What to get coaching on? Here’s what managers are saying

December 9, 2021 - 4 min read

Employee getting virtual coaching

Coaching transforms lives. 

1 million completed coaching sessions has given us a firsthand view into the power coaching has to help individuals and organizations reach peak performance. People who receive coaching see quantifiable improvement across a variety of areas. Our members report a 90% reduction in stress, 149% increase in resilience, 181% improvement in focus, and 130% increase in job performance. 

And the attitudes, behaviors, skills, and mindsets people learn through coaching have far-reaching effects that go well beyond the workplace. 

76% of our members describe their sessions as either “amazing” or “life-changing.” Coaching helps people along the path to self-actualization, the full realization of our talents and potential. It’s a life-long pursuit that helps us find meaning in our lives, build more positive relationships, and live with greater clarity, purpose, and passion.

With so many possibilities of things to work on with a coach, it can be difficult to know just where to start. To find out, we took a look at our manager feedback data to get a sense of where they see the most opportunities for growth and coaching for their direct reports.


What the data say

While strategic thinking ranked high as an important growth area, people management skills like motivating and guiding others were significantly higher relative to other areas like executing, adapting, and innovating.

What this means

So why are motivating and guiding others top of mind for managers when it comes to coaching topics for their direct reports?

One reason is the growing importance of successful collaboration in modern work. Our world is growing increasingly complex and our individual knowledge bases are growing more and more specialized. 

In 1980, economist Milton Friedman illustrated this in his memorable parable of the manufacturing of a pencil that aired on CBS. “There’s not a single person in the world who could make this pencil,” he explains in the oft-quoted clip. If a pencil requires that much collaboration, how much more so does the development of a blockchain, a self-driving vehicle, or reusable spacecraft?

Teams are also growing increasingly distributed — spread across time zones, countries, and even languages. In addition to scores of benefits, remote and hybrid work bring with them an entirely new set of challenges

Communication becomes more difficult when it must be done digitally and asynchronously. When teams never meet face to face, trust and relationship building become more challenging. Understanding how to lead and motivate people across distances and these different working modalities is critical to generating a successful outcome.
Fortunately, coaching works.

Over the course of more than 1 million sessions, we have good evidence of what works, but also that we build skills in a certain order. Getting to the higher-level skills can take some time. A BetterUp coach can help you make quantifiable improvements in these critical people skills so you can motivate and guide others more effectively. 


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Published December 9, 2021

Erin Eatough, PhD

Sr. Insights Manager

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