A Fresh Perspective

September 19, 2014 • Coaching, LEADERSHIP, Leadership Development

By Damian Goldvarg

Increasing numbers of individuals and organisations are discovering the powerful role that coaching can play in developing themselves. Below, Damian Goldvarg illustrates the competitive advantage that professional coaching can give to an organisation, and the benefits it can bring to employees.

In the last four years, global awareness of and participation in professional coaching have increased despite challenging economic times. The reason for this is simple: When it comes to cultivating next-level leadership skills and effectively responding to challenges, coaching works!

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal and professional change. Coaching is, by definition, different from other personal and organisational support interventions, such as consulting, mentoring, training and therapy.

A growing number of individuals and organisations are discovering the powerful role coaching can play in developing themselves and their employees. According to the 2014 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, commissioned by ICF and conducted by the International Survey Unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the No. 1 reason consumers cite for participating in a coaching relationship is optimising individual/team work performance (42 percent), followed by expanding professional career opportunities (33 percent), increasing self-esteem/self-confidence(31 percent), improving business management strategies (29 percent) and managing work/life balance (27 percent).

Individuals and organisations that choose to partake in professional coaching report an array of benefits, including fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness and increased confidence. Indeed, 85 percent of coaching consumers report being “somewhat” or “very” satisfied by the coaching experience.


One organisation that has discovered the widespread benefits of a professional coaching initiative is JOEY Restaurant Group. JOEY is a premium casual-dining restaurant chain based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with 30 restaurants located across Canada and Washington State.

For JOEY, the creation of a company-wide coaching initiative provided an innovative way to address the No. 1 issue in the restaurant industry: high employee turnover that strips the pipeline of talented potential leaders. In 2008, the organisation’s vice president of human resources, Andrew Martin, approached Essential Impact, an Executive Coaching firm and coach-training provider, to learn how to build a coaching culture within the organisation. Essential Impact provided 60 hours of coach-specific training to a select class of senior leaders and regional managers tapped to become internal coach practitioners. A shorter course of coach-specific training was offered to head office staff, head chefs and general managers.

A growing number of individuals and organisations are discovering the powerful role coaching can play in developing themselves and their employees.

Today, JOEY has 36 trained internal coaches – many of whom have earned, or are on track to earning, ICF Credentials that signify their commitment to outstanding coaching and professional development – and more than 540 individuals in its coaching structure. External surveys completed by employees as part of the Best Workplaces in Canada program demonstrate high employee engagement and satisfaction. Al Jessa, JOEY’s chief operating officer and an ICF Associate Certified Coach himself, says that the organisation’s coaching culture has also become a crucial component in attracting and retaining top talent. “If you take on a leadership role within our company, we will provide a fully funded educational experience that allows you to get educated on the job,” he explains. “Once people know that’s the kind of leadership culture we have, they realise that there is way more added value in a career with JOEY. We train people in coaching; that’s something most companies in our sector are not offering. It has become a massive competitive advantage for us.”

To learn more about how JOEY and other organisations around the globe are using professional coaching to drive innovation, visit to download ICF’s latest report on the power of coaching.

About the Author

DamianGoldvarg-1Damian Goldvarg, Ph.D., MCC, is the 2014 Global Chair for the International Coach Federation (ICF). He has more than 15 years of experience as an Executive Coach working with individuals and organizations around the world. His focus is on leadership development, including executive assessment and coaching, talent management, performance feedback, and leadership training.




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