Return on investment for executive coaching

You’ve thought about it, reviewed your options, and decided now is the time to employ the strategies to take your leadership to the next level. You know that an executive coach can help. You know that a qualified coach can help you focus and prioritize your development goals and hold you accountable for success. The coach will push you in a number of ways – to leverage your strengths and shore up development spots. 

But what is the return on investment? Is coaching worth the time and money?

Coaching ROI

In a Fortune magazine poll, executives were asked to give a conservative estimate of the monetary payoff from their coaching experience. The survey findings indicated that recipients valued executive coaching at six times the cost of the money paid for the investment. In other words, a six-month, $15,000 investment for a senior leader was determined to be worth six times that – $90,000. Not a bad ROI.


Other studies have also reported a ROI of five to seven times the initial investment. Among the benefits to companies that provided coaching to executives were improvements in:

  • Productivity (reported by 53% of executives)
  • Quality (48%)
  • Organizational strength (48%)
  • Customer service (39%)

Among the benefits to executives who received coaching were improved:

  • Working relationships with direct reports (reported by 77% of executives)
  • Teamwork (67%)
  • Job satisfaction (61%)
  • Reduction in conflict (52%)

Creating a partnership

In order to achieve those benefits (and reap a substantial ROI), a partnership needs to be created. This starts by finding the right coach.

The article “Five Tips for Selecting an Executive/Leadership Coach” outlines the starting point for finding the right coach. The most important thing to look for is good fit between you and your coach – it is critical for success. You want someone you feel you connect with and can build a trusting, candid relationship with.

The difference between coaching and other disciplines

Coaching is about uncovering potential, deepening learning, removing obstacles, improving performance, and enhancing quality of life.

Coaching is not consulting: The coach’s expertise lies in the successful implementation of the coaching process (versus serving as an expert in a certain field or industry).

Coaching is not training: Coaches enhance skill development and behavior change (trainers teach their audiences new workplace skills and abilities necessary for success).

Coaching is not mentoring: Coaches typically do not use their personal experiences as a guide for their clients’ success (mentors have “been there and done that” and share those experiences).

Coaching is not therapy: Therapists dwell on a client’s past in order to analyze behavior and fix issues. Coaches focus on taking a client from where he/she is now to where he/she wants to be in the future.

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