The Ridler Report 2013 - key trends in executive coaching in the UK


The annual Ridler report provides invaluable information on current trends in the use of executive coaching in the UK. The 2013 edition reports on findings from in-depth assessment of executive coaching in 145 UK organisations. For those with limited time here is a summary of the key aspects from Managing Change:

Organisations' top priority for coaches is credibility and gravitas

Buyers of executive coaching are becoming more discerning in differentiating between coaching providers’ offerings. ‘Personal chemistry’ is a significant requirement and within this characteristic, 99% of sponsor organisations look for credibility and gravitas in executive coaches before putting them in front of a potential coachee. 97% seek evidence that the coach listens well. Knowledge of the sponsor’s sector was the least important of the criteria (68% considered this to be important) but “empathy with the complexity of the client organisation’s sector is critical.”

Executive coaching seen as sign of evidence of individual's value

Executive coaching is now seen by coachees as evidence of the organisation’s investment in them.
83% of coachees consider that coaching signifies that the organisation highly values them. Only 10% perceive that coaching implies general under-performance.

Organisations want awareness raising and challenging feedback

Once in the organisation, the most common requirement from sponsor organisations (83%) is for coaches to work insightfully to raise coachee’s awareness of the ingrained, psychological patterns of behaviour. 82% of organisations consider it important that the coach delivers challenging feedback to the coachee.

Face to face coaching preferred

There are still some concerns over the usefulness of remote coaching. 80% disagree that “remote coaching works well as a stand-alone coaching medium”. 84% consider that remote coaching is more productive if the coaching relationship has been established first on a face-to-face basis.

Executive coaching more highly rated than business school programmes

Executive coaching is more highly rated as a form of senior leadership development than business school programmes on all criteria tested and by a significant margin. 92% consider it 'slightly better or much better' than business school programmes at focusing on the most important issues of the individual and 87% for increasing the individual’s readiness for change. 70% consider that it results in sustained behaviour change 'slightly or much better' than business school programmes.

Organisations require higher levels of training from external coaches

Sponsors require higher levels of training and accreditation from external than their internal coaches supporting the perception that externals have higher levels of expertise and experience than internals. External coaching is still more prevalent than internal coaching except in cases of lateral moves within the organisation. Internal coaches are least likely to be working at senior level. Among senior management, 85% prefer external to internal coachees and few at this level use internal coaches.

Coachee rearranging/cancelling sessions biggest risk to success

94% of organisations questioned agreed that the most significant development which would indicate a risk to the success of an executive coaching assignment is the coachee rearranging/cancelling sessions frequently. Surprisingly, only 30% consider a risk to success exists if the coach spends social time with the coachee. [A professional view asserts that social contact is undesirable as it erodes the professional distance between the coach and the coachee].

Independent executive coaches are the most commonly used

47% of organisations questioned use independent executive coaches . The proportion of executive coaching commissioned from specialist coaching providers is expected to grow in the next two years. These are considered to be particularly useful for matching coaches to coachees and being able to access specialist skills.

We'll be providing more detailed information on aspects of the 2013 Ridler Report over the coming months.

To read more information, click here.

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