• Managing people

Coaching’s Bright Future

Henley’s Jonathan Passmore discusses the benefits and impact of individual and team coaching


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Over the last two decades the growth of research and academic understanding of how coaching impacts people and organizations has led to a significant change in the way coaching is delivered and received across the country, says Professor Jonathan Passmore, the Director of the Henley Centre for Coaching.

In the 1990s coaches were beginning to become more prevalent, but they were unaccredited, and their work was based almost exclusively on their personal experiences and perceptions, says Passmore. The main attraction for clients at that time, was the coaches’ impartiality – the coach was not trying to ‘out do’ or compete with them – and coaches provided personalised support for executives transitioning to new roles either internally or externally. Twenty years on the range of coaching benefits have proliferated and been well observed, measured and documented.

If you are prepared to dedicate the time to coaching, you will grow as an individual, your team is likely to benefit and so will your organization”

“We've seen a proliferation of coaching research that demonstrates that coaching is a highly effective organizational intervention that really helps people at a number of levels. It improves individual's self-awareness; it helps them to become more reflective; it improves emotional intelligence; helps leaders to manage the stress and pressure of jobs and improves their prioritisation and goal setting and goal attainment. In line with the anecdotal evidence from the past, it also helps in leadership development, and it helps in delivering organizational change, particularly mergers, acquisitions and organizational restructures” says Passmore.

He states that the evidence is “pretty compelling that if you are prepared to dedicate the time to coaching, you will grow as an individual, your team is likely to benefit and so will your organization.”


Explore the various coaching programs and accredited coaching qualifications offered by Henley Business School


The more recent change he has seen, is that those who have been coached during their career, and recognise the benefits, are becoming coaches themselves – though now doing so in a more formalised way. There is a proliferation of coaching associations and groups, of varying levels of legitimacy. Henley Business School works with the largest global, European and UK coaching bodies, respectively: the International Coach Federation (ICF), the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, and the Association for Coaching – all of whom accredit Henley’s coaching programs. As Passmore notes “we wanted to provide choice to our students, wherever they might be in the world, to pick the appropriate body for them. We don't have a particular bias or prejudice towards any one of them.”

Team coaching is going to explode over the next ten years, as [individual] coaching exploded over the last ten"

For anyone becoming a coach today, having an accredited coaching qualification is more than just proving good ‘hygiene factors’, of knowing best practice and understanding where ethical boundaries and issues lie, it also shows a deeper commitment and respect for the profession – as well as the obvious comfort and confidence it will give prospective clients. Henley provides a range of coaching programs and certificates that support executive coaches, coach supervising, team coaching and coaching in organizations.

“I think that team coaching is going to explode over the next ten years, as [individual] coaching exploded over the last ten. It's already building a head of steam now and I can just see exponential future growth” says Passmore. Team coaching is ultimately about making the team work better, understand itself and its potential dysfunctions and so be more productive. But in the process, it inevitably will also open the individuals in the team up to greater self-reflection, as they see how they are responded to by other team members, so increasing their own self-awareness.

Team coaching also has the benefit of being more cost-effective than one-to-one individual coaching, thus bringing an enhanced return on investment for the time and cost involved. This has the added benefit that, where executive coaching has been fairly exclusively the preserve of top management alone, due to the lower costs per-head, team coaching can be made available to teams in middle management as well as the top. It is for these reasons that Passmore sees it becoming much more frequently used in organizations.

Henley Business School has a long tradition of involvement in coach education. It not only has the best-known Centre for Coaching in the UK, but – not coincidentally – also houses the National Coaching Resources Centre; the repository for all English language coaching publications, with over a thousand coaching related documents, such as technical reports, coaching books and digital resources. This unique resource provides a bank of knowledge that feeds into Henley’s executive programs.

At a time when organizations are under pressure to develop the leadership and management capacity needed to adapt to a fast-changing world, coaching has a bright future. Coaching skills are increasingly been seen as an essential leadership competence, and accredited professional coaches, armed with the latest insights from neuroscience, and adept at team as well as individual coaching will be ever more sought after.

Henley Business School, which first launched a coaching program in 2005, remains ahead of the game as a world leader in coaching education. Its programs are aimed both at leaders who want to develop coaching skills and become more self-aware and at people who want to become professional coaches. Program participants have time to reflect in a great location at Henley, and the opportunity to continue their development through a fantastic Henley network and CPD activities.

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