“You can’t improve what you can’t measure.” So goes an old adage which science supports and common sense accepts. In other words, if we cannot measure the difference between what was and what is, no progress can be assessed.
A coach works with an individual but operates within a system. Any coaching initiative aims for observable behavioural changes in the coachee which are beneficial to him and to the organisation. The value of coaching in any organisation hinges on this. But change by itself is not necessarily of value. It has to be contextualised. That is, it needs to be measured against some pre-existing goals and values before it can be evaluated.
The salient features of coaching which are goal specific, objective, action and performance oriented, are all measurable through recognised frameworks and, hence, can be evaluated. By employing an effective method of measurement parties involved in the coaching process can quantify and qualify how far they have progressed. It is a form of assurance that the things that need to be done are done the right way.This also enables them to identify room for improvement and advancement.
Issues to be considered:
How can we ascertain whether the achieved desired outcome is due to the coaching process or because of changes in the economic and social environment? Actually, it can be both. The coaching is not done in isolation. Factors in the immediate and even general environmental setting can affect the over-all result. As such, in measuring coaching success, this factor should also be considered and should call for flexibility in the analysis.
Life thrives in an ever-changing environment and people consider it from different perspectives. In coaching this should be factored in. Stakeholders usually assess impact of coaching from their own perspectives. The sponsor would be concerned about organisational results. The coachee would be particular about increasing his value in the company and his chances of success which may not be within the realm of organisational success. A coach would define success according to the impact the coaching process has on the individual and the organisation. If differences do exist, the stakeholders should take extra effort to work on a shared understanding. Any evaluation has to be clear about whose criteria it is using and if there’s a need for all these differences to be considered, all should be incorporated in the evaluation.
Coaching outcomes can either be tangible or intangible. Tangible outcomes are those that can be measured quantitatively such as profit, attendance, innovation, customer feedback, return on Investment (ROI). In the field of business, such as accountancy, these matter most. The intangibles are more challenging to measure. They include behavioural changes, disposition, self-awareness, flexibility, and communication skills. The latter, though qualitative and subjective in nature, are determinants of the quantitative outcomes.
Measurement of coaching outcomes is not in the realm of exact science. It is not done in a laboratory where all variables can be controlled. As such this endeavour requires discernment, insight and flexibility. The following are practical and tested ways to measure coaching outcomes:
1.) Desired outcomes should be clearly defined so that from the start all parties will know what the objectives are. This will facilitate prioritisation and identification of obstacles. Establishing a clear set of goals will also play a significant role in the evaluation process as this provides the context through which success will be evaluated. Rigidity should be exercised with caution to give space for desired outcomes that may lose integrity in the process. The initial stage usually catalyses personal discovery of limiting beliefs, hidden attitudes, and incapacities that may not be aligned with the revealed preferences.
2.) At the start, take note of the prevailing perceptions on the coach and the organisation. The 360 degree method would be most helpful. When coaching is complete, another assessment should be done among the same evaluators using the same method for the purpose of assessment through comparison. Gathered data is vital in measuring changes that positively impacted the coachee and the system.
3.) Assess and establish present or existing conditions such as the psychological status of the coachee and the actual situation or standing of the organisation. Do the same after the end of the coaching process for assessment through comparison purposes.
4.) Create opportunities for all stakeholders to sit around the same table during the coaching process especially at the start, in the middle, and at the end. This will keep them in the loop, strengthen their support and give them the opportunity to assess if the changes taking place are aligned with the expected outcomes.
5.) Encourage feedback from the coachee. This can strengthen coach and coachee relationship from which authenticity and trust will grow. This relationship will be a source of immediate feedback on which adjustments on the approach can also be based.
6.) Be particular when to start and end a coaching period. Establish a time frame and be sure to stick to it so that time-based measurements can be employed.
Find out more about coaching and the benefits that it can bring to your business or team, contact the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches on1300 309 360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . We look forward to speaking with you soon.