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2016 Trends in Human Capital and Executive Coaching

September 1, 2016 • Executive Coaching, Human Capital


Two important reports have been published in the last six months which will be of interest to Human Resource professionals. In this post, we review the key findings from both studies that relate to leadership development.

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 – 10 trends are identified in this year’s study, spanning organization design and culture; learning, leadership, and workforce management; and even the HR function itself. Results were compiled from surveys and interviews from over 7,000 human resources and business leaders in 130 countries.

In the following 29 minute clip, Deloitte’s Josh Bersin and Nicky Wakefield discuss the most surprising and significant results from this year’s study, at the heart of which is the high incidence of planned or actual organizational redesign, reported by 75% of survey respondents. The need for greater customer-focus and agility has hastened the growth of team-based organizations, structured by products, projects, teams and geographies. Factors such as changing demographics, digital transformation, data analytics and contingent labor are also addressed.

Clearly, organizations are grappling with the leadership implications of these changes. In fact leadership is ranked second in importance (behind organizational design) in terms of its importance:

“Fully 89 percent of executives in this year’s survey rated the need to strengthen, reengineer, and improve organizational leadership as an important priority. The traditional pyramid shaped leadership development model is simply not producing leaders fast enough to keep up with the demands of business and the pace of change.” Deloitte

One key take-away from the study is the finding that high-performing organizations spend up to four times as much on leadership development than average organizations and their c-suites and boards are actively involved in developing leaders.


Conference Board 2016 Ninth Bi-Annual Executive Coaching

The Conference Board study is smaller in size and scope but also noteworthy. 181 organizations participated in this year’s survey from around the world and the report also includes expert interviews and case studies from world-class organizations such as Google and MD Anderson. Key themes and trends include:

  • Coaching has evolved from remedial to developmental in focus and is used at all organization levels. The trend is to incorporate coaching at levels below the c-suite and senior organization levels. Leaders are being identified at lower levels and prepared for future roles. Coaching use is shifting from addressing current performance needs and issues to being developmental in focus – a key tool to develop leaders for future roles.
  • Coaching is a component of leadership development programs. Coaching complements other approaches to leadership development and is targeted. The chart below shows the types of coaching currently used by company size (as measured by number of full time employees).
  • Coaching evaluation remains rudimentary. Companies continue to be dissatisfied with their evaluation methods, which for one-third of respondents involves formal and informal conversations with stakeholders. The report discusses Google’s approach which uses a rating system in an effort to improve measurement methods.
  • Use of internal coaching remains strong. Internal coaching is viewed as a cost-effective, scalable approach to developing the next generation of leaders. Sixty-nine percent of companies use internal coaches today and the same percentage anticipates doing so in the future.
  • Developing a coaching culture gains momentum. A greater focus is being placed on developing a coaching culture across the organizations studied and the study’s researchers predict this will continue to take center stage in the coming years.

Recommended Resources

  • Global Human Capital Trends 2016 – this site includes a wealth of information from this year’s study, including an interactive dashboard to benchmark your organization, downloadable report PDF, ten trends, infographic and online course (see below). All materials are free to access.
  • Global Human Capital Trends Course –  this free online course is offered by Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies in collaboration with Deloitte and covers the top-10 trends in global talent management. Course participants will learn the implications of these trends — from developing a flexible team-based organizational structure to enhancing employee positivity and productivity — and how their organization can address each effectively. Open to all, the Human Capital Global Trends Course is ideal for HR and other business professionals.

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