripping the supply of trained providers, it’s important to vet providers very carefully. Anger management touches on a variety of issues—stress management, emotional intelligence, etc.—and crosses into the realm of psychology. You walk a fine line to avoid a situation where the coach slips into becoming a shrink, and that isn’t what executive coaching is about.
- As companies increasingly recognize the benefit of coaching, they are pushing it downward in the organization. More and more of our clients are now offering coaching to high-potentials at junior, as well as executive, levels.
* Koriath, John J., and Underhill, Brian O. 2006. “Top trends in executive coaching,” Choice, vol. 4 no. 1: 29-32.