Executive Leadership: The Importance of Coaching Today

  • 6 mins read

How is your organization working within the ever-growing gig economy? Let me ask: how do leaders engage with and develop future leaders?

This is a frequent topic of discussion with many millennials today, and it’s no surprise. The number of entrepreneurs, freelancers, or gig workers —those independent contractors who offer services in “one-and-done” or project contracts—is growing.

According to data the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics collected in 2005, 2-4% of all workers were contingent (i.e., short-term), and 7% were alternative (freelance, independent consultants, or on-call workers). In 2017, the total number grew to 34%, or 55 million workers, and according to Reuters.com, it was projected to rise to 43% for 2020. (Studies are still pending.)

When half of U.S. workers polled prefer the flexibility of independent or gig work, retaining high performers and identifying and developing future leaders is more important than ever.

Effective Execution

Recovering from a crisis is a process. It takes time, preparation, and effective execution—a culture that executes specific behaviors and techniques. Going beyond recovery for competitive advantage requires discipline and system—a comprehensive understanding of the business, its people, and its environment.

An effective execution links any organization’s three core processes: the people process, the strategy, and the operating plan to achieve its mission and goals. However, the three core processes are at greater risk of disconnecting in a gig economy. Leadership, regardless of level, must be passionately engaged in the organization.

The importance of coaching today cannot be overstated. It is no longer reserved for problem employees or top performers. Enabling all employees to achieve business objectives in the shortest possible time is critical for success.

What Type of Coaching is Best?

At its core, coaching aims to increase performance, achievement, and/or well-being in individuals, teams, and organizations through proven methods grounded in scientific research. There are many types of coaching (and many ways to achieve results) in four broad categories with different emphases:

Behavioral Coaching/Coaching Leaders

Life Coaching/Career Coaching

Coaching for Organizational Change.

Strategy Coaching

While there are distinctions between coaching, consulting, mentoring, advising, and counseling, qualified coaches meld differences into a successful coaching process at different times in particular situations.

Debunk Coaching Myths

One of the greatest coaching myths is that coaching is simply goal setting with accountability and a bit of “rah-rah” or hype for motivation. Tapping into the human spirit is important in expanding the capacity to achieve stretch goals. But more importantly, it is important to consider and alter the underlying context in which goal setting, motivation, and feedback occur.

The underlying context is all the conclusions, beliefs, and assumptions you (and/or the group of people) have reached to succeed. It is shaped by the shared interpretations you have about your business environment. It also includes the management culture, inherited or self-imposed. This basic cultural context must be considered in creating a framework for effective coaching.

Effective Coaching

Today’s successful organizations rely on a new kind of management culture, one that is based on creating new knowledge. This requires constant learning. A crucial catalyst in this new management culture is the transformational coach. His or her job is to provide direction while leaving plenty of room for people to pursue their passions, personal interests, and projects.

In its simplest terms, effective coaching involves expanding people’s capacity to take effective action. It involves challenging underlying beliefs and assumptions that are responsible for one’s actions and behaviors. At its deepest level, effective coaching examines not only what one does and why one does what one does but also who one is.

Measure Your Coaching ROI

When applying common return on investment (ROI) standards for evaluating training and development programs, the number of variables challenges the ability to establish reliable data. Quantifying qualitative data is difficult.

The marketplace is perhaps the most vocal proponent of the use of coaching. Top corporations and leading organizations are among those that invest heavily in hiring coaches for their executives. According to ibisworld.com, 2021 annual spending on business coaching in the U.S. will reach $10.9 billion.

Organizations, entrepreneurs, and even gig workers with smaller budgets are wise to follow this advice. Successful companies don’t throw money at programs that don’t positively impact their bottom line—at least, they don’t for very long. Even so, the question remains: How should the ROI be measured?

5 Key ROI Indicators

To measure your ROI, look to changes in individual and/or team:


▶ Outlook/feelings

▶ Specific behaviors and/or skills

▶ New insights that support progress toward goals

▶ Qualitative and quantitative measures: feedback, scores, self-reporting, etc., and what matters most to the client.

Get the Most from Your Coaching

Consider these questions to ensure that those being coached, as well as the organization, are getting the most from coaching:

▶ Is the organization committed to coaching as a process rather than just an event?

▶ Are supervisors of those being coached committed to the coaching process?

▶ What are the types of changes that you hope will result?

▶ Have you established internal measurements to identify when you have achieved success?

▶ What are the benchmarks/baselines/waypoints on those measures?

▶ Do you have a control group identified?

▶ Are you using the right amount of time (at least 18 to 24 months) to achieve the desired results?

▶ Have you considered indirect measures? (i.e., employee satisfaction or turnover)

▶ Are you measuring the coach on the results that the coach achieves or the time that the coach spends?

▶ Have you ensured that one of the measurements is perceived improvement, as viewed by those who work with the coachee frequently?

▶ Based on everything that you know about the person being coached, is there a reasonable probability for change?

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What’s Most Important to You

When working with your coach, discuss your important needs and what matters. Here are seven other tips to get the most from your coaching:

Make space for feelings. Feelings drive behaviors. To change behaviors, change how you feel. Awareness is the first step.

Simplify. Simplification also creates space, which allows you to learn and evolve.

Make yourself a priority. Examine activities, environments, and attitudes that impact your energy. Identify ways to reduce drains and replenish your energy.

Be curious and open. Be willing to examine your assumptions, ways of thinking, expectations, beliefs, and reactions.

Practice mindfulness and awareness. Sensitize yourself to see and experience things quickly.

Clarify goals and objectives. Ensure you and your coach know your short- and long-term goals.

Improve feedback skills. Practice giving your coach feedback, especially at the end of each session.

Coaching is a developmental process. As you evolve, you will think differently. A more accurate and expanded personal vision of yourself and your place in the world will replace outdated beliefs and assumptions. You’ll learn how to accomplish more with less effort.

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