Coaching as a profession has taken traction all over the world in the last couple of years. A study conducted in 2007 by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) tapped 30,000 coaches worldwide and reported that coaching is an estimated US$1.5 billion per annum industry signalling that coaching is recognized as a relevant profession in our world today (Brennan, 2008). Organizations nowadays are working towards creating a coaching culture where HR Practitioners and other line managers are coached on developing their own coaching skills. Executive Coaching is also being offered in Philippine organizations.
With this came the question for this research study, what is the extent of Professional Coaching as an intervention in Philippine organizations? Professional Coaching, as defined by the International Coaching Federation is “partnering with clients in a thought-‐provoking and creative process that inspire them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful and whole… Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has (International Coach Federation, http://www.coachfederation.org/clients/coaching-‐faqs/).”
This research study aims to discover what the state of professional coaching is in the Philippines from two perspectives: the organization via human resource professionals and individuals who may or may not have gone through coaching themselves.
There were a total of 92 respondents in the study, 22 were HR Practitioners and 70 were individuals. These were conveniently sampled. Two sets of surveys were administered online through Survey Monkey and distributed through the researcher’s contacts via LinkedIn, Facebook and e-‐mail.
Among the HR Practitioners, a majority are working for a locally-‐owned company (53.3%), while the rest are working for a foreign-‐owned organization (46.7%). Most of them are in the Middle Management (40%) and Senior Management (26.7%) levels. Most came from the BPO/Contact Center, Retail, Manufacturing and IT industries (13.3% for all). Their organizations were a mix of small (5 employees) to large (9000 employees). The average number of employees for these organizations was 1,357.
Among the individuals most were females (57.1%) and between 26-‐35 years old (61.9%). Most were either single or married (both 49.2%). Majority were employed in an organization (66.7%). Those who were employed were mostly in the Middle Management level (30.9%), Executive / Head of Division (21.8%). Most were Sales and Marketing Professionals (30.15%), followed by HR Professionals (15.87%). Most were in the Fast-‐Moving Consumer Goods (10.71%) and IT/Electronics industries (10.71%). For the full survey, please see Appendix A (HR Professionals) and Appendix B (Individuals).
RESULTS & DISCUSSION
It is an encouraging discovery that majority of HR Professionals (90.9%) and Individuals (75.5%) in the Philippines have heard about Professional coaching. More encouraging is the fact that a majority of organizations (85%) have used Professional Coaching as an intervention. These are indicators that the coaching profession has taken traction and is being seen as a legitimate intervention in Philippine organizations.
Professional Coaching: Organizational Perspective
Aligned with various western studies, Professional Coaching has been seen as a good support to Leadership and Career Development issues (Axmith, 2004; Feldman and Moore, 2001). Most of them used this for Management Development (90%) and Career Management (90%). Coaching has an individualized approach which could be a main reson for why this is consistently seen as an intervention for these programs. The coachee has the opportunity to get feedback on his/her leadership styles and develop specific areas s/he is weak on. As the coachee goes through the process of development, s/he gets a tailored support along the way which could not be addressed by a stand-‐alone leadership training program. Careers are also very personal. One’s career is not decided by the organization, it is owned and directed by the individual itself. Coaching would therefore be the best intervention for the coachee to work out the direction s/he wants to take and how s/he can get there.
Professional Coaching was also used as part of a Change Management (60%) and Work-‐Life Balance (60%) programs. In terms of coaching niche, majority of coaching was done around Career (100%), Executive (60%) and Life (50%). These results specifically the implementation of coaching for Work-‐Life Balance programs and organizations offering Life coaching are quite surprising. Work-‐Life balance in as much as it is a very individual and personal issue that cannot be fully addressed by one-size fits all activities are currently being addressed by most organizations on a group level.
Tailor-‐fitting the approach would definitely entail a huge investment on the part of the employer. In as much as work-‐life balance programs straddles between the domain of the employer and the responsibility of the employee him/herself it is a good indicator that Philippine organizations are being more responsive to the needs of their employees and are showing more progressive thinking in terms of the business sense of Work-‐Life Balance programs. Another perspective on this is also because most work issues come from work-‐life imbalance. Coaching relationships usually start with a concrete work-‐related issue but at the end of the day, when you dig deep it is rooted in something more fundamental such as relationships or emotions (Coutu and Kauffman, 2009).
Professional Coaching was also implemented from staff to executive levels in the organization but it was mostly for Executives/Management Committee members / Heads of Divisions (80%), Senior Managers (80%) and Middle Manager (80%) aligned to western studies (Anderson, Frankovelgia & Hernez-‐Broome, 2009; Bono, Purvanova, Towler & Peterson, 2009). One-‐ on-‐one coaching was mostly used (70%) while there were instances of group coaching as well (30%) and all the sessions happened on a face-‐to-‐face basis contrary to western practice where phone coaching is more prevalent (Brennan, 2008). Probably because of Filipino’s need for more social interaction, they prefer a face-‐to-‐face approach as compared to western counterparts who are more comfortable with over-‐the-‐phone coaching (Brennan, 2008). The geography may also play a role as in the Philippines main business areas are more concentrated and easier to be physically serviced by coaches than a bigger country.
The sessions were typically done once-‐a-‐month (40%) while twice monthly sessions were also prevalent (30%). Majority of the sessions lasted for an hour (60%) and within a 1-‐3 months duration (40%). This is contrary to western studies, where coaching duration in the US on an average of 7-‐12 months (Coutu and Kauffman, 2009).