Business now sees coaching as an essential part of training and talent management programmes - with real commercial benefits.
Recent research undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the International Coaching Federation found that the approximate annual worldwide revenue produced by coaching was $1.5 billion.
Speaking on the eve of International Coaching week, which starts today, Helen Caton of coaching organisation the Forton Group, said: "Coaching and cosmetic surgery have something in common. They give a huge boost but people don't always like to admit to using them."
But that's changing: "Coaching is now a valued professional service," she said. "And while our clients don’t publish figures outside their business, they view coaching as an essential part of their training and talent management programmes, from which they see actual commercial benefits.
"Leadership is an acquired skill and coaching can provide the key to nurturing the next generation of leaders. But inspiration alone isn't enough. For talented people, the support of a great coach will significantly accelerate their growth into leadership."