You’re nobody these days if you aren’t being coached. But does it work? And if it does, what’s happening? Frankly I’ve always thought that development coaching was just a way of helping people to sharpen up their act, often in the area of soft skills, and that most just want someone to help facilitate their progress and act as a sounding board – or to be a ‘thought partner’ as it’s sometimes called. And that was more or less it. As for the measurable stuff, or trying to gauge return on investment, well, that’s next to impossible to establish. Or is it? I’ve just been looking at an article on the impact of coaching in the workplace that seems to hint at genuine gains in self-efficacy. Self what? For those of you of a psychological persuasion you may remember that self-efficacy sits at the heart of Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory. Which, to reduce it to its nuts and bolts, posits that those with high self-efficacy believe that they can perform well and so are more likely to view difficult tasks as do-able, rather than something to be avoided. Thus coaching appears to increase the ‘yes I can’ factor in a demonstrable way. No doubt with self-esteem following on behind. And if this still sounds a bit woolly remember that just over a year ago ‘yes we can’ featured in a speech by an aspiring politician. Let me think, what was his name? What did he end up doing?
Interested? Read Elouise Leonard-Cross’s article, Development coaching: Business benefit – fact or fad? in the March (2010) issue of International Coaching Psychology Review.