To Coach or Not to Coach? That is Not the Question


If Hamlet were a manager in 2011, he might have asked himself, “is it worth it to spend time coaching my employees?”  In new coaching research published today, High-Impact Performance Management:  Maximizing Coaching, we show that this is not the question any manager or senior leader should be asking themselves.  Within our survey population, the relationship between coaching and superior employee1, talent management2 and business3 results was strong (for an example, see Figure 1).  Therefore, the question is not if managers should coach, but rather what the organization should do to make sure everyone in the organization is coaching.


Figure 1:  Relationship between Coaching and Employee Results

Source:  Bersin & Associates, 2011. 


We found that there are three levers, or employee populations, to focus on to create a high-impact performance culture:


·        Senior leaders

·        Managers

·        HR


We identified the activities that each of these groups should engage in to support performance coaching (see Figure 2).  For example, it is extremely important that senior leaders set the example for coaching.  In our survey population, organizations with senior leaders who “very frequently” coach have 21 percent better business results than those that do not.  Yet, only 11 percent of leaders very frequently coach their employees.  Within the study, we share strategies for getting senior leaders to coach their employees more frequently — as well as strategies for all the other activities senior leaders, managers and HR need to engage in.     


Figure 2:  The Three Levers and Activities of High-Impact Performance Coaching


Source:  Bersin & Associates, 2011.


Similar to our other research, in this study we include case in points from companies that are doing especially strong work in this area. Specifically, we feature Grant Thornton, Scotiabank, Archer Daniels Midland Company, the Internal Revenue Service and CA Technologies, among others.  For a free overview of the findings from this research, you can access the executive summary or a recording of the webcast we did last week that shares some of the most critical findings.  We look forward to continuing the discussion about how your organization can help managers and senior leaders move beyond Hamlet — in other words, moving from thinking about coaching to actually doing it.


1“Employee results” is a composite variable comprised of employee productivity, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

2“Talent management results” is a composite variable comprised of hiring the best people, developing great leaders, developing employees, retaining top performers, planning for future talent needs and having the right people in the right jobs.

3“Business results” is a composite variable comprised of market share, costs (as compared to peers) and financial performance.

Stacia Garr

Stacia Garr writes on trends and best practices in talent management, focusing on topics such as performance management, employee engagement, career management and workforce planning In her blog, she likes to share what she's learned about how to make talent management programs more frequent, collaborative, engaging and effective.

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