How to Measure the Value of Coaching
In recent years, we have seen a huge growth in coaching. Not least because attitudes towards coaches and coaching have changed, as more people involved in leadership and talent development are beginning to see coaching as a credible means of organizational development. However, it´s not just the business world that is reaping the rewards of organized coaching. Outside the workplace, more and more people are enlisting the services of life coaches to help them work through any number of problems and get their life back on track. It is with that, that I pose this question:
Are financial benefits the best way to measure coaching?
Those in charge of balancing the books may argue that it is, and in truth, any organization or individual that is investing in coaching, is looking for a return on investment. That said. The benefits of coaching extend far beyond financial gains and we will identify some of those a little later. Firstly though, it would be wise to look at why we should and how to measure the importance of coaching.
The downturn in the economy and crisis has hit many businesses in countries all over the world and it showed no discrimination as to the size of the organizations that it hit. With that, organizations started to look at other ways of talent development that would bring a better return on investment. This was in part, responsible for the rise in popularity of coaching for development in the workplace.
The costs of recruiting new employees far outweighs those of developing existing ones and as many business leaders focused on lowering high attrition levels, they started to look at coaching from a different perspective. That is to say, the well being of employees became an integral part of the organizational culture, along with gaining an understanding of what it means to feel valued as an employee. Out went the short term thinking of the cost of training and coaching and in came the new approach of thinking about the benefits of a motivated, constantly developing, cared for workforce. In truth, thinking of costs and return on investment is a useful measure but it shouldn´t be the only measure used to evaluate the effectiveness of coaching.
Even though business has moved into the digital era, in many cases we haven´t left our industrial age mentality behind us. That is, in solely using the measures of output and financial gain. As businesses have become more global and employees interact with business partners and clients in different countries and cultures, we need to look beyond financial measures of evaluating and delve deeper into a more holistic measure. To truly see the impact of coaching on an organization, we not only need to use the traditional measures but also take into consideration the feelings and values of employees and opinions of customers. Measuring the impact of how internal coaching has spilled into lives of employees and affected customer perception is a worthwhile measure. It may not be as tangible as a black and white financial measure, but the benefits extend far beyond the balance sheet.
As organizations adopt other ways of measuring the value of coaching and continue to do so, coaching will become woven into the fabric of its culture. No longer will it be seen as a tick in the box exercise to be placed on an employee´s records but it will become a part of a program that increases outside perception favorably and sees sustained organic business growth.
To be clear, this isn´t a romantic vision of a problem free organization that focuses solely on the positives and ignores the negatives. We need to be all too aware of the negative impacts of mistakes, poor quality service and any other number of things that could contribute to losing market share to competitors. Neither is it a vision that denounces the importance of the figures. We still need to concentrate on the numbers to ensure that the program is operating at a level that supports business needs at all levels.
What I do believe whole heartedly is that business leaders need to move away from the short-term instant gratification of measuring the value of coaching through a lens that focuses solely on expenditure versus monetary return.
Measuring the Value of Coaching
Engagement in the workplace is essential. To stand any chance of employee engagement, we need to measure how engaged the employee is at the start, during and at the end of the coaching program.
Once the employee has been given new or for that matter unlocked hidden skills and knowledge, we need to make a measure of how they put this into practice during their working day.
It´s well documented that people don´t leave jobs. They leave bad managers. More often than not, it´s because of someone in a direct supervisory role to the employee. Although in truth, it can happen because of ill feeling anywhere along the chain of command and often sees numerous employees leaving the team. Measuring the levels of cohesion in the team throughout the entire coaching process will identify further areas for management development training.
360 Degree Feedback
Conducting a 360 degree account of the employees that are being coached gives you an all round perspective and not just an opinion from a direct manager with potential biases. Take into account everything and everyone, from managers direct and senior, managers from different departments, co-workers across departments, team members and customers. This gives a more holistic approach that can be meaured across different indicators.
Ensuring that employees are physically and mentally healthy increase the chances of having an engaged and productive workforce. There are several things that we can measure such as, stress levels, physical health, weight and diet. People who battling against those things are likely to perform at a lower level and make poor decisions.
One of the main causes of underperforming and high attrition levels is that employees don´t fully understand what is expected of them. That is, their job roles and how they fit into the organization´s objectives are not clear. It is essential to measure the clarity of expectations around job role, department purpose, opportunity and organizational objectives of all employees in the coaching program. On doing that, it almost certain that the employee´s self-value increases. When that happens, we have created more value into everything that the employee is engaged in.
There is much more to coaching than meets the eye. It has the ability to go much deeper than teaching new skills and has the potential to unleash new purpose and meaning for those who are involved in the program. As this deeper level of exploration brings to the surface new found values and opportunities for the employee, so it brings new found opportunities for the organization. It is for those reasons that I encourage business leaders to look beyond short term financial costs and gains and to look at coaching from a different perspective and how its positive impact can reach further than ever expected.
If you have any questions regarding coaching drop me an email to: [email protected]
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