Right now most companies are tightening their belts. Jobs are cut, workloads are heavier, responsibilities are more expansive and the pressure can be paralyzing. It’s the economic reality of the world we live in. While this is the reality, the fact remains that some companies are continuing to thrive despite a shrinking budget.

Many leaders may see these problems but feel helpless as they try to fight high demands with fewer resources. But what if you could empower your team, promote a positive outlook and relieve the pressure all while getting a return on your investment?  Things wouldn’t seem so bad, would they?

The growth in the professional coaching industry is one indication that coaching is an effective solution to the common struggles plaguing many companies. There are an estimated 47,500 professional coaches across the world bringing in an annual income close to $2 billion USD.  A key differentiator for the industry is that coaching is seen as an “action plan” rather than an exploratory process.

Increased Productivity
Professional coaching explicitly targets maximizing potential and in doing this unlocks latent sources of productivity and effectiveness. At the heart of coaching is a creative and thought-provoking process that supports individuals to confidently pursue new ideas and alternative solutions with greater resilience in the face of growing complexity and uncertainty. According to the International Coach Federation Global Coaching Client Study (2009) 70% of clients reported a positive improvement in work performance; 61% reported a positive improvement in business management; 57% reported a positive improvement in time management; 51% reported a positive improvement in team effectiveness; and 62% reported a positive improvement in career opportunities.

Positive People
In the face of uncertainty caused by workforce reductions and other factors, expectations of remaining workforce members are very high. Restoring self-confidence and self-trust to face the challenges is critical to meet organizational demands. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study shows 80% of those being coaching saw an improvement in their self-confidence; 73% saw an improvement in their relationships; 72% saw an improvement in their communications skills; 67% saw an improvement in balancing work and life; and 63%  saw an improvement in wellness.

Return on Investment (ROI)
The coach-client relationship generates learning and clarity for forward action with a commitment to clear measurable outcomes. Coaching offers a good return on investment for individual clients and offers a significant return on investment for companies. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, 68% of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment. The median suggests that a client, who achieved financial benefit from coaching, can typically expect a ROI of more than three times the amount spent. According to the same report, the vast majority of companies (86%) say they at least made their investment back. In fact, almost one-fifth (19%) saw an ROI of 50 times their investment , while a further 28% saw an ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment.

Satisfied Companies & Individuals
Virtually all companies or individuals who hire a coach are satisfied. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, a stunning 99% of people who were polled said they were somewhat or very satisfied with the overall experience.

In Conclusion, Consider a Coach
The process of selecting a coach among the vast network of professionals operating around the world can seem overwhelming. To aid the procedure, all International Coach Federation Credentialed coaches are searchable through an online directory, the ICF Coach Referral Service (CRS). CRS is a free public resource that allows clients to tailor their search for a qualified coach based on specific criteria, be it the coach’s professional experience and direction, or a certain coaching method or language preference.

When in the process of selecting a coach, clients usually interview three different coaches to find their perfect match. They will ask a specific set of questions relating to their requirements and look at the coach’s experience. Ultimately, the client has to find confidence in a coach, while at the same time the chemistry also has to be right. The personality between client and coach doesn’t have to match –sometimes opposite personality types will bring the best results.

Coaching is a significant trend in leadership development because it increases effectiveness and empowers employees. The economic climate doesn’t have to be a binding reality. Instead of struggling, start thriving.

Janet M. Harvey has 25 years of successful professional experience as both a corporate and entrepreneurial business executive utilizing coaching for leadership development of individuals and teams in diverse private and public sector settings around the globe. She is a Partner and CEO of invite CHANGE and a Past President of the International Coach Federation.