Measuring Improvements From Coaching
How can coaching be measured to demonstrate its effectiveness in an increasingly data rich and more complex world? Ezra explores ways of measuring improvements from coaching to ensure that initiatives generate solid results for both individual talent and organizations as a whole.
Coaching is increasing in popularity, with organizations of all sizes bringing in coaches to help get the most out of their teams and develop confident, capable future leaders.
While not a new practice, more and more businesses are exploring the benefits of coaching. Coaching has the potential to transform company culture, bringing the best out of individuals and teams.
But businesses are a numbers game, and when it comes to investing money, leaders want to see the return on investment. Measuring the effectiveness of coaching can help leaders see the value and the impact it’s had on the organization.
So how can coaching be measured to demonstrate its effectiveness? Let’s take a closer look at measuring improvements from coaching to ensure businesses are getting the right results.
Setting objectives and defining outcomes
While on the surface, businesses can see the benefits of coaching, the absence of hard data can make it difficult to quantify results for leadership teams or stakeholders. According to the 2020 Global Coaching Study by the International Coaching Federation, measuring the effectiveness of coaching remains one of the biggest challenges.
To help organizations get the maximum benefit from coaching programs, it’s important to establish objectives and define the desired outcomes from coaching activities. Some of the most common objectives for coaching include:
- Improved business performance
- Reducing staff turnover
- Develop employees’ skills and experience
- Boosting employee confidence and willingness to take ownership of their work
- Establishing a better workplace culture
- Improved productivity and ease the burden on managers
Objectives can vary depending on the organization, but an effective coaching service will work closely with the organization to define the objectives to ensure the most effective program is put in place. Every business will have different markers for success, so a tailored approach can help ensure the best outcome for everyone.
What does success look like, and how can it be measured?
Once objectives have been defined, the next step will be establishing what success looks like and how it can be measured. There are different ways of measuring success, from conducting pulse surveys and measuring employee mood and behaviors, to comparing data such as turnover, job satisfaction rates and more.
While a lot of this data can be difficult to quantify, there are ways of securing concrete data to help demonstrate the effectiveness of coaching. If, for example, there is a reduction in staff turnover as a result of coaching, this could be quantified as a reduction in recruitment costs, stable head counts and much more.
Recognizing the benefits of coaching can provide businesses with a basis for measuring success, while an overall improvement in workplace culture can also serve as a way to measure the impact of coaching.
Following the journey of individuals
Much of workplace coaching is focused on the individual. Coaching can help set objectives for each individual, helping to give direction to their work, and setting personal development goals that can be measured.
One of the most effective ways coaching can help individuals is to provide them with SMART objects, that is, objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. These could include performance-related goals, such as working towards a promotion or leadership role, developing key skills and qualifications and improvements in performance.
Setting individual objectives at the beginning of the coaching journey allows for progress to be monitored, providing evidence that can be used to demonstrate the value of coaching.
Building trust in the process
It’s understandable that both leaders and employees have a skeptical view of coaching, especially when coaches are brought in from the outside.
For coaching to be effective, there needs to be an element of transparency. Transparency in the workplace helps foster trust, while helping employees to feel more connected to the organization they work for. Coaching can help enable this transparency, but it’s important that employees understand the reasoning behind coaching and what it hopes to achieve. Being upfront about the process from the beginning can help develop trust, helping employees and leaders to be more receptive to coaching techniques.
Being transparent helps eliminate uncertainty, allowing employees to become engaged in the process as they can see what the program will lead to.
Bodies like the International Coaching Federation have extensive case studies and research articles that can be used to help make a case for introducing coaching.
Using feedback to measure coaching effectiveness
Evaluations can be a key tool for measuring coaching effectiveness. By consulting with leaders, managers and individuals at the beginning of the process, coaches can establish the main measurements that can be evaluated throughout the process. This type of 360-degree feedback adds value to the coaching program, providing a form of evidence that can show the effectiveness of coaching for both individuals, teams and the business as a whole.
There is evidence that coaching can improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction, but it’s important to establish an organization’s existing situation to gather this evidence. Even simple surveys to monitor employee satisfaction and engagement can give insight into the success of coaching, especially if these surveys are conducted at the beginning of the process to make comparisons at a later date.
Securing regular feedback means coaches can continue to adapt and develop their approach to suit the individual. If there are elements of the program that aren’t working, alternative methods can be applied to help achieve the desired outcomes. Coaching is an ongoing process, and experienced coaches will continue to monitor progress to keep employees on track.
Measuring improvements from coaching is vital for businesses to establish whether coaching is providing value, from both a financial and cultural perspective. All businesses are different, meaning there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to measuring coaching effectiveness. For coaching to work, therefore, businesses and coaches need to agree an evaluation model based on the business’ aims, and ensure that regular evaluation is carried out to measure performance.
With a clear approach from the outset, businesses and coaches can work together to achieve the desired outcomes.
Make impact measurement from your organization’s coaching initiative easier with Ezra. We’ve redesigned leadership coaching for the digital age to transform your company’s workforce through affordable, scalable and high-impact solutions that promote equitable access through our world-class coaching app. Find out today how everyone can be better with a coach.