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A $100M Bet That Online Coaching Can Make a Better Manager

Lightspeed Venture Partners
Human Resources
the Wharton School of Business
James Cook University
Condé Nast

Alexi Robichaux
Will Kohler
Lee Hecht Harrison
Laszlo Bock
Gabriella Kellerman
Peter Cappelli
Summer Davies
Anna Blackman
Chris Hadfield
David Bowie's


Silicon Valley

California Privacy Rights


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Positivity     48.00%   
   Negativity   52.00%
The New York Times
Write a review: Wired

The way Alexi Robichaux tells it, his online executive coaching company BetterUp didn’t start because he was a bummed-out, burned-out mid-level manager on a vision quest. “In just about every company, you don’t have the financial, analytic, and technology resources to do cutting-edge work in the people field,” says Laszlo Bock, who spearheaded a data-driven HR push at Google and then left to found Humu, which aims at improving employee happiness and retention not through coaching but through sentiment analysis and behavioral psychology. Metaphorically, that is—where “fly” means “increased productivity, better retention, higher job satisfaction.” Coaching has, BetterUp reps insist, good ROI. “One of the problems with coaching is that evidence has not been part of it, and measurement has not been core to the experience,” says Gabriella Kellerman, who runs research at BetterUp. She touts a series of validated psychometric measures of effectiveness as reasons a company might go with BetterUp rather than another provider.Study after study says that while coaching may benefit workers, reliable results are hard to come by. “I’d say it depends on what the coach does, and the risk when doing this at scale is making sure there is a good fit and that useful work is being done,” says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School of Business. And, sure, those all sound like skills that’d be good to have at home, too.If, as a result, your productivity increases, you’re a more inspirational manager of others, and you stay in the same job longer, that’s a conversion of your personal fulfillment into dollars.

As said here by Adam Rogers