Monday, May 21, 2012

Self-Coaching: What is it?... and Does it Work?!

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 by International Coach Federation

Typically, people consider coaching as a way to catalyze some type of change: change in career, change in behavior, change in business results and change in life satisfaction. Most often, coaching interventions involve employing an individual who serves as a coach to help facilitate that change, but what would it look like if individuals could coach themselves? More importantly, is it really possible for self-coaching to effect positive change?!

A self-coaching solution. That's what researchers (Kmiec, et. al., 2012) set out to discover in a recent self-coaching program with managers of a plastics manufacturing organization. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design, two groups of managers were formed: a control group, which received no self-coaching intervention; and an experimental group, which received the self-coaching intervention. The self-coaching intervention included: Five self-coaching skills that were taught to managers during a 90-day learning program, combining classroom and online instruction, on-the-job skills practice, journaling and peer interaction to learn, apply and develop a regular habit of employing self-coaching behaviors.

Did it work? The results showed that self-coaching did indeed affect positive change. Not only did the employees of the managers in the experimental group have significantly higher work engagement scores than the employees of the managers in the control group after the intervention, but the experimental group also saw an improvement in productivity that resulted in a 399% return-on-investment. In other words, for every dollar invested in the self-coaching program, the invested dollar was returned and another $3.99 was generated.

In this study, self-coaching worked! The data suggest that the managers practicing self-coaching created a more motivational work environment leading to increased work engagement and productivity in their line employees.

You can read more about the study in: Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI (ASTD, 2012).

1. Kmiec, J., S. Dugas, C. Gaudet, H. Annulis, M. N. McNeese, and S. Bush. (2012). Self-Coaching as a Catalyst for Work Engagement and a Positive ROI. In Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press: pp. 131-162.

Lisa Ann Edwards
Lisa Ann Edwards, M.S., is a partner of Bloom Coaching Institute, an organization that advances coaching effectiveness through research, tools, training and consultation on ROI of Coaching. Lisa's coaching work has demonstrated as much as a 251% return-on-investment and has been shown to lift employee engagement nearly 20%. As head of Talent Management for Corbis, a Bill Gates' privately owned global media company, Lisa was responsible for designing and implementing effective talent development solutions including leadership development and coaching programs. Lisa is a frequent contributing author to trade publications and has authored or contributed to many books including: Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI (ASTD Press, 2012). Contact Lisa at:


  1. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

    I think self-coaching will not work for all manager. Or maybe it will, but you might in the beginning still need a coach.

    There are a few important prerequisites to make self-coaching a success. One of them is discipline. To implement the daily self-coach rituals in your life you need willpower. And that’s something a coach can help you with. ;)

    What do you think?



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  3. Hello Peter,

    I am just seeing your comment today. :)

    Your point is well taken and illustrates exactly why it's important to measure and evaluate the success of any coaching program. Without measurement, we have no idea whether or not the coaching program worked.

    In the case study I wrote about, the outcomes of learning and behavior change related to self-coaching were, in fact, measured. The data shows that these self-coaching behaviors were applied to some degree. This is why capturing data is so important.

    Thank you for your comment!


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