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Does Coaching Work? Scientific Evidence Points to Yes


Scientific evidence shows iPEC’s Core Energy Coaching™ model produces results for clients, including higher measures of life satisfaction.

You want to become a coach to help people reach their full potential. Most coach training programs promise to teach you a proven methodology for helping people shift and create more success in their lives. But do they actually work?

We’ve always had very strong anecdotal evidence, or qualitative data, that coaching works. For many people, that’s enough. But as a comprehensive coach education program that’s trained more than 15,000 coaches, it wasn’t enough for us.

iPEC sought quantitative data to demonstrate the effectiveness of our training program, in the form of scientific research. 

We wanted our graduates to have everything they needed to start their coaching practices, including clear evidence that the proprietary model we teach—Core Energy Coaching™ —truly brings about positive changes for clients.

Watch the Video to learn 3 simple, actionable coaching skills you can implement with your team today

What is Core Energy Coaching™?

Core Energy Coaching™ is an integral part of iPEC’s methodology and begins with a simple premise: All people are continually experiencing energy in one of two ways, catabolic or anabolic energy, postulated by Bruce D Schneider, founder of iPEC.

  • Anabolic energy is constructive, expanding, fueling, and creative, and works for a person. 
  • Catabolic energy is destructive, draining, or resisting and works against a person. 

It’s normal for the type of energy we experience to fluctuate situationally and throughout the day. However, we often wind up experiencing the same type of energy over and over again based on our general attitude and the way we interpret our life experiences.

As many people get stuck in draining, catabolic energy, iPEC coaches are trained to help them raise their energy levels and become more aware of their actions and choices. 

As a result of this shift to anabolic energy, people become more apt to inspire others, more open to innovation and possibility, and far better able to pursue goals and find fulfillment in their lives.

How Do We Measure the Effects of Coaching?

The true effect of working with a coach has been difficult to quantify. Now, with new research from iPEC, we have numbers—actual data—that shows how working with a core energy coach raises a person’s energy. In more concrete terms, this means that in any given situation, they’ll be able to respond with anabolic energy related to opportunity, curiosity, creativity, and intuition—versus more reactive, catabolic energy which presents as behaviors like blame, anger, and worry.

“We were looking for evidence that coaching worked,” says Lynn Waldorf, PhD, CPC, who was tasked with analyzing a data set that contained data from about 30,000 people who had taken iPEC’s proprietary Energy Leadership Index™ (ELI) assessment.

The ELI is a 70-item, web-based assessment that asks people to rate themselves on their beliefs, self-perceptions, emotional reaction tendencies, and behavior patterns. The questionnaire is designed to measure the amount of anabolic and catabolic energy in a person’s core energy makeup, under both ideal and stressful circumstances. The more a person can reduce catabolic energy and increase anabolic energy, the higher their core energy will be.

Finding #1: Coaching Raises Our Core Energy Level

The first question Waldorf was looking to answer with the data was if working with an iPEC-trained core energy coach could raise a person’s core energy. 

To do this, she identified and studied people who had taken the ELI twice—before and after working with a coach. She found that after working with a coach, people’s average resonating level of core energy increased from 3.25 to 3.52, a statistically significant increase.

“It may seem like a small increase, but it’s exponential in terms of growth,” said Liz Fisch, Former Senior Vice President of Program Development and Research for iPEC. 

“In coaching, things happen in small or large shifts, but even a small shift in any given moment can have a huge impact. If just one person shifts out of frustration and into the energy of opportunity, it can change the entire dynamic of a workplace or family.

For example, one choice to be compassionately curious with your partner instead of getting frustrated can change your entire connection. It only takes one second, one shift, but it can have a lifetime effect.”

Finding #2: Coaching Helps Us Respond Better In Stressful Situations

Most of us respond to stressful situations with a lot of catabolic energy (the energy of blame and frustration), which coaching can help move us out of. Waldorf wanted to measure what that shift looked like for people under stress—which is when the shift matters most.

She found that after working with an iPEC core energy coach, people’s percentage of catabolic energy decreased from 68.0 to 59.0 percent under stress, while their anabolic energy increased from 32.0 to 41.0 percent.

“These are very significant numbers, especially the decrease in catabolic energy. It indicates that coaching helped people become more in control of their thoughts and behaviors rather than have an automatic reaction inside a stressful situation,” Waldorf says.

Finding #3: Coaching Increases Our Life Satisfaction

“If someone’s core energy is higher and they are handling their stress better, does that impact how they report life satisfaction? Our theory was if all these areas are going better, things will have also gotten better for them in their lives,” Waldorf says.

In fact, she was right. After coaching, people reported increased levels of life satisfaction across the board, in 14 distinct areas ranging from financial success and engagement at work to personal freedom and intimate relationships.

The data, taken all together, tells a consistent story: There is clear evidence that Core Energy Coaching™ fulfills the promises it makes, and sets people up for realizing more success in life and in work.

You can read the full research paper here.

Shifting Energy = Greater Fulfillment, Purpose, and Ease

The shift toward anabolic energy allows people to access creativity and intuition more quickly, rather than resorting to frustration, resentment, and other low-level responses which can feel limiting and exhausting.

“It isn’t just about positive thinking,” Fisch says. “It’s something deeper. You are becoming more aware that you have a choice. Seeing the negative is a survival mechanism for some people. Core Energy Coaching™ allows you to realize it more quickly and shift out of it more quickly.”

Core Energy Coaching™ gives you the ability to cultivate these powerful shifts in yourself and everyone else around you to create healthy, inspiring relationships, and positive workplace dynamics.

Looking for simple strategies you can implement today, to become a more effective and impactful leader?

This 5-minute video from certified executive coach, Tonya Echols, will show you three simple, actionable strategies you can use starting today that’ll help you unlock new levels of innovation, collaboration, and commitment with your team.

Watch the Video to learn 3 simple, actionable coaching skills you can implement with your team today