Publication Date

Fall 2016


Executive coaching is used for a variety of purposes in today’s corporations. As recently as fifteen years ago, coaching was used primarily to address toxic behavior by senior executives. While coaching is still used for this purpose, coaches are currently engaged for a wider variety of reasons, including talent management, satisfaction of legal/compliance requirements, reinforcement of desired leadership behaviors, and improving organizational morale.

To achieve these objectives, companies can engage individuals from outside the company with a variety of certifications (“external coaches”) or leverage capable leaders with coaching experience from inside the company (“internal coaches”). In making the decision of whether to engage an external or internal coach, there is no right answer for all situations. Companies should conduct a case-by-case analysis, weighing a variety of factors that may lead a company to choose an internal coach in one situation, or an external coach in another. Equally important, companies should identify metrics and measurement strategies for evaluating coaching success, including both qualitative and quantitative data where available.


Suggested Citation
Conboy, K., & Kelly, C. (2016). What are the best practices and the most effective measurement strategies for companies using formalized internal coaches vs. hiring external coaches? Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright held by the authors.