Thousands of city bankers are amongst those looking for a fresh start in this new year. The success of the recent TV show ‘Billions’ has shone a light onto the world of coaching high flyers and more City bankers than ever before are signing up for emotional, nutritional and sometimes even spiritual support. Far from frothy coffee shop chatter, these services have become very big business.
Coaching in the City is actually one of the fastest growing support services in financial services. According to a recent study by ICF global – revenue for executive coaching alone has now far exceeded £1 billion with some estimates closer to £5 billion. The industry is not just 1-2-1 coaching for CEOs. It is also fast becoming built into vast systems behind such pensions and employee benefits systems of the world’s biggest companies.
Thousands of firms now offer employees the chance to choose a range of alternative benefits as part of their salary package. Increasingly people are choosing services like wellbeing plans, nutritional advice and an assortment of supportive apps instead of the more traditional share options and travel cards.
The global consultancy Penna, which has coached over 30,000 people, recently reported a sharp rise in high-flying women over 35 who are seeking coaching support. Most commonly the advice being sort is focused on how to reinvigorate their careers. According to the leading providers of wellbeing services – the coaching journey often starts with the following questions and soul searching:
“I don’t know what my next step is”
“My personal values don’t match what I do at work”
“I’ve lost my enthusiasm”
“My heart isn’t in it anymore”
The top wellbeing coach Adam Lloyd explains that the answer isn’t always to leave your job and set up a new business:
“Some people do change career but just as many find fresh ways of tackling their existing job. Coaching that seems to work the best is when we find smart ways of blending professional and personal. Very often issues such as nutrition can make a big difference to performance levels. It is about asking the right questions and developing solutions that really work – as opposed to concepts or lofty rhetoric.”
There are many studies that show there are sound economic reasons to take this work seriously. Many of the benefits of coaching can cause direct financial benefit. There are many robust studies conducted by Fortune 500 companies that prove how in some cases better ’emotional intelligence’ has caused sales to leap over 50%. A global Towers Watson study even showed a clear correlation between companies with the best communication and increased shareholder returns.
So we know that the areas tackled by top business coaches can and do impact commercial success. And then there is the big issue of workplace stress. And it is an astoundingly big problem. Career coaching can be a highly effective way to help manage work-related stress. Something suffered by close to half a million people last year alone.
Work-related stress resulted in 11 million days off sick, which cost the UK economy over £7 billion last year. That’s the price of building 70 brand new hospitals. Seven billion – a number so large that mathematicians tell us if you tried to count to it without skipping numbers in between would take you 200 years!
That’s all on top of a rise in what researchers’ term ‘presenteeism’ where employees come to work tired, demotivated and too anxious to be effective. 2017 is sure to bring plenty of economic challenges. Brexit negotiations, turbulent currency markets and our first look at ‘Trumpenomics’ to name just a few. So as we all prepare to get back to work – maybe a major investment in our own wellbeing is the smartest way to begin a busy financial year.