D'Onofrio Consulting Partners

The Impact of Executive Coaching

December 1, 2016 • Executive Coaching

Reyes Liske, J. M., & Holladay, C. L. (2016). Evaluating coaching’s effect: competencies, career mobility and retention. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 37(7), 936–948.



A recently published study explored the impact of an executive coaching program (consisting of executive coaching and group coaching) in a U.S. healthcare organization. Results indicated that leaders who participated in the program demonstrated significantly improved leadership competencies and significantly higher retention rates one-year post-program, compared to the control group.


Employing a group of 84 leaders (25 men & 59 women) and a control group of 67 participants, the researchers used a 360-degree assessment pre and post coaching that measured six leadership competencies (thinking, interpersonal, communication, people leadership, self-management and technical knowledge).


  • A significant change in leaders’ competencies was found in pre and post 360 assessment ratings. The 360 reassessment was conducted nine months after the conclusion of the coaching program which lasted 9 months. An improvement was also found in all six competencies when compared to the control group.
  • Higher promotion and retention rates were found one-year post-program when the two groups were compared.
  • Significantly higher gains were observed in thinking, people leadership and communication competencies compared to the interpersonal, self-management and technical knowledge competencies.

Practical Implications

Measuring the return on coaching investment has remained an elusive goal for many organizations. This study contributes to the relatively sparse tangible impact of coaching within organizations.

“The initial findings from this study provide evidence of the positive impact the coaching program can have for individuals who are in a supervisor to executive level capacity to further strengthen their own self-awareness along with their leadership abilities. The findings further suggest the appropriateness of such interventions and support organizations making coaching programs available to these leaders.”

The study researchers noted a limitation of their study – the inability to distinguish between one-on-one coaching, group coaching or the combination of both – on the study’s results. They conclude with a recommendation for future research on the two coaching modalities.

Full Article Link

Recommended Reading and References

  • ROI Institute. Founded in 1992 by Jack J. Phillips, Ph.D. and Patti P. Phillips, Ph.D. the ROI Institute focuses on measuring and evaluating training, human resources, technology and quality programs and initiatives.

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