Cumbria Crack

Is the Coaching Explosion over in Cumbria?

Lucy Harrison

93% of organisations in Cumbria believe executive coaching is very effective at both supporting senior leaders and developing specific behaviours at work, but a quarter of them don’t currently use coaching.

This was just one of the statistics discovered in the Harrison Network’s recent study of how Coaching is currently used in Cumbrian organisations.

Coaching in the workplace has exploded as a development tool and has become widespread in Cumbria in the last 10 years. It is a technique that encourages the individual or team to learn through experience and reflection rather than teaching and advice.

Organisations use coaching in different ways. Some have never heard of it. Some have been using it for years – using expert independent coaches, training internally and even embedding a ‘coaching approach’ across the organisation. This can have a significantly positive effect on the culture and performance of the organisation.

But it can be a confusing landscape if you don’t know what you are looking for. There is a whole language that has built up around it. There are Executive Coaches, Business Coaches, Leadership Coaches, Life Coaches, Financial Coaches, Career Coaches…. And many, many more.

Lucy, founder and Director of the Harrison Network has been studying and practicing as a professional coach for 4 years. She and her team coach individuals across Cumbria and the UK, and help them embed a coaching approach into vital conversations across business.

She wanted to find out more about how coaching is being used in Cumbria, both for ongoing studies and out of interest in the field.

“We had a brilliant response!” says Lucy, “We were really excited to discover what is going on in Cumbria and link it to national research.”

A whopping 60% of the respondents state they understand the value of coaching, and 43% describe themselves as having a coaching culture, compared to 13% in a national survey. Lucy recognises that these results may be skewed by her network bias, but this is still an amazing proportion. Out of these, around 70% use a mixture of internal and external coaches.

Quarter of the respondents do not currently use coaching, with time and money being the most common barriers. Respondents overwhelmingly recognised the effectiveness of coaching in developing people, their behaviours, careers, organisational change, engagement and performance, as well as the benefits to senior executives and leadership techniques as a whole. Indeed 61% of respondents rated coaching as 5/5 (Really Effective) in developing specific behaviours in the workplace. With 32% stating it as 4 – Effective.

“We were surprised that only 40% of respondents stated that experience and qualifications were important in choosing a coach.” Says Lucy, “With the growth in professionalisation of the sector (which stemmed from the wide range of quality in coaching), we would have expected this figure to be higher. Coaches in Cumbria are still chosen mostly on their rapport (73%) and confidence (70%), which is less easy to demonstrate.”

Few people comprehensively measure the impact of coaching, but the perception of its value in developing leadership, teamwork, wellbeing, emotional intelligence, performance, commitment, relations, engagement and job satisfaction was staggering.

If you would like to find out more about the full results, Lucy Harrison, Director of the Harrison Network will be presenting them at the following events:

North Lakes Networking evening, Inn on the Square, Keswick, Tues 17th July 7-9pm, please book online at

CIPD Cumbria Branch Annual Dinner, Sat 28th July, Carlisle (contact CIPD Cumbria directly)

The Harrison Network was founded by Lucy Harrison from her home near Keswick in 2014, and delivers coaching based support across Cumbria and beyond.

Lucy is a registered Member of the Association for Coaching (MAC) and is studying for a masters-level coaching qualification. She runs a network of independent experts, who help organisations drive cultural and performance change and support teams and individuals whilst they do so.

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