- The need for coaches will grow. The AMA/i4cp study indicates that coaching is continuing to grow as a corporate practice. In the coming decade, there will be a greater need for speed and effectiveness in developing the next generation of leaders, and coaching will be particularly well suited to handling the faster cycle times and more diverse management challenges associated with global business.
- Executive coaching will mature as an industry. Coaching will become less of a cottage industry and will grow to include more credentialed professionals who are part of larger associations, such as consulting groups or coaching agencies. This maturation process will reveal itself in the ways businesses use and contract with coaches. There will be more standard contracts, vetting of credentials and methods of trying to determine coaching's return on investment.
- The coaching industry will have more barriers to entry. More rigorous certifications and assessments will emerge, at least for the subset of coaches who work in corporate environments. As this occurs, there will be fewer unqualified coaches.
- Metrics will become standard practice. Coaching agencies and companies that hire coaches will become better at measuring coaching performance. In some cases, client companies might want to determine specific results such as increased productivity or improved skill on the part of the person or group being coached. In others, companies will look more at issues such as engagement levels or levels of performance among work teams.
- External coaching development sources will become more dominant. The AMA/i4cp survey shows that external development programs for coaching are more highly correlated with success than internal ones. This represents a market opportunity for universities and other institutions that provide education to those who wish to enter the coaching field. As the coaching industry matures, several institutions will become predominant "feeder schools" for organizations that wish to hire coaches
- Coaching will become more virtual. Coaching will always be more "high touch" than other forms of learning and development, yet it is increasingly a multimedia event. By 2018, technological advances will allow "virtual" coaching relationships to feel more like face-to-face interactions, and professional coaches will be better able to prescribe certain e-learning development modules for their clients in order to help them develop outside of the coaching dialogue.
BOTTOMLINE: Business coaching, by itself, is only one part of the equation for continual individual and organizational performance improvement. For a description of a complete strategy coaching execution, read Six Disciplines Execution Revolution.