Get All Your Questions Answered! Attend This Month's Live Q&A Webinar

Get Started
Does Coaching Work? New Scientific Evidence Points to Yes
Blog Feature

Does Coaching Work? New Scientific Evidence Points to Yes


New scientific evidence that 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 work?

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

iPEC sought quantitative data, 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.

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 postulated by Bruce D Schneider, founder of iPEC: catabolic or anabolic energy. Anabolic energy is constructive, expanding, fueling, and creative, and works for a person. Conversely, catabolic energy is destructive, draining, or resisting and works against a person. The type of energy we experience fluctuates throughout the day and inside of situations. However, because of our attitude and the way we interpret our life experiences, we wind up experiencing the same type of energy over and over again.

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,, they’re 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 Can 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, so that in any given situation, one can choose to respond with anabolic energy related to opportunity, curiosity, creativity, and intuition versus more reactive, catabolic energy which reveals itself in 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 the Energy Leadership Index™ (ELI).

The ELI is a 70-item, web-based assessment that leads people through rating 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,” says Liz Fisch, 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 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 while 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 in board, in 14 distinct areas, 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 Meaning, 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, positive workplace dynamics, and even a thriving coaching practice, if you choose.

Connect with an iPEC Admissions Coach to start a productive conversation about gaining formal training and mastery in the Core Energy Coaching process.

About Heather Doyle, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP

Admissions Director

Turn Knowledge Into Power

Utilize constructive resources to inform and inspire every step of the journey toward your future as a coach.