The study explored the perception of executive coaching among the chief executive officers (CEOs) of America's largest 500 companies as shown on Fortune magazine list of April 15, 2002.
This study utilized an instrument of 12 questions. The questionnaire was sent to the CEOs of the top 500 American companies. A cover letter and a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope were provided. Attribute responses were coded and analyzed using several descriptive statistical tools.
Out of the 500 targeted CEOs, 143 participated in this study. Seventy-six percent of the respondents demonstrated a good understanding of the basic concepts of executive coaching. Eighty-three percent were able to distinguish coaching from consulting, 61% stated that coaching can make their life somewhat better, 49% agreed on the idea of hiring executive coaches, and 32% declared that they had hired coaches.
Those who never hired a coach showed a great deal of willingness (37%) to hire one. Sixty-two percent of the respondents indicated a preference for coaches from outside their organizations, 51% would search for one through human resources, 31% preferred sites off their company premises for coaching sessions, and 43% would keep their coaching relationship confidential.
Thirty-nine percent of the participants expressed the belief that coaching should not be limited to a specific management level, and 37% said they supported research related to executive coaching.
Based on these findings, executive coaching can be considered as a worthwhile investment. Future studies may take a closer look at the details and characteristics of the coaching session, and may explore what is called the "trusted advisor," someone who is believed to be much closer to the client than is the coach.