“It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success.” Diana Rankin
How do you measure the effectiveness of coaching?
This is an issue that plagues the coaching profession, indeed it plagues training and development of any sort including school education. I wrote another book on Evaluating the Effectiveness of Training and Development based on my Doctoral Thesis if you are especially interested in this aspect.
When you invest in anything you want a return on your investment. Whether you are investing money, time, effort, energy, skills, knowledge, and resources. In this world we expect to gain something that we regard of greater value than the input. I mentioned the Motivation Triangle in the chapter on “Motivation to change”. Well this is where we evaluate the achievement of the objectives.
Why is it so difficult to evaluate coaching effectiveness?
When we embark on a learning and growth journey there are many benefits we gain, but most are unsuitable for measurement.
If you set out to achieve a specific goal (that was genuinely SMART) you will know if you have achieved it or not.
There are times when you (and your coach) need to establish suitable metrics that will both help you monitor your progress and be suitable for evaluation. Some of the metrics will be a direct measure of achieving your goals and will be specific to each individual, but here are some examples to help your thinking on the matter.
- In sales: revenue, closings, funnel progressions, units shipped, customer sign ups
- In fitness: minutes of exercise, miles ran, visits to the gym, push-ups, weight, healthy meals
- In career building: resumes sent, interviews had, networking connections made
- In management: minutes in meetings, milestones met, team performance
- In leadership: team members performance, number of coaching or mentoring sessions held, number of staff who can state and explain the organisation objectives, number of feedback sandwiches given, time spent in own development, number of journal entries.
- In personal relationships: friends called, compliments given, evenings out, dates gone on, thank-you notes sent, invitations made
- In personal habits: minutes of walking, cigarettes smoked, time spent relaxing
Metrics that are regular updates to progress are extremely effective in evaluating the effectiveness of your growth and development. You may also consider using a pre and post coaching assessment.
My own clients for leadership coaching take an assessment at the beginning of their coaching and another at the end of their coaching engagement. This provides a tangible and useful measure of manifest leadership behaviour changes. Of course, not all can always be directly attributed to the coaching alone, but I ask my clients to estimate, for themselves, how much is attributed to their coaching and how much to the environment, for example.
Measuring the return on investment is not always easy though it is possible. Giving all investment a monetary value, your time investment as well, and then measuring the gain from your coaching – again given monetary value should show a positive return.
There seem to be very few coaches who encourage such evaluation. If you want to achieve tangible results from your coaching though, you should find one who does. You should certainly evaluate it yourself.
It is very helpful to evaluate how you think and feel about your coaching as well as having harder measures. Some questions to help guide your consideration of this:
- What do I think of my coach/mentor?
- What is working well and why?
- Is there anything that can be improved?
- Are we communicating effectively?
- How can we improve the communication?
- Can we optimise the time we spend together?
- What changes should we consider making so that things work better?
- What are we spending too much time or too little time on?
By clear evaluation of your growth and development, you can provide useful feedback to your coach and ensure that you get what you need from the relationship. Remember, what gets measured, gets done.