Coaching, in its many forms, is a commonly used intervention in staff and leadership development with many choices of practitioners and specialities within the field.
The ILM recently published a white paper on Coaching, ‘Successful Coaching – Demonstrating its value’. They summarised some of the researches that had been conducted, as well as seeking the views of 40 coaches who are members of the ILM. Their findings are valuable to any L&D professional who may have to justify the spend of their investment in coaching their people.
The ILM identified that coaching is seen to be generally expensive, time consuming and resource intensive yet the value achieved is often seen as worthwhile. Even though, hard measures are often hard to apply to the results of the coaching intervention. The most frequently identified indicators of coaching success that ILM’s research found were the following:
- Individual professional progression and performance
- Personal development and confidence
- Positive feedback from managers
- Effect on management performance
- Achievement of agreed actions and targets
- Improved behaviour and attitudes
- Better informed choices and decision making
- Overall measures including engagement, retention, and staff turnover
They suggest that many coach practitioners seem uncomfortable with the concept and language of hard measurement of outcomes in terms of a real ROI (Mulvie, 2015) and many appear to prefer to use softer, more qualitative approaches to evaluation (Sherpa Coaching, 2014).
However, here at Corporate Alchemy, we are very comfortable identifying ROI measures that are as hard as new income generated from business development activities, new clients won, number of talks given at conferences, new connections made etc. We also ensure that at the beginning of the coaching programme, definite objectives are set with outcomes projected and at the end we review to ensure that they not only are met, but even exceeded.
This kind of measuring focus comes when coaches have a depth of business experience prior to taking up a coaching role. It is one of our requirements for the coaches that work for us – that they have real-life business experience in the hard side of business – project management, finance, law, business development, sales etc.
Taking the time to evaluate plays a crucial role for a business: not only does it provide justification for the intervention itself but enables communication with stakeholders across the organisation with the recognition that one person’s growth can have a broader impact. Coherent and comprehensive evaluation can not only help explain and justify coaching in a learning and development arena that is under constant cost pressure, but it can also assist specific interventions meet the highest and most appropriate standards.
12 November 2017