In general, the differences between personal and organizational coaches disappear when we turn to their responses to similar items related to the coaches’ current practices. While organizational coaches remain a bit more positive, the differences are minimal. On several items, however, there are significant differences between personal and organizational coaching with regard to their current practices. First, the mean score for personal coaches is significantly higher than it is for organizational coaches with regard to mastery (at the present time) of coaching techniques and strategies. There is a second significance difference regarding current practices that heads in the opposite direction. Organizational coaches are more likely than personal coaches to indicate that they are effective at stimulating client insights. This difference is significant at the .05 level. At a more marginal (.10) level, organizational coaches are more likely than personal coaches to indicate that they have attained precision, subtlety and finesse in their work with clients.
How do we make sense of these seemingly contradictory (or at least confusing) results? We might speculate that any differences that exist when our respondents are beginning their work as coaches relate at least in part to the amount of experience when enter coaching. Those doing personal coaching might be newer to the field or have less prior experience in related human service fields. Many organizational coaches, for instance, have already done organizational consulting work or have conducted leadership development workshops. Once the two groups reflect on their current experiences (rather than their overall experiences), the differences disappear. The personal coaches might have “caught up” with the organizational coaches in terms of the amount of experience they have had and their own personal judgement about their competency. Perhaps, personal coaches face fewer challenges in mastering coaching techniques and strategies than organizational coaches—there certainly are many more settings in which organizational coaching can take place than is the case with personal coaching. Organizational coaches might also require (and therefore have mastered) greater precision, subtlety and finesse in their work because they face more diverse settings in which their coaching takes place.Download Article 500 Club