11 – Introduction to Metrics

then a miracle
“What gets measured gets managed” Peter Drucker
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). I use coachaccountable.com (I am an affiliate by the way) and highly recommend it for both coaches and self-coaching.