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Our commitment to human transformation through coach quality

April 27, 2022 - 5 min read


BetterUp was founded on the belief that coaching should be accessible to people everywhere, and it should be built on evidence-based practices that lead to real, positive impact. 

When Eddie and I founded the company more than eight years ago, coaching was relegated to the confines of the C-suite. It was predominantly seen as a tool to retain and motivate a small and exclusive group of high performers – or a last resort for corrective action. 

And for coaches, in-person sessions were the only real option. This, coupled with the high barriers to entry for becoming a coach, prevented many people from building a thriving and fulfilling career in the field.

At the same time, researchers were advancing the science of human development, and people were connecting in new ways through technology. We recognized the opportunity was not only about access or convenience. We could build tools that would help identify the type of support needed for the individual — their unique context, situation, and existing mindsets. We could identify the people who could see the most benefit from a specific coaching experience. And we could deliver the right support in the right way and at the right time.

This type of precise intervention for the very complex reality of humans requires measurement, data, and a scalable, evidence-based approach that fuels learning, so we can continually refine our product and drive growth for our members, coaches, and partners. In fact, one of the first things we did in building BetterUp — before our mobile app, before we had any employees, and before we really had any members — was to develop capabilities to measure the impact on people’s lives. 

Continuing to innovate in how we create high-quality coaching experiences and measurable human transformation at scale drives us forward.

Our members want and expect to grow, change, and unlock their potential as a result of coaching. It is our promise to them and to the organizations we partner with, and it is the promise our coaches make. We combine humanism, science, and technology to scale solutions that transform our members. This human transformation is what will ultimately drive change within relationships, communities, and workplaces.

But to align ourselves with this bigger goal, we realized that we have to start by aligning BetterUp’s ecosystem toward one shared goal. From digital learning products to training programs to coaching and incentives for coaches, everything must tie to member impact. If we orient toward member impact, we change lives. When we change lives, we open up the capacity to coach and impact more people. 

BetterUp is pioneering a new model for coaches where they have the data to understand their impact and how to improve as coaches to achieve higher-quality outcomes with members. Coaching is a rewarding but demanding profession that attracts incredibly courageous, compassionate, and curious individuals. But more could be done to help coaches understand their own growth and effectiveness. 

To work toward this, BetterUp has introduced a new growth and compensation model for our coaches that better aligns coach pay to member impact. Our goal is to enable every single coach at BetterUp to understand what high-quality coaching looks like and how to achieve this. We value credentials, and they will continue to be an important component of coach compensation. But in an evolving industry and with our more than 1.5 million coaching sessions, there’s a tremendous opportunity to drive greater coach development and member impact with data-backed criteria that can be used to reward high-performing coaches. 

As a category-creating company, we make bold moves, but we moved too quickly when we announced this new model last week. We heard from coaches — through town halls, forums, and individual conversations. Our coaches raised important and valuable questions. They challenged us and made us ask ourselves tough questions. So we’ve quickly and thoughtfully adjusted. Today, we communicated an updated plan and timeline based on the feedback. This included increasing session rates for coaches, so we could better reward the time spent in one-to-one conversations that lead to human transformation. 

We’ve always paid at the top of the market, and we’re proud to say we made another great stride forward in doing that today.

This is a multi-year journey, and we are treating the next year as a learning period. During that time, we’ll be working closely with our coaches, leading researchers, members, and customers to continue to improve and refine our model.

BetterUp is paving the way for a model that does not currently exist in the coaching industry, but it represents a powerful opportunity for coaching to become a more evidence-based practice that anyone can believe in and benefit from. 

We’ve worked not just to make coaching more accessible, but fundamentally more effective. Our commitment is to make sure every single coach feels they are a more impactful coach because of the data, support, and development opportunities at BetterUp. Another step toward achieving our mission of helping millions of people live with more clarity, purpose, and passion is improving the quality of the coaching experience – making it more measurable, impactful, and ultimately, transformational. 

This post was originally published on April 26, 2022.

Published April 27, 2022

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