Purpose — To identify the distinguishing characteristics and future challenges for the business coaching industry in Australia. Design/methodology/approach — A telephone survey of business coaching firms was used to identify the main structural characteristics of the industry. Structured interviews with selected business coaches were used to identify the key business and professional issues they faced. Findings — Firms in the business coaching industry in Australia have three main characteristics: most firms are young and small; most are not exclusively dedicated to coaching; and most have a poor appreciation of the competitive environment in which they operate. Practical implications — The research identified three main challenges for the business coaching industry that will need to be addressed if business coaching is to develop further: the challenge of defining standards of service and performance that do not inhibit the flexible and personal orientation of the coaching process; the challenge of developing a more coherent and well understood perception of the nature and benefits of business coaching amongst industry more generally; and the challenge of establishing robust and durable coaching businesses that can take leadership in growing and developing the industry. Originality/value — Business coaching is an emerging industry that is increasingly being used to provide learning-based interventions in organizations. To date there has been little formal research into the nature of this industry or the services it provides. This paper addresses this by examining the “state of play” of business coaching in Australia.
- Business improvement
- Organizational change