10 – How to ensure your coaching ROI and achieve your objectives

Good coaching is expensive. Make sure you get a Return on your Investment

Good coaching is expensive. Make sure you get a Return on your Investment

“What gets measured gets managed” Peter Drucker

Coaching is often expensive. Sometimes very expensive.

Yet, according to a report published by CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development), two in five chief executives claim that having had a coach was critical for their success.

Coaching works. There's a ton of evidence across the world, that coaching, as a development method, is the most effective, efficient and with sustained results.

But it is expensive.

Or is it?

Surely a better question than “how much money?” – would be to ask “how much value?”

What you need to establish is a suitable set of metrics to measure your value.

Coaching and Development Metrics

Imagine you are standing in a field with a bow and arrow. In the distance is a target with three concentric rings.

Instantly you know that your goal is to shoot an arrow to hit the target and preferably in the bull's-eye.

You can shoot your arrow and get immediate feedback on how well you achieved your goal… or not. If you achieved a bull's-eye, awesome, now you want to consistently do so. If you missed, you can adjust how you shot the last arrow and keep managing what you do until you achieve your goal.

It's easy and straightforward to measure your own achievement.

Now, imagine yourself in a workplace. You are the leader of the group in that workplace and you want to be a “better leader”.

Tell me, how will you know that you have achieved your goal of being a better leader?

Difficult to measure this isn't it? And if you can't measure it, you can't manage what you do to ensure that you achieve your goal.

Most people don’t fail on account of the competition; most people sabotage themselves. If you don’t look at yourself honestly, then you will never understand where your personal difficulties lie. John C. Maxwell

And if you cannot see your weak spots, then you will fall victim to them.

So what is a suitable metric?

To be able to measure something you need to be able to see it, hear it, smell it, taste it or touch it. And you need a benchmark to compare it with. “How tall I am in metres or feet and inches” or “how tall am I now compared to last year” (those notches on the doorpost your mum made when you were a child).

It's not always easy to establish suitable metrics for the ‘softer' skills such as leadership, so think of the component parts of specifically what you want to do… for example:

  • I want to more easily influence my boss…
    • You might consider the time it takes to influence your boss now… and each time you do so.
    • You might consider how many meetings you have, or how many reports, or how many emails…

Your metrics may not be an exact measure but we choose those that are the best proxies.

The metrics you decide upon will be milestones along the way to achieving your overall goal for coaching and beyond. Keeping regular track of how you are progressing, I have found with ALL my clients is the surest guarantee of success.

If your coach uses an online support system that provides such metrics then you can easily keep track. Or else, you can use one for yourself (be your own coach and coachee).

Metrics for business coaching

Here are some suggestions for metrics from experts in ROI from Jack J. Phillips from development activities

  • Improvements in productivity
  • Reductions in absenteeism and employee turnover
  • Reductions in cycle time
  • Improvements in quality/reductions in waste
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased value of opportunity pipeline
  • Improved corporate reputation (measured in the amount of positive press coverage for the company or division versus the amount negative press coverage for the company or division)

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”  Michelangelo

Defining Objectives

Of course, one of your metrics should be about measuring your achievement of your specific objectives.

Coaching is all about change. But what is it exactly that you want to change? What do you want to achieve through coaching?

This is often different to what you want to achieve (in life, work, career etc). The latter we will look at in a short while. Right now, lets focus a few minutes on what you want coaching for.

In my own experience as a coach these past 20 plus years, more than 70% of my clients had an objective to, well, set an objective. In other words, they didn't know what they wanted to get out of coaching, there was just something bothering them and they knew they needed to change.

What to change was another matter.

Indeed, I believe this is one of the reasons for the growth in coaching as a profession.So let me ask you as if I were currently your coach:

How can I serve you?

What can I do to help you achieve your life/work/career goals (that you cannot do for yourself?)

I share in “Do I need a coach? the key things a coach can do for you and in the table below you should be able to identify broadly your needs in an issue around the 10 most prevalent areas of life transition. On the right hand side you can see the first key objective where a coach may be able to help and what sort of coaching is most suitable:

Issues around Your needs General Coaching Objectives
Career Development Identify a clear career path and be encouraged to pursue it Get clarity of purpose – Support and Guidance
Starting a new job Quickly assimilating the company culture Broaden perspectives – Learning and build self-confidence
Strengthening capability Improve leadership skills and creative thinking Develop leadership skills and gain insight – Learning and support
Improving performance Personal growth and better performance Improve ability to learn – Learning and self-confidence
Improving motivation Build on existing knowledge and be committed Get clarity of purpose -Support and self-confidence
Starting a business Being as certain as possible for success Gain insight – Support and advice
Major change in life Decide on a future direction and follow through Identify barriers to change – Learning and support and self confidence
Relationships Build better and stronger relationships Gain Insight and help improving relationships – Learning and intra and interpersonal sensitivity
Decision Making Make better decisions Overcome barriers to change – Learning and self-confidence
“Stuck” Overcome procrastination or poor time management Identify barriers to change – Support, self confidence and learning


This should help you identify the main help you need right now and better equip you to discuss your unique situation more productively with any potential coach.Use the following question template to help you think through this.