Without access to the methods of the research, we do not know for what population the 86% is representative. For example, was the study population a nationwide group of organizations or a small regional sample? Did the companies polled encompass more than one industry? “It is important to examine the theoretical perspective and method of each study, looking for overt and covert assumptions, beliefs, and values that contributed to the researcher’s perspective, questions, selection of hypotheses, and interpretations of results.”  There are also issues of validity and reliability to consider. While much of what has been written is aligned with the peer-reviewed research, without knowing the specifics of each author’s data collection methods, in-depth critique is not possible. Clearly, future research should address the use of standards of reliable methodology.
Recommendations for Future Research
Additional research is desperately needed to help coaches, clients, and organizations understand what is realistic to expect from the coaching industry. Coaches would benefit from additional research that highlights methods that have worked for others and factors that must be effectively attended to for desired results to be produced. The coaching industry would benefit from more research so it can confidently set standards to help guide the industry and certify coaches. This will allow organizations to select more appropriate coaches and to monitor coaching engagements. Clients will benefit from a more regulated industry, one with recognizable standards and safeguards.
There are issues that have barely been touched by current research, such as issues of gender, race, and cultural diversity. There is a need for research involving longitudinal studies, following coaches, coachees, and outcomes over the long term. Additionally, more research should be conducted using pre- and post-testing and control groups. This would help to neutralize the effects of other factors.  There is also a need for more research conducted in countries other than the United States. This would help control the bias of ethnocentric analysis. Research to develop and pilot test measurement tools or to standardize methodologies would allow for an easier, more reliable calculation of return on investment. Also, managing the growth of demand, the proliferation of coaches, and controlling costs can be addressed in additional research studies.
The rapid growth of the coaching industry has left many unanswered questions that additional research can solve. Coaching results must be linked to the processes being used so that both organizations and clients will be able to understand the benefits and quantify the return on their investment.
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