80 Positive Outcomes of Coaching Proven by Research

The Top Benefits of Coaching

Bill Gates famously said, “Everyone needs a coach…that’s how we improve.”

There is no greater tool or intervention than coaching to produce positive outcomes. When you invest in coaching, you can get great results on almost anything!  

I recently shared the top 10 topics that most people come to coaching to improve. This article will focus on 80 research-backed beneficial outcomes of coaching. Keep in mind – the 80 outcomes we’ll explore are only the ones that researchers thought about and could measure. So rest assured, there are way more because coaching is so versatile! 

In fact, Google’s 10-year study called Project Oxygen found that coaching is the #1 skill of leadership. But here’s what’s surprising – it turns out that all top 10 leadership qualities relate directly to the RESPECT coaching styles. 

Coaching works! According to the International Coaching Federation, 86% of companies that invest in coaching get a net positive ROI. The remaining 14% is likely due to the coach not having a wide enough array of styles in their sessions – and it’s something that can be trained

There are thousands of articles on the benefits of coaching, but I wrote this one for three primary reasons.

1.    Most articles list a few benefits yet are grossly incomplete.

2.    Most articles are based on the author’s opinion, rather than research.

3.    I want you to see the myriad benefits you could be getting with the right coaching.

The Research Behind these 80 Positive Coaching Outcomes

In my doctoral research that led to the discovery of the RESPECT Coaching Styles™  and the OwlHub Coaching Process Model™, I studied the positive outcomes of coaching. I poured over endless peer reviewed and empirically valid articles. Countless hours went into creating the list I’m going to share with you. I hope it’s helpful in getting the coaching you deserve.

In this article, I’ll attempt to bridge the academic and practical perspectives, helping you decode what works and why. Here’s why that’s important: Most academics have never coached. Most coaches have never done peer-reviewed research about coaching. I hope to bring both worlds together for you. To do so, I’ll synthesize the list of positive outcomes into categories. Then I’ll explain how to produce these outcomes based on both my doctoral research and my 25+ years of experience in executive coaching.

I’m grateful to say that based on my clients’ comments, I’ve helped my clients get all 80 positive outcomes listed here, plus others. The reason I’ve been able to coach them to get these outcomes boils down to effectively using all 7 RESPECT Coaching Styles™. In the categories below, I’ll discuss the clusters of outcomes you can expect, and how the coach needs to approach their coaching to create these powerful results.

The 7 Key Outcome Categories of Great Coaching

1. Increasing Performance

If you want to increase your performance, or the performance of others, coaching will help! Many outcomes from coaching are about productivity, goal setting and achievement, and even increases in shareholder value.

The performance outcomes from coaching primarily come from the coach focusing on a Rallier coaching style. If you want to move from point A to point B fastest, the coach must use the Rallier style effectively in interactions.

2. Growing Skills and Competency

Whether you want to be a better leader, a better communicator, or a better coach, getting coaching yourself will help tremendously. Receiving coaching will help you learn to give feedback, become more reflective, and be a better team-builder. If you want more competency or skills, coaching is for you!

This category requires your coach to be highly skilled in the Educator coaching style. Ideally, your coach will help you learn not just from what they know and have experienced, but also from your own experiences. So, if you want to increase your knowledge, skill, and capability, you will need a coach who knows and understands how to use the Educator style.

3. Improving Plans and Problem-Solving

Effectiveness goes up with coaching for a variety of reasons. We all face problems, but how fast do you get through them? With coaching, you’ll get better at solving problems faster, overcoming obstacles, taking strategic action, managing your time, planning for succession, and more.

These outcomes are directly related to the Strategist coaching style. Ideally, your coach will help you get to the root cause of issues, look ahead to make plans, and help you sift through the complexity of the situation – assuming your coach knows how to activate the Strategist style in your sessions.

4. Heightening Ownership and Critical Thinking

What could go wrong? That’s one of many questions your coach should help you examine. Critical thinking increases the quality of output – one of the many benefits of coaching in this category. Another is a fundamental ownership over one’s circumstances and results. Making excuses and blaming others isn’t helpful. And research shows that with coaching, we no longer misattribute failure or success to factors outside ourselves – and our ability to take ownership increases.

These are core characteristics of the Provocateur style, which challenges assumptions, pokes holes, and helps us rethink our current situation and plans. To get the benefits in this category, make sure your coach can say the hard things and be a Provocateur to help you get the most from your coaching investment.

5. Expanding Self-Awareness and Collaboration

If you want to get new insights where there was uncertainty or blankness, coaching is for you. Studies have found that cognitive flexibility, insight, and personal growth increase with coaching. Coachees become more mindful and aware of themselves and their values. By getting more comfortable with the unknown and discovery, they become more collaborative. Those who get coaching are more open to seeking input and feedback as well.

All of these outcomes have to do with the Explorer style, which focuses on expanding awareness, creativity, collaboration, and the willingness to follow curiosity into the unknown. As a result, coachees discover new aspects of themselves and their current situations. If you want these outcomes, make sure your coach is well-versed in the Explorer style.

6. Boosting Positive Emotions

Coaching has a positive influence on our emotions and experience of life and work.  Research shows coaching increases self-confidence, satisfaction with work and life, connections with others, quality of life, authenticity, and self-acceptance. At the same time, stress, anxiety, depression, and turnover intention can be decreased with coaching. If you get coaching, you’ll likely improve your relationships, be more satisfied with your manager, and even have more satisfied teams, and feel more agency, support, engagement, and well-being.

When a coach embodies the Confidant style, they create a safe space for you to bring your full self to the conversation. No one likes feeling judged, so choose a coach that makes you feel comfortable sharing what’s really going on. At the core of this will be their integration of the Confidant style.

7. Adapting to Change and Inspiring Others

Our ability to change, both inside and out, is a key positive outcome of coaching. Resilience increases when we’re able to face the current situation and persevere. If you want to fulfill your purpose and potential, you must embrace change. Hope sparks when we face challenges today, yet we envision a brighter, better future. If you’re leading others, you use this visionary ability to inspire them to move forward as well. This occurs often with high quality coaching.

These are all elements of the Transformer style. It’s about helping others become the version of themselves they want to be. This often involves facing difficult emotions or circumstances and finding strength within. If you want to fulfill your potential and help others fulfill theirs, your coach will need to embody the Transformer style.

What You Need from Your Coach

To get the 80 outcomes listed here, your coach needs all 7 RESPECT Coaching Styles™. Unfortunately, based on my research from delivering the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ assessment to thousands, most coaches specialize in 2 of the 7 RESPECT styles. They marginally use 3 of 7. And they rarely use 2 styles. The uncomfortable truth is that from most coaches, you’re likely going to get about a third to a half of the value you should be receiving.

If you have a coach, or are thinking about hiring one, the best way to ensure you’re getting high-quality interactions is to ensure your coach is trained and certified in the RESPECT Coaching Styles™. At OwlHub, all our coaches are not only trained and certified in RESPECT, but they also teach programs in RESPECT coaching and leadership. Rest assured you’ll be getting the best outcomes possible if you choose coaching with OwlHub

In the meantime, here is the list of all the possible outcomes you can look forward to receiving.

The Top 80 Research-Based Coaching Outcomes

1.    Adaptability to change

2.    Agency

3.    Anxiety reduction

4.    Authenticity

5.    Autonomy

6.    Coaching ability

7.    Coaching culture increase

8.    Cognitive flexibility

9.    Collaboration (seeks input and feedback)

10. Commitment by employee

11. Commitment by subordinates

12. Communication skills

13. Competency

14. Connection with others

15. Customer service improvement

16. Depression reduction

17. Effectiveness increase

18. Employee satisfaction

19. Empowerment

20. Engagement

21. Environmental mastery

22. Feedback sharing with direct reports

23. Feeling valued

24. Fulfillment

25. Goal attainment

26. Goal clarity

27. Goal difficulty increase

28. Goal progress

29. Goal setting

30. Goal strategy increase

31. Happiness

32. Hope

33. Insight

34. Inspirational, motivational, visionary

35. Job satisfaction

36. Leadership skills

37. Leadership effectiveness

38. Learning Deepened

39. Life satisfaction

40. Mindfulness

41. Negative emotion reduction

42. Openness to change

43. Organizational & team performance

44. Overcoming obstacles

45. Ownership

46. Performance at work

47. Performance rating increases

48. Personal growth

49. Planning

50. Problem-solving

51. Productivity

52. Purpose in life and work

53. Quality of work

54. Quality of life

55. Reflectiveness

56. Relationship with direct reports

57. Relationship with cross-functional peers

58. Resilience

59. Retention increase

60. Rumination reduction

61. Satisfaction with coworkers

62. Satisfaction with managers

63. Self-acceptance

64. Self-actualization

65. Self-awareness

66. Self-confidence

67. Self-control

68. Self-reflection

69. Shareholder value

70. Strategic alignment

71. Stress reduction

72. Succession planning

73. Support and encouragement

74. Team-player and team builder

75. Time-management

76. Transformational leadership

77. Turnover intention decrease

78. Value clarification

79. Well-being

80. Work-life balance

Which outcomes do you want most? Connect with us if you’d like to explore how we could increase your coaching outcomes today. 

David Morelli, PhD

David Morelli, PhD

David is the CEO and co-founder of OwlHub and the creator of the RESPECT Coaching Styles™. He has 25 years of executive coaching and leadership development experience. When he's not inspiring people to grow, you can find him making a fool of himself onstage as an improviser.

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