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Sherpa: Preliminary 2014 Executive Coaching Survey

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Corporate Culture

In a series of nine new questions, we asked training professionals and business leaders to tell us about their working environment. We asked about the culture that executive coaching is designed to create: openness, empowerment, cooperation and communication.

Overall, our results on corporate culture are quite reassuring. Our queries involved statements that demonstrate a positive corporate culture. Positive answers included responses of ‘always’ and ‘usually’. In five of our nine questions, positive answers were in a clear majority.

What are organizations best at?

  • People are encouraged to ask questions. (72%)
  • Respondents see communication between every level of management.  (69%)
  • People cooperate across department lines. (65%)

Room for improvement:

Almost half (45%) of our respondents answered “sometimes” or “never” when asked whether their leadership is democratic, not autocratic. Only one in eight (12%) said their environment was ‘always’ democratic.

Confusion in the ranks:

Coaching is a hot subject, a modern-day ‘buzzword’ that means different things to different people. When we talk about coaching, we are not always talking about the same thing. When asked whether coaching and managing are distinctly defined, almost half our respondents (46%) answered “sometimes” or “never”


Neuroscience Soars

Neuroscience deals with the anatomy and chemistry of the brain and nervous system and their relation to behavior and learning. Interest in neuroscience as a part of executive coaching is on the rise. That prompted us, for the first time, to ask a few simple questions:

  • Should neuroscience have a role in coaching?
  • How much should executive coaches know about neuroscience?
  • How much should clients know about neuroscience?
  • Does a working knowledge of  neuroscience alter a coaches’ credibility?

Neuroscience is a combination of medicine, applied science and research that explains human behavior and the way it changes. This field of study continues to build new information and evidence on a solid foundation.

  • 76% of executive coaches say that neuroscience should have a role in executive coaching.
  • 62% of executive coaches believe they and their peers should have a full understanding or at least a working knowledge of neuroscience. Both internal and external coaches agree. Female coaches support this notion more often than male coaches do, by about a 10% margin.
  • 34% say their clients should have  a full understanding or at least a working knowledge of neuroscience.  Internal coaches favor this at a slightly higher rate than external      coaches do.
  • 49% say a background in neuroscience improves a coaches’ credibility. Less than 10% feel it is a negative.

Sherpa Coaching will offer a public report based on this year’s survey  during January, Executive Coaching Month. An earnings report for coaches will be made available in February 2014.

A much more detailed report will be made available in June, during Executive Coaching Week, at the 9th annual Executive Coaching and Leadership conference. Attendees at the conference will get exclusive analysis of trends along with  a ‘deep dive’ into this year’s data, working with the survey’s  publisher and experts in coaching, education and neuroscience.

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