Coaches know the value of coaching, but sometimes it’s hard to translate that value into something that stakeholders really can grab.
I speak to hundreds of coaches and trainers yearly, and I often hear the same struggle: “It’s challenging to introduce coaching to the corporate world because it’s so difficult to provide a tangible ROI. C-level officers are not interested in programs without an ROI.”
It’s a valid challenge. While we know that coaching delivers a whole host of intangible value, like increased confidence, greater mental clarity, better decision making, and higher levels of energy, all these benefits seem altogether wishy-washy and difficult to justify.
So, how does one truly measure the impact of coaching leaders? What are the units that we can use to establish whether or not someone has been positively affected by their coaching experience in a way that delivers tangible value?
Here is a step-by-step plan that can be used to measure the impact of coaching in any leadership environment.
Ask leaders to evaluate themselves on their level efficacy with respect to their ability to influence, inspire, and strategically guide their team. Try to determine how much affinity they have for their team members. Next, ask leaders if feel that their team is equipped to compete in their industry and deliver world class service and products. Ask leaders if they feel that their team operates as a world class team. This can be done by using a basic 1-10 scale questionnaire or third-party interview team.
Ask team members the same questions about their leaders. For example, how much affinity they think their leader has for them and how much affinity they have for their leader.
- Measure sales, sales forecasts, profit margin, and customer satisfaction (by looking at average number of monthly complaints and accolades or average number of client referrals per month). Establishing these measurements on a per-department or per-group basis would be ideal.
- Deliver a 10-week coaching pilot program to a subset of leaders so that we the impact of coaching can be compared between those who have been through coaching and those that have not. It’s important to have a clear beginning and end to the coaching period so that time-based measurements can be established. It is valuable to implement a coaching program that includes online journaling to track the daily reflections and personal journeys of the leaders that are being coached.
- Once coaching is complete, go back and conduct the same survey/interview with all leaders (both in and out of coaching), asking them to re-measure their efficacy related to their influence, inspiration, and strategic guidance. Also ask leaders if there has been a change in their affinity for their team members, and if they feel that their team is more equipped to compete in their industry and deliver world class service/product. Ask leaders if they feel that their team operates as a world class team. Compare before and after scores to see if there is a notable difference between leaders and to see if there is a measurable difference.
- Re-measure sales, sales forecasts, profit margin, and customer satisfaction (by looking at average number of monthly complaints and accolades or average number of client referrals per month). Compare before and after results for leaders who were coaches as well as those who were not. In this case, because the time frame is relatively short, sales forecasts might be the most powerful indicator of impact.
This process will provide anecdotal heart-felt feedback as well as the tangible, results-driven analytics that C-level officers seek.