The Coaching Question
Far from a nice chat, coaching can be extremely valuable to business.
But how do we measure this? How can you know you are getting value for money? The value is in the time and space to think, facilitated to ensure clear progress is made. We rarely take time to step back, stop and think. We face a challenge, we find a solution and we run with it.
It’s no wonder with this pattern of working that we often end up realising months have gone by and we have not thought about overall performance, strategic direction, personal goals etc.
By taking that time to think with a facilitator, we become more effective, find ways around our fears and areas where we might lack confidence. It’s a difficult one to quantify – but think of a manager suddenly having the confidence to manage a poor performing team. Imagine you, at your best, performing with greater efficiency and focus. It’s all extremely valuable.
How can we measure the value of coaching?
As with any activity where it is difficult to quantify impact or benefit, the key is in the original objectives. It is only when we know what impact we are aiming for that we can measure whether any activity has been successful. It is for this reason that coaching objectives need to be aligned to business needs.
Consider exactly what you want to see happen and how you would know if it had happened.
Let’s take a classic example of a manager who was promoted due to their ability as a great technical specialist/sales person/engineer/customer advisor. This manager now has a team and they are not sure whether they should be aiming to be friends with the team or exert authority. They are not sure how to performance manage people that used to be peers.
This scenario is a perfect opportunity for coaching. Training in this instance would provide knowledge about what a manager should do, but coaching will more rapidly get to the heart of what is holding the manager back.
To measure whether coaching has been effective in this scenario, we could define some clear objectives. For example, “by the end of a six month coaching programme, this manager will have:
- Set a performance improvement plan for team member X who has been lagging behind on targets for months
- Improved overall team performance by at least 5%, moving up to 20% in the following 12 months
- Contributed to team meetings and strategy days – the manager currently says very little. This should move up to at least three ideas contributed or developed with others per meeting”
Maximising your coaching session
So as long as you set clear objectives and measure the business benefit of these throughout your coaching programme, you can be clear on the ROI of the coach. To maximise the value you gain:
- Define your objectives
- Start with an open mind, then give your coach prompts on what is working well for you
- Keep evaluating what you are gaining from the time and money invested