Analysing the data: What metrics can tell you about what’s happening in your organisation.




Research finds that 89% of people in academia believe coaching is key to advancing their careers*.

*Our research was carried out using participant evaluations from 3 cohorts, over a period of 2 years.


People-focused, innovative organisations see the value in coaching and what it has to offer in relation to business and growth. For many organisations, their leaders have been coached and their own personal experiences of coaching can help drive buy-in for it, leading to coaching programmes trickling down to managers, teams, and individuals. They are invested in it, but all too often, it’s difficult to prove the cost/benefit value of a coaching programme to both the individual and organisation.

So, how do we gather the data from coaching conversations that is needed by leaders to inform strategic decisions and grow businesses?

At its very core, coaching is a developmental tool rooted in trust and confidence between the coach and coachee. Naturally, we don’t divulge the content of an individual’s coaching session but when we are running multiple coaching programmes from one organisation, we can start to see certain themes emerging. These themes can begin to draw out some interesting information about an organisation’s culture, internal and external influences on individual and organisational behaviours and sector-wide beliefs, allowing us to begin to identify what an organisation’s needs may be.

How this project came about

In 2019, Coaching Direct was appointed to deliver a career coaching programme with one of the top 5 UK universities. The aim of the programme was to provide a safe, confidential space for thirteen women within clinical and academic faculties to receive a programme of six goal-orientated coaching sessions, over a ten-month period, with ThinkEQ.

Surprisingly, when participants were evaluated part-way through their programme, and again at the end, in an industry of intellectuals, a high volume of participants reported that they frequently experienced feelings of low self-worth. With most respondents indicating that they felt this, it became apparent that low self-worth, low confidence was widespread in academia. Further, the feelings of low self-worth were exacerbated by heavy workloads, a difficulty in prioritising workloads, coping with the effects of change and a feeling that there was limited scope for progression in their roles.

Coachees were followed up 6 months after their programme to find out about their current situation. Of those who responded, all expressed the view that the coaching experience had been productive, successful, and positive. 100% of participants who responded stated that they would recommend the coaching programme.

In 2021, ThinkEQ was again appointed to deliver career coaching programme to a further ten women. Coachees were evaluated using the same criteria as before both during, and at the end of their coaching programmes. The following themes were observed:

Now in its third year, the career coaching programme has grown in both scope and diversity. 39 places have been awarded and the offer extended to both academics and professional services staff. The offer has been taken up by 7 men and 32 women.

What information we gathered

As with the first cohort, the themes of low self-confidence in role, alongside management of personal time and work/life balance were identified as areas of particular concern for coachees. Low self-confidence and general feelings of ‘not being good enough’ were very apparent in academia, particularly among women. Several coachees expressed anxiety about being ‘found out’ and admitted feeling stressed as a result of comparing themselves to others.

Our recommendations

Alongside a coaching programme, our suggestion, which was taken up, was to offer a workshop out to the wider faculty, exploring the subject of ‘imposter syndrome’ and the triggers that lead to low self-worth. The workshops were designed and implemented to be strategy focused.

Balancing workload, alongside family and general life commitments was again highlighted as an area of particular concern. Several coachees indicated that their workloads were unmanageable, leaving them little free time and resulting in feeling ‘tearful’ ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘not good enough’. Our suggestion to the university was to look at development opportunities with a positive psychology, time management and strengths angle. A strengths-based approach development leverages strengths; realised and unrealised, learned behaviours and weaknesses to reframe how we use our skills and how we can dial down and/or delegate the strengths that exhaust and drain us.

Our impact

We supported coachees to bring about real change

In our survey of all the respondents, almost all believed that it was time well spent, with a staggering 89% agreeing that they believed it would help them achieve their goals and advance their careers.

We provided the University with the data they weren’t aware of

We provided the University with the information needed to make relevant and necessary learning and development choices, offering a tangible return on their limited financial investment. We equipped leaders with the data needed to more deeply understand what it is like to be an employee of the University, to home in on and really make use of the strengths and opportunities that exist for staff within the organisation and also use feedback to start to bring about cultural changes.
Managing coaching programmes at this scale and of this frequency is huge undertaking. With limited time and resources, ThinkEQ liaised with the programme leads to understand how they wanted to use coaching. From there, we supported with the advertising and promotion of the offer, the shortlisting and communication, the onboarding of coachees and matching to coach and all of the administrative activity associated with gathering coaching contracts, evaluating the programme and providing the aforementioned insights and themes.

Are you curious to find out what coaching can tell you about your organisation? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help –