Summer of sport highlights need for career coaching

Robert Half, the worldwide leader in specialised recruitment suggests that there may be a disconnect between career coaches and employees in the workplace.

Robert Half Calls for Boost in Workplace Mentorship and Career Development 

  • 78% of employees believe that job performance is improved by career coaching - but only 56% feel their boss is an effective career coach
  • Workplace managers could learn from elite coaches, says Sally Gunnell, OBE, Olympic Gold Medalist 
  • Robert Half identifies four coach types: definitive, collaborative, persuader & diagnostic

London, 19 June 2012 – In anticipation of a summer of sport, with elite coaches from around the world showcasing their star athletes in the UEFA Euro and Tour de France competitions, new research from Robert Half, the worldwide leader in specialised recruitment suggests that there may be a disconnect between career coaches and employees in the workplace. According to a recent survey of 6,000 office workers across 12 countries, nearly eight in 10 (78%) employees indicate that career coaching helps improve their job performance, yet only 56% feel that their manager is an effective career coach. Other cited benefits of career coaching include improved motivation at work (64%) and increased overall job satisfaction (78%).

The countries that are most reliant on career coaches helping to improve job performance are Singapore (95%), Brazil (94%) and Hong Kong (88%). This compares to just 73% in the UK, 5 percentage points below the global average. 

Countries also differ on importance for motivation at work with Brazil (88%) and Singapore (84%) having the most impact and Netherlands (47%) and France (52%) having the least impact. The impact for the UK is 53%, 11 percentage points below the global average.

Despite the clear desire from employees for career coaching, almost a third (29%) of employees worldwide say that they never get career coaching from their boss while a fifth (20%) only get it once a year. Those least likely to get career coaching and indicate that their boss never provides coaching include Japan (39%), Italy (38%), UK (37%) and Netherlands (36%).

Employees believe that knowledge & expertise as well as mutual trust and respect are the top attributes for a career coach. In the UK, the ability to inspire is also seen as an important attribute, which echoes many of the top characteristics of the elite sporting coaches.

Phil Sheridan, managing director, Robert Half UK said: “It is interesting how countries differ in their views on the importance of career coaching. This is likely to be a reflection of local culture and workplace norms. Whereas nearly six in 10 (56%) UK office workers receive coaching once a year at most, this number drops to only one quarter (27%) of Brazilian respondents. While very different markets, the results suggest that UK workers are looking for more hands-on career guidance from their leadership. The importance of having a career coach is not only to keep employees motivated but also to improve productivity. As departments are being increasingly tasked to do more with less, the increase in productivity for employees under an effective career coach should be a primary consideration for companies.”

“There are numerous sporting metaphors that can be applied in the workplace, from visualising performance to inspiring success. Robert Half recently welcomed sporting legends Sally Gunnell and James Cracknell to share their stories in client events in London, Bristol and Birmingham.”

Sally Gunnell, OBE, Olympic Gold Medalist said: “My coach played a pivotal role in my development as an athlete throughout my career, cultivating the drive, determinism and passion required to excel in the world of athletics. Workplace managers can have the same impact on their teams – providing the guidance and nurturing required to help employees aspire to greatness throughout their careers.”

Robert Half categorised four coach types together with their characteristics and what steps coaches can take to get the most out of their relationships with their teams. 

Definitive coach

Their take-charge personality and commercial thinking makes them natural leaders. Highly competitive and results focused, they play to win, and want their employees to do the same. They are excellent at setting objectives and raise the bar high.

Collaborative coach

A generous coach with excellent listening skills, they are more than willing to “take one for the team”, and spend a great deal of time working to develop those around them. They have a deep understanding of team dynamics and are good at fostering cooperation among diverse groups.

Persuader coach

As “ideas people,” they have creativity to spare and are always willing to help their team brainstorm the next big idea or solution to a problem. They encourage their employees to think outside of the usual parameters, and can easily adapt to change.

Diagnostic coach

They run their department like a well-oiled machine: organisation and careful planning are the hallmarks of their coaching style, and employees know what to expect each day. They encourage their team to update their skills and use critical thinking to create solid business strategies; this comes from their natural problem-solving abilities.

Robert Half outlines the following steps for team leaders who want to improve their coaching success: 

  • Understand that coaching is part of your responsibilities as a senior professional and make time within your busy working day to communicate with your team. 
  • Work through the quiz to find out which coaching type you are and map your attributes onto the personalities of your team: who will respond best to which of your qualities?
  • Accept that you may need to amend some of your behaviours to meet individual needs.
  • Recognise that coaching is about ‘showing’ not just ‘telling’: it’s all about being an effective role model.
  • Look for inspiration from the resources available to you: your boss or your HR professional will be happy to help.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and