In the past four years the number of books on coaching available at Amazon has grown by 50% — from just under 30,000 to over 45,000. This reflects the growing understanding that effective coaching has a huge impact on individual, team, and organization performance.

But this also shows there’s an overwhelming assortment of coaching theories, models, and frameworks. What’s often missing is research on which coaching approaches can provide the most benefit in the shortest time.

Zenger Folkman’s research paper, Bringing Science to the Art of Coaching (click to download a free copy), helps to cut through the bewildering array of coaching clutter to answer five key questions:

  1. Does coaching really make a difference?
    When measured by 360 feedback, the highest levels of coaching effectiveness compared to very poor coaching has a six-fold impact on employee engagement, cuts turnover in half, and doubles the number of employees inspired to “put forth a great deal of effort every day.”
  2. How can we increase the effectiveness of each coaching session?
    Focusing the conversation on what the coachee wants from this discussion (short and impromptu or longer and scheduled) puts him or her in control, shows the coach respects his or her concerns, and makes this part of an ongoing coaching relationship. This two-way collaboration is reinforced when the coach asks for feedback at the end of the conversation on how useful the discussion and coaching was for the coachee.
  3. How can the process of coaching be made more consistent? A research-based framework with coaching skill development in its application has a major impact on coaching effectiveness:
    • Frame the Conversation
    • Understand the Current State
    • Explore the Desired State
    • Lay Out a Plan of Action
  4. What is the appropriate goal for coaching, and how much change can we expect?
    Research shows that having a personal development plan is one of the powerful steps a person can take to higher effectiveness. But only 10% of leaders do. A strong coach helps leaders build a personal development plan they’re highly committed to, monitor and make adjustments, and follow through.
  5. What is it about the coaches’ personality or behavior that makes the most positive impact?
    Highly effective coaches collaborate and “do with” rather than “do to” the coachee. Strong coaches draw ideas and insights from the coachee rather than teaching or guiding them toward the solution the coach has in mind. Extraordinary coaches rarely play “I am the boss” but maintains the coachee’s autonomy and ownership of the issue.

Before The CLEMMER Group became strategic partners with Zenger Folkman, I read and reviewed their book, The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow.  This is the best book on coaching I’ve ever read. It’s a unique combination of solid research, relevant and illustrative examples, with lots of practical how-to applications.

For the past five years I’ve been delivering The Extraordinary Coach in a wide variety of organizations. It’s a powerful and highly condensed one-day session that provides participants with a personal development plan focused on their own coaching challenges and opportunities.  Recently ZF revamped and further tightened the session with award-winning video examples and application tools. Occasionally we provide public or open sessions of this workshop.

Peter Drucker put his finger on the power of coaching when he wrote, “a leader has to be an energizer and motivator, someone who inspires and guides others, who energizes the system and generates the magic that makes everyone want to do something extra.”