More workers are turning to life coaches to help them with everything from climbing the corporate ladder to starting a new business, according to the WA branch of the Australian Institute of Management.

Chief executive Gary Martin said there was a growing “coaching culture” within business circles as companies large and small recognised the benefits of effective coaching by trained experts.

“There is certainly a growing trend within business to commit resources to the coaching of employees,” he said.

“An effective coaching process will help to drive individual, team and organisational performance.”

Professor Martin estimates that 80-90 per cent of those in management or leadership roles have some form of coach, although they might not readily label that person as their life coach or mentor.

Organisations of all sizes and from across the corporate, government and the not-for- profit sectors engaged coaches, both internal and external, to support the development of employees, he said. Coaches were effective in helping managers and employees find balance across all aspects of their lives, with positive offshoots including clearer focus and more rapid achievement of career goals.

Coaching consultant Kelly Terry, of Enrich Training Solutions, said workers were often spoilt for choice in modern workplaces, and engaging a life coach helped them find focus.

“Many of the people we see are 35-plus and they are looking to change direction,” Ms Terry said.

“Resilience and emotional intelligence are becoming much more important in the corporate world and beyond, and the coaching helps people focus on what it is they would like to achieve.”

Ms Terry said workplaces had become fast-paced environments where frontline and middle managers required skills to manage change and handle disappointment within the ranks. However, more average people were also looking to access life coaching and interest from people wanting to become life coaches had also risen.

Belinda Baillie, founder of the northern suburbs-based Global Coaching Academy, said inquiries about the courses offered had grown between 20 and 35 per cent in the past 12 months. More people were showing interest in being coached, and becoming a coach, she said.

“People want guidance with their life and with their career — we are seeing everyone from doctors and lawyers to vets, financial counsellors and truck drivers, ” Ms Baillie said. “They all want the same thing — to understand themselves better so they can develop better skill sets and be self- determining in every part of their lives.”

Alan D. Thompson, of Life Architect, said most Australians would change careers every three to four years and would spend more of their lifetime at work than ever before. Anything that could enhance career skills and overall wellbeing was being embraced by people from all walks of life.

© The West Australian