Leaders who have experienced coaching can easily state their opinion about whether or not the development strategy had a positive impact. After all, effective coaching can be the best experience leaders have ever had in terms of supporting their own development and growth.
But actually measuring the impact of leader growth can be tough. For example, how does an organisation measure the potential improvement of a leader’s influence on her team if she learns to stop belittling them? Or how a leader who elevates his executive presence will make a bigger contribution to the organisation? Or how much improving communication will affect the profitability of a company?
Can the true impact of coaching be measured?
The answer is: it depends. Here are three key steps organisations can take to simplify the measurement process.
Be specific. What exactly does the organisation want to change? Now be more If that change is successful, what will be the quantifiable outcome? Now put a dollar amount to the change.
Be clear with the leader/coachee about expectations. Specify the new behaviours and outcomes desired. It’s not enough to say improve communication. With whom? To what end? What would the improvement look like? What specific behaviours are necessary? How will the organisation know that the change has been made?
Follow through. Engage appropriate people in the organisation to observe and report on behaviour change. An observer could be an HR business partner, a mentor of the leader being coached, a supervisor, or a member of the board. Ensure these observers are clear on expectations and outcomes. Provide tools, resources, and information on how to measure outcomes. Leaders need eyes and ears in the organisation, as well as their coach, to help ensure changes made are on target to meet expectations.
The cornerstone of coaching is confidentiality—but this does not mean the leader being coached is left on their own to grow, learn, and develop without organisational insight. Being explicit on the front end about outcomes and ensuring all parties are in agreement about goals helps with measurement and evaluation when coaching is finished; i.e.:
Here is the specific target that was set.
Did the coachee meet the target?
Has the impact of that outcome been observed?
Has it been sustained over time?
Paying more attention at the beginning of any coaching engagement will make it simpler to measure and evaluate at the end.
About the authors:
Patricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team.