Life coaching services are increasingly offered by people with various credentials and experience.
-*How effective are life coaching services in helping participants achieve goals and improve performance?
Coaching is a collaborative, solution-focused, result-oriented systematic process during which coaches facilitate coachees’ self-directed learning, personal growth, and goal attainment, according to University of Sydney’s Anthony Grant, who has conducted empirical research on coaching’s impact on goal achievement.
He integrated practices from solution-focused and cognitive-behavioral interventions into Solution-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral (SF-CB) Coaching and a “Coach Yourself” program with Jane Greene, then evaluated these programs using his Self-Reflection and Insight Scale.
Developed with Macquarie University colleagues John Franklin and Peter Langford, they found that participants in the Solution-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral (SF-CB) coaching reported increased:
- Goal attainment
- Quality of life
- Mental health.
Other research-based evidence of coaching’s impact on goal attainment comes from two types of studies:
- Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT), in which participants are assigned at random to receive one of several interventions compared with no intervention, a comparison intervention, or an unrelated intervention
Quasi-Experimental Field Studies (QEFS), which uses “time series analysis” but not random participants assignment when measuring outcomes.
Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) are considered most credible, particularly when findings are replicated by other researchers.
Evidence of coaching’s impact among executives who received 360-degree feedback and four coaching sessions for over ten weeks, from Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) includes:
- Enhanced goal attainment, resilience, workplace well-being, coping with organizational change
- Reduced depression, stress, according to Grant with University of Sydney colleagues Linley Curtayne and Geraldine Burton
- Greater goal attainment compared with an educative/directive format in mindfulness-based health coaching over eight weeks, reported by University of Sydney’s Gordon B. Spence, Michael J. Cavanagh and Grant
- Increasing goal commitment, goal attainment, environmental mastery, compared with peer coaching among adults in a Solution Focused/Cognitive Behavioral (SF/CB) life coaching program, according to research by Spence and Grant
Increased cognitive hardiness, mental health, hope among female high school students in a 10 session solution-focused cognitive-behavioral (SF-CB) life coaching program, found University of Wollongong’s L.S. Green, Grant, and Josephine Rynsaardt
- Increased goal striving, well-being, hope, with gains maintained up to 30 weeks, reported Grant and Green with University of Wollongong colleague Lindsay G. Oades.
Hope is considered crucial to pursue goals, according to University of Kansas’s C.R. Snyder, Scott T. Michael of University of Washington, and Ohio State’s Jennifer Cheavens, because individuals seeking change must be able to:
- Develop one or more ways to achieve a goals (“pathways”)
- Use these routes to reach the goal (“agency”)
Three additional elements are also crucial to goal pursuit and achievement, suggested University of Rochester’s Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan:
According to their Self-Determination Theory (SDT), these characteristics are associated with increased:
- Goal motivation
- Enhanced performance
- Mental health
The other category of research, Quasi-Experimental Field Studies (QEFS), reported that coaching for managers of a federal government increased:
- Outcome expectancies, self-efficacy, in research by Will J.G. Evers, Andre Brouwers and Welko Tomic of The Open University.
- Decreased anxiety and stress among UK finance organization participants, in findings by Kristina Gyllensten and Stephen Palmer of City University London.
Despite the low “barriers to entry” for offering life coaching services, empirical evidence appears to validate coaching’s contribution to participants’ increased goal attainment along with additional subjective measures of satisfaction, well-being, and hope.
-*How do you “coach yourself” and others toward increased goal attainment and performance?
-*What are the “active ingredients” of effective coaching practices?
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