The improvements coaching can bring to employee satisfaction and better
teamworking are now well established. However, latest research from the US
shows there aren’t just soft gains to be made, but tangible monetary benefits
A study by MetrixGlobal evaluated the reactions of managers in a telecoms
company to what they had learned and how they applied it. Researchers evaluated
what impact managers’ changes in behaviour had on the business, and calculated
a staggering 529 per cent return on investment from executive coaching.
Coaching remains a popular choice among management development programmes,
but it can be a long, often personal process. We ask readers how they think ROI
from coaching can be measured.
Executive coach and author of Coaching Across Cultures
One of the models I use is a ‘global
scorecard’. It includes the classic indicators of business success – financial
measurements such as growth, profitability and share price – but also looks at
the behavioural criteria of success.
It is not enough to just define a set of objectives and look at
how those different objectives interact. More companies are looking for coaches
who do not focus solely on the leadership/behavioural side or solely on the
business side, but can offer help in integrating both perspectives.
Dr Merrill Anderson
Chief executive, MetrixGlobal
Organisations need to ask two
questions – is coaching producing the value, in monetary terms, that we need?
Then, how best can we adapt coaching to our own company’s needs and values?
Once a company has done that, they don’t need to do it again. Monetary value
must be included in the discussion about value.
Each coaching relationship is unique, private and – unless the
client agrees – not to be shared. But the organisation needs to manage the
coaching process. I believe what is most effective is when performance
measurement is built right into the coaching process. Conduct a survey in the
first month, for example, to see how things are going and if there are any
interpersonal factors between the coach and client.
Director of studies, School of Coaching
There are certain organisations that
won’t employ coaches unless they have some psychological or psychiatric background.
I think that’s dangerous – it tends to focus on behavioural issues and seems to
forget coaching is essentially about achieving results.
We are trying to get our clients to look at particular areas of
their business that need to alter performance. Rather than train people in
generic coaching skills, we are saying ‘how can these managers’ coaching skills
have an overall impact on the company?’
Managing director, RGMC
The key is to define the objectives
at the start in terms of productivity and retention. Coaching has become a
trend, a fad, but there has to be a clear focus. In trading and brokering, for
example, you can measure by watching whether the employee meets or exceeds set
targets. In law you can monitor their billable hours.
Director of talent and performance management, Chiumento
It’s perfectly respectable that the
outcomes of coaching should have some soft measures, but equally, you should
look for some harder ones. You can only do that by having a proper diagnostic
up front. Is it about career coaching for the individual, focusing on a
retention issue for the organisation? Are there behavioural issues? Is it job
specific in terms of a particular skill that’s needed?
If you have a balanced scorecard approach to performance
measurement, you can break the business benefits down. It literally becomes a
business planning process rather than just a personal development one, but the
two are not mutually exclusive.
Of all the training interventions,
I’d say the one that least lends itself to ROI is coaching. Coaching is about
improving job performance and as long as you have some indication that that’s
happening, you shouldn’t need to worry about the financial aspects. People buy
computers but don’t have to justify them financially to the business.
ROI starts to become more of an issue for discrete projects. If
you’re in a continuous process of development such as coaching, you may not
have an obvious start and end point. If you’re going to get an external
organisation to launch coaching initiatives, it’s more important to agree up
front what difference coaching should make to your organisation.
What do you think? If you have a topic you’d like to be
discussed on our Talking Points page, let us know in no more than 50 words.
Send all correspondence to Stephanie Sparrow, Editor, Training Magazine, by
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