Ten Ways to a Greater ROI on Professional Coaching

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 Issue of Coaching World.

roiCoaching is becoming one of the leading development interventions in the corporate world. In a recent study
by the Corporate Leadership Council, executives ranked coaching fourth in importance. The coaching profession has
grown significantly over the last decade and many executives find it a wonderful “perk” to have a coach while other
organizations find it imperative to provide their executives and key management staff with coaches. Coaching provides
a customized development process for the individual as well as a confidant for the most senior level staff members.
How do you, as an individual or organization seeking or using coaching, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth?

Here are 10 Ways to Ensure a Greater Return On Investment from your Coaching Dollar:

10. Develop a standard criteria and process for selecting coaches: Many coaches are selected for engagements based on word of mouth. Develop a standard process for interviewing and selecting coaches based upon specific criteria or competencies as you would any other position.

9. Develop Service Level Expectations: Spell out the exact expectations you have of the coach such as number of meetings, length of meeting, reporting back to individuals within the organization such as the clients direct manager or HR professional, any written development plans, etc.

8. Involve the Coaching Client in the Process: The coaching engagement is a relationship between the coaching client and the coach. Making a good match is key to a successful engagement. Make sure the coaching client is involved in selecting his or her own coach.

7. Link Business & Development Goals to the Coaching Engagement: Often times coaches are brought in to assist in the development of the key staff member, yet the development that is requested is not connected to the business strategy or goals. Ask, “How will the coaching, or the skill development or project support assist the company in attaining their goals?”

6. Involve the Coaching Client’s Direct Manager: The coaching client’s direct manager should be integrally involved in the coaching process with regular meetings with the coach or, even better, three way meetings between the coach, “coachee” and their direct manager to discuss progress.

5. Provide Additional Support: The coach is often not a member of the client’s organization; supplying the coaching client with a mentor or similar support can help the coaching client more effectively implement the development that is taking place with the coach.

4. Assign a person in the Organization to Manage the Coaching Process: Frequently, centralizing the requests for and selection of coaches can streamline the process. It can also ensure that coaching is being used where it’s the most effective intervention and that the coaches selected are appropriate for the assignment.

3. Develop Measurable Goals:  If the coaching objectives are not identified prior to the engagement, ensure that the coach and coaching client develop measurable goals. How will you know if the engagement is successful? Some of the outcomes of coaching may difficult to measure but going through the exercise will greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the coaching engagement.

2. Develop Coaching Plans:  Ensure that the coach and the coaching client develop a detailed plan to achieve the goals that are developed.  The coach often works “in the moment” but a plan of action or outline, to help the client get from point A to point B will lead to greater success.

1. Measure the Impact of the Coaching:  It’s often hard to actually measure quantitatively the impact of coaching. There are often many variables going on in the business at the same time. Where it is feasible make an effort to measure the return on the coaching. Some measurements might include employee satisfaction, turnover rates, process times, increased sales, etc. as well as measuring qualitative data such as how the individual felt about the coaching, did they achieve the objectives, what value does the coaching client put on the coaching experience, to name a few.

Some of the greatest business leaders in the economy are advocates for professional/ executive coaching. In some studies coaching has documented to provide anywhere from 500 – 1000% return on the investment.  With those kinds of results coaching will continue to be a highly requested development tool. Putting in place the actions and processes to get a consistent value for your coaching dollar will continue to be a key to its success!

About the author: Bill Burtch

Bill Burtch, SPHR, ACC, is the President of Harmony Coaching & Consulting a management consultancy focusing on Executive/Corporate Coaching, Human Resource Management, and Training Design & Delivery.

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