Does business coaching really work?

The range of organisations offering business and executive coaching has swamped our local environment over the last few years. Is this a fad? Should your firm use it?

Coaching is not a new activity. It has been part of human activity for thousands of years. Indeed for as long as people have wanted to achieve goals.

Sometimes the terms coaching and mentoring are used interchangeably. This is incorrect. There are distinct differences between the two. Granted they may overlap, but the outcomes are different.


Mentors educate. They use their experience and knowledge to educate the leader in the field/problem in which the mentor is experienced.

The leader will use the mentor to develop skills. Sometimes mentors will suggest strategies for the leader to use, strategies that the mentor has used and found successful.


Coaches enable. They use process, experience and knowledge to enable the leader to make good decisions, improve inquiry, hasten results and remain focused regardless of the clutter that surrounds the leader’s daily activities.

The leader will use a coach when they want sustainable change.

The Executive Coach.

  • The outcome of the Executive Coach is improvement in leadership skills, personal management, and capability.
  • The Executive Coach enables the leader to successfully manage their “self ” .
  • The working relationship is one-to-one

The Business Coach.

  • The outcome of the Business Coach is achievement of the firm’s goals.
  • By necessity this means building the capability of the individual in leadership, priority management, strategy implementation, and the like.
  • The Business Coach enables the leader to (1) successfully implement strategy, (2) successfully manage their “self ” .
  • The working relationship is one-to-one and / or one-to-group

Why use a Business Coach?

Leaders who choose a Business Coach want to achieve goals for the firm and for themselves. Some examples are:

Firm Goals

  1. No surprises
  2. Controlled growth
  3. Clarity of direction
  4. Staying on strategy
  5. Agility in the face of change
  6. Attracting and retaining the best people
  7. Increased profit
  8. Improved firm value
  9. Attraction of equity investment
  10. Improved cashflow
  11. Employer of choice
  12. Merger success

Individual Goals

  1. More time
  2. More options
  3. Greater satisfaction
  4. Increased confidence
  5. More income
  6. More enjoyable relationships

Return on investment.

A recent survey of executives, quoted by Duffy from Success From Within, found of those surveyed achieved a result no less than Six (6) times investment.  The report also found:

Relationships improved

  • Staff (77%),
  • Bosses (71%),
  • Peers (63%)
  • Clients (37%).

But what about your situation? You and your firm are unique and so your results will be uniquely yours, so feel free to give me a call and together we can complete a simple calculation to explore the $ value and time you can gain from using a coach.

How to make business coaching work?

To reach the goals the Business Coach and leader work together.

The leader must:

  1. Want to achieve
  2. Place high standards on their Coach
  3. Have clear outcomes set at the commencement of the coaching assignment
  4. Review progress at least 6 monthly
  5. Be prepared to push beyond current boundaries
  6. Be prepared to be questioned
  7. Want to enjoy the journey

The coach must:

  1. Be committed to the relationship.
  2. Ask the hard questions
  3. Put their ego on hold
  4. Have a passion for learning
  5. Keep the leader on strategy
  6. Love what they do
  7. Take pride in the leader’s achievements
  8. Be contactable when the leader needs support.

Ideally the coach will:

  1. Provide on-line training and support
  2. Have a suite of tools
  3. Provide access to other business leaders


Where there is a desire to improve the short term and long term success of the firm, and its people, then business coaching will provide value.

A coaching relationship should not be entered into lightly. The leader is responsible for their progress, the coach is responsible for ensuring that the leader has the tools and skills to meet the challenges they encounter.

Everything the leader achieves is only as good as the effort they invest.

Responsibility for development and growth is shared between the leader and coach. And a good coaching relationship is a personal one, from which the firm and individual strengthen, risks are taken, and friendships are built.

By Jennifer Bishop

Jennifer Bishop helps leaders turn their strategies into results and so fast track their business to profit and growth.

 Her services are Business and Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation, Strategic Planning, and Board Governance.

She is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors, Fellow of Chartered Accountants ANZ, Certified Management Consultant  and an Accredited Mindshop Facilitator. To find out how she can help you, call +61 439 520 182 or email.