2018 Research: Chapter 4 - Coach Selection

CoachSource is pleased to provide the fifth in a series of seven blog posts featuring chapters from our 2018 Executive Coaching Research Study. In this post, we feature Chapter 4 of the report, "Coach Selection," which highlights:

  • Locating Coaches
  • Coach Selection Criteria
  • Coach Biographies
  • Certification of Coaches
  • Educational/Training Backgrounds of Coaches
  • Turning Down Assignments
  • Coaching Supervision

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Chapter 4: Coach Selection

Locating Coaches

How are organizations finding external coaches in the first place? And how does that compare with what external coaches report? Such questions spark discussions surrounding selection processes in the field of executive coaching. The top three choices for locating coaches this year (Source coaches from vendors, Referrals, and Coaches make contact with LD/HR) remained the same from 2013. Organizations (94%) reported that locating coaches from vendors was their most commonly used method for selecting coaches (contrasted to 63% of coaches). The organizations response increased from 85% who selected this same choice in 2013. Figure 26 (below) displays the breakdown of this year’s responses.

Regarding coaches, however, externals recorded that Referrals (94%) were their clients’ preferred method for locating them. This was an increase from 74% of coaches who reported this in 2013. Across the board, significantly fewer external coaches reported being located by any other method than Referrals when compared to 2013 results. Such large drops might be designated by the reported increase that coaches are now most frequently sought out through word-of-mouth referrals.

Outside of the top choices for organizations and external coaches respectively, Coaches make contact with LD/HR was also a top choice. However, when compared to 2013 response rates, this choice decreased for organizations by 26% and for external coaches by 14%. Another response that also decreased in use was Coaches make contact directly with leaders. Also, in 2013, we were interested to see if organizations located coaches using online recruiting methods (e.g., LinkedIn, web searches). Between both organizations and coaches, Searching the web/LinkedIn increased from roughly 14% in 2013 to about 20% in 2017. In a technologically advancing world, this rise in online methods for locating coaches may continue to be a rising trend for years to come.

The 2017 survey provided respondents with additional options to select A coach’s public speaking/writing/publishing and Other as additional options. Only 2% of organization selected public speaking/writing/publishing, compared to 31% of coaches who believe this to be the case.

Under the Other answer choice, external coaches highlighted the importance of “networking” as contributing to the number of client referrals they received. Although organizations did not necessarily discuss networking as much as external coaches, this may be due to organizations choosing to use vendors as a form of “networking”. Instead of personally reaching out to a referred coach, organizations may be sending referrals to vendors for a pre-selection process. Thus, organizations might attribute locating a coach to a vendor although they were essentially networking by being given a prospective coach’s name through a referral.

To read the rest of Chapter 4 "Coach Selection," please click here for the PDF.

Please note: This material is copyrighted by CoachSource, LLC.

Our next blog post is Chapter 5:  Internal Support / Internal Coaching, which encompasses:

  • Role of Leadership Development and Human Resources
  • Role of Boss
  • Internal Coaching
  • Internal vs. External Coaching Experience
  • Choice of Internal Versus External Coaches
  • Challenges of Internal Coaches

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