ACCA research reveals weaknesses in coaching and mentoring across the finance profession

Research conducted by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) reveals that coaching and mentoring is being poorly practised across the finance profession, revealing a lack of understanding of good practice and ultimately leading to poor returns on training investment.

Key findings of the report, entitled “The Coaching and Mentoring Revolution – is it working?” surveyed 700 ACCA members across 170 countries, reveals that although most organisations believe in coaching and mentoring, it is an aspiration – not a reality. Few organisations are currently seeking to embed a coaching culture across their businesses:

  1. 85% of respondents believed it would be beneficial to use coaches but over 60% of organisations do not use accredited internal or external coaches to develop the competencies of finance professionals.
  2. 85% of respondents deemed it beneficial to implement a coaching culture but lack of buy in from senior management remains a challenge for the establishment of coaching practices in many organisations.
  3. Although many employers include coaching as a style of leadership in their management training programmes, it is not seen as a compulsory requirement.

The report confirms that coaching practices tend to be restricted to senior management only, and suggests that the profession would benefit from wider adoption at all levels of management. It also advises that better understanding of cost benefit of coaching and mentoring practices would aid buy-in.

Tony Osude, Head of Professional Development at ACCA says: “Even in these lean times, organisations are struggling to maximise their return on investment in their people. Though coaching and mentoring practices continue to evolve and good practices exist at some of the larger global organisations, there is a lack of understanding of good practice more generally across the profession.”

Jamie Lyon, co-author of the report at ACCA, says: “We see very clearly that the establishment of coaching and mentoring practices across the profession is an aspiration rather than a reality for most organisations. Coaching and mentoring is incredibly powerful but unfortunately in many cases these benefits are not materialising because the practices are not being utilised as widely as they could be.”

Nicki Hickson of Ernst & Young says, “When Richard King, Ernst & Young Managing Partner UK and Ireland, talks openly about his own coaching programme and the need for 'Emotional Intelligence' in all leaders and professionals, that’s when the firm knows we are serious about coaching and mentoring.”

Tony Osude concludes, “These are harsh economic times and budgets will be trimmed. Everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck and coaching gives you that. We think there are a number of actions organisations can take to improve the coaching process – wider adoption and training of more finance professionals as accredited coaches would be beneficial, at middle and senior management level. Having a good mentor is often key to successful career development.”

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