This phenomenon is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself when you are seeking out a business coach. The good news is that there is plenty of data out there that help you paint a full picture of who seeks a coach.
In the middle 2009 the International Coach Federation published a worldwide study on coaching. This study looked at the demographics of who chooses a coach, why they seek to coach, and what was her overall return on investment. Some of the data is quite surprising as to who chooses a coach and for what reasons.
First, let us look at who chooses a coach. The conventional wisdom is that a coach is hired by corporations to help their executives. The study discovered that it is typically the individual who seeks out a coach. These individuals tend to have university or postgraduate degrees. Many of them are in leadership positions, if they are not business owners themselves. When it comes to gender 65% who select a coach are women. This tend to make sense as more women have increasing management responsibilities in corporations and are the leading founders of small businesses.
Second, the conventional wisdom would tell you that a business coach is hired primarily by corporations. While in the past a corporation would hire a coach to curb the bad behaviors of a particular executive, it has now become a badge of honor for many executives to hire a business coach. The reasons for hiring this coach are many but if you come in ones stick out. The number one area for hiring a business coach is to improve their work performance of the executive or of their team. This was followed by improving conditions for career opportunities and improving business management or relationships.
Looking at the data clearly demonstrates that those individuals and companies seeking on a coach realized that interpersonal or "soft" skills that are important to successfully take advantage of any business or career opportunities. Business coaching helps transfer the important fundamentals necessary to have their clients attain these goals. Coaches are seen as delivering action plans that deliver value as opposed to an "on the couch" process. Unlike therapy or other methodologies, business coaching is a contractual relationship. Sessions last an hour in duration and the business coaching relationship is typically under six months. This appeals to the business owner and the busy executive who must juggle multiple responsibilities.
The business coach is no longer seen as a stigma or a stain on a permanent record. Establishing a business coaching relationship is seen more as a badge of honor and pride for many business owners and executives. As shown above the use of a business coach is not the exclusive province of large Fortune 500 companies. Instead it is a tool for the individual who wishes to exceed their current position and achieve new goals. It is a small business owner and individuals that are seeking a business coach.