In Corporate Limbo: Peer Coaching Programs

Low Priority, Lack of Concept Clarity Hinder Program Development in Most Companies

SEATTLE, WA (October 28, 2009) - So much for sharing. According to a recent Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) study, less than a third of companies have a peer coaching program in place, and half don't have plans to implement one anytime soon.

The study found that while 27% of all study respondents currently have a peer coaching initiative, 50% do not have one, nor do they envision the implementation of such a program. The findings are fairly evenly split when company size is taken into consideration. In large firms (10,000 or more employees), 29% have a program in place, but 45% said they don't and have no plans to add one. That compares to 25% of small organizations (fewer than 1,000 workers) that have a program, and 51% that do not and don't plan to.

For the majority of companies that do not have a peer coaching element in place, almost 60% said other initiatives are seen as a higher priority, and 32% cited a lack of knowledge about the concept and its benefits.

"Since less than one-third of organizations have a peer coaching program in place, and just a small fraction of that group uses any metrics at all to assess the effectiveness of their programs, it's not a big surprise that most companies are unclear about peer coaching and its benefits," said i4cp Senior Research Analyst Holly Tompson. "However, companies that use peer coaching report more engaged employees and higher productivity in general. Many organizations got interested in peer coaching this past year as a cheaper alternative to bringing in outsiders from coaching firms. As the economy starts to rebound, it will be interesting to see how many stay with it, not just because it's cheaper, but because it works."

In a nod to the perceived importance of peer coaching, however, companies that do have programs in place are generally happy with them. Overall, 42% of organizations say they've seen positive results from their peer coaching initiatives from a high to very high degree. And, when offered, the programs appear to be popular. Of those companies that have programs, 78% said they are voluntary (91% in large companies), and nearly half (46%) said their employees take advantage of the offer.

Regarding peer coaching program training, 51% of polled organizations said the training is "an overview that gets people started," while 31% said their training is extensive and detailed. Eleven percent of all companies reported that their peer coaching training is minimal.

Overall, the areas peer coaching is used in is headed by use of peer coaching to improve employee engagement, cited by 56% of respondents, followed by the need to address specific workplace problems or issues (54%) and 53% said such programs are utilized to improve development opportunities.

The Peer Coaching Pulse Survey was conducted by i4cp in October of 2009. The full results of the survey are available exclusively for all i4cp corporate members.

About i4cp, inc.

i4cp is the world's largest vendor-free network of corporations focused on improving workforce productivity. Our vendor-free community facilitates innovation by giving our members - among the largest and most respected organizations in the world - access to:
  1. Peers to spark new ideas and prevent "reinventing the wheel,"
  2. Research to enable members to understand current practices and next practices,
  3. Tools to put ideas and research into action,
  4. Technology to enable members to easily access tailored information and execute workforce strategies.
With more than 40 years of experience and the industry's largest team of human capital analysts, i4cp is the definitive destination for organizations seeking innovative ways to improve workforce productivity. For more information, visit
Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.