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There are lots of products and services out there that claim to change your life — coaching might be the one thing that actually delivers on this promise.
A friend of mine was ready to quit her job. Two months after coming back from maternity leave, she was stressed and unhappy. She had lost confidence in herself.
Luckily — for her and her team — she got a coach instead. Her coach helped her learn to cut herself some slack and focus on what was most important. Within a couple of months, she was back to her competent, collaborative self. Instead of becoming a bad retention statistic, she was setting career development goals for her future.
At BetterUp®, I get to hear stories about how coaches have helped people transform in big ways and small ones all the time.
Coaching is shown to have a powerful, positive impact on self-confidence, wellness, and work performance. When a manager receives professional coaching, their team members also benefit from the mentoring, leadership development, and coaching culture the manager brings back into the organization.
The benefits of coaching
Coaching is a highly personalized and individualized well-being intervention. In the last million coaching sessions with BetterUp members, we’ve learned quite a lot about how to reliably deliver positive coaching outcomes for all kinds of people.
A relationship with a coach is unlike any other personal or professional relationship. A coach, through their training and expertise, sees the coachee holistically and encourages the coachee to bring their whole self to the coaching sessions.
A BetterUp® coach helps the individual build self-awareness around the various roles they play and dimensions in their lives through the Whole Person™ model. It’s a powerful intervention because the coaching process adapts to individual circumstances, meeting people where they are, with what they need, when they need it.
While coaching sessions are facilitated by a trained professional, they put the control squarely in the hands of the member. Good, expert coaching is designed to empower the individual to find their own answers within themselves. In the coaching partnership, it’s the coachee, not the coach, who sets the goals, defines the playbook, and determines what success looks like.
The coach provides committed expertise, bringing insight, perspective, and a growth mindset to the coaching relationship.
Up until recently, coaching was anecdotally sound but had yet to be empirically validated. BetterUp is changing that. The science behind coaching for mental well-being improvement is building to answer foundational questions about impact and ROI.
Data is also helping coaches home in on the interventions and exercises that are most effective for different people facing specific challenges.
With this information, growth is predictable — it follows patterns in terms of which areas grow first and fastest and which require more time. Understanding the uniquely human pattern of coaching, growth, and development helps people and organizations know how long to commit, what progress looks like, and when to expect results.
7 personal coaching benefits
Expert executive coaching can have profound impact on individuals in their personal and professional lives. The benefits can be immediate but continue to pay dividends over the years, from role to role, over the course of a career and a lifetime. Not many corporate benefits or training programs can make that claim.
One crucial way coaching helps individuals is by helping them to see themselves more clearly. A coach provides space and structure for the reflection that is necessary for learning and growth. They help you understand what your values are and where your actions diverge from your values or stated goals.
A good coach can help you reconnect with what you love about your life and your work.
Contrary to the classical understanding that pressure is necessary for peak performance, we now know that high pressure actually makes individuals less efficient. Mental fitness, on the other hand, is associated with an increase in productivity, collaboration, innovation, and job satisfaction.
BetterUp’s research has found that people tend to build the skills of mental fitness in a certain order. Building these core skills sets the foundation for deeper, more nuanced competencies. Here’s a look at some key areas of growth for individual coaching:
In a recent study, BetterUp’s research indicated that the first significant area of development for most participants is introspection. This is a foundational skill for both personal and professional development. Once this is in place, members can work to build deeper insight into what they want and future areas of growth.
With feedback and improved self-awareness, people develop improved stress tolerance. When leaders become more resilient, they’re better able to adapt to changing or unfavorable circumstances successfully. In turn, this decreases the likelihood of burnout and improves overall life (and job) satisfaction.
There’s something special about working on a team where everyone is committed to personal development. People are better able to understand the motivations and underlying commitments of everyone in the group. They benefit from reduced conflict and improved confidence in decision-making. Individuals are better at time management and contribute more effectively to the team.
The main components of self-efficacy are learning through another’s experiences and being affirmed by people you trust. These factors are key building blocks in the coaching relationship. Creating strategies to achieve goals and celebrating those successes with a coach is a prime way to build confidence in oneself.
All types of coaching have a beneficial effect on communication skills. Developing effective communication skills can help individuals in all aspects of their lives — both in and out of the workplace. This has its own positive impact on stress — which is certainly exacerbated by poor communication.
6. Work-life balance
With coaching, people take time to set their own priorities and work to make them a greater part of their lives. That empowers them to maintain a better work-life balance. These individuals tend to gain more job and life satisfaction. This can be attributed to both improved self-care and greater alignment with their goals.
7. Increased mental health
Within the first three months with a coach, BetterUp Members see a 38% decrease in languishing. Among other dimensions of mental health, life satisfaction, purpose, and social connection improve. These, along with emotional regulation, reliably improve mental health for coaching participants.
5 benefits of coaching in organizations
There’s something to be said for taking care of the goose that lays the golden egg. That's why some companies narrow executive coaching to just a limited set of high potentials. But employees all across the organization can benefit from supportive coaching whether they are taking on a new role, developing direct reports, or informally influencing their teams.
When your employees are happy, feel supported and competent, and have a sense of belonging, there are human benefits and bottom-line benefits as well. Productivity and performance go up. When they find meaning in their work and feel a sense of purpose, belonging, satisfaction, and intent-to-stay all improve.
When coaching is implemented on an organizational level, the benefits are truly profound. Organizational coaching works with the teams that form an organization. But even when the access to coaching is on a one-to-one basis, the entire team improves in key areas.
1. Empowers individuals
Coaching validates, supports, and empowers the individuals within an organization. It gives them a neutral party to tackle concerns about professional development with, as well as a safe space to practice having difficult conversations.
2. Increases employee engagement
When employees feel like they have to hide part of their life or identity in the workplace, it has a strong negative impact on both belonging and engagement. However, when people are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, they’re more likely to be engaged, productive, and satisfied with their jobs.
3. Improves individual performance
Even the most dedicated managers don’t have unlimited time to spend coaching their employees. Most end up taking time out only to address aspects of exceptionally good — or exceptionally poor — performance. Coaching provides an additional, growth-focused touchpoint for employees throughout the week. This, in turn, improves both individual and team performance.
4. Deeper level of learning
There’s a reason your corporate training is putting your employees to sleep. People learn better — and retain more information — when they’re personally invested in the learning process. Working with a coach appeals to a wide range of learning styles. Furthermore, connecting the new skills to current goals and real-life applications makes it easier to apply the new learnings.
5. High employee commitment
When companies show genuine commitment to their employees’ well-being, employees tend to respond in kind. Working with a coach improves retention, job satisfaction, engagement, and motivation.
It would be nice if there was an overnight fix to personal and professional growth. Coaching isn’t a secret fix. It’s a scientific one. Working with a coach is an incredible and powerful tool that helps create a more productive and engaging work environment. Life coaching can help you in your personal development goals. The benefits of coaching are profound both personally and professionally, for both individuals and teams.
BetterUp Staff Writer