Large organisations to have own coaching departments in near future

Large organisations will have their own coaching departments in the near future.

That’s the prediction of Darren Shirlaw, founder and head of business services company Shirlaws. Speaking at the recent launch of its corporate coaching service, he told an audience of about 300 clients, contacts and prospects from the UK business world “in 10 years’ time there will be coaching departments in companies” – rather than the hiring of independents as is the case now.

Shirlaw said such coaching departments will report to chief learning officers (CLOs), who will manage learning and development activities and have a seat on the board. “You’ll all have a CLO in five years’ time,” he told his audience.

He added that HR directors may well report to CLOs as companies re-structured their boards to give more prominence to learning and development and related activities.

Shirlaws Corporate Coaching, which was launched at the event, will target organisations with a turnover more than £200m a year. It has about 100 coaches on its books and is recruiting more. Most are self-employed associates.

Shirlaw said the UK coaching market, based on figures produced by management consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this year, is worth about £100m. He said 45% of that market was executive and leadership coaching, with business coaching accounting for 10%. Shirlaws said it has 40% – in revenues – of the UK business coaching market, or about £4m in revenues.

The company was founded in Australia in 1999 and set up in the UK in 2003.

Shirlaw also told his audience that the eponymous company will be able to prove return on investment in coaching through a scorecard method. This will take the form of a “capability management tool”, which will be used to measure various performance indicators before, during and after coaching takes place.

These include managing staff, decision-making and key performance indicators.

Until now, Shirlaws has focused on the small- and medium-sized enterprise market, where its clients include construction company Mace and the Queen’s lawyers Farrer and Co.

“We aim to become the definitive coaching outfit in the next five years,” said Shirlaw.

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