Warning! Coaching is about people not numbers. You will never be able to prove beyond all doubt that coaching is the sole cause of any performance improvement. To try to do so will prove exhausting and you are better off spending your energy on coaching more people.
Notwithstanding the above you may want – or be asked – to show that your coaching has been successful. This short section will provide some basic pointers and you can then do further research if you wish.
The ultimate type of evaluation is known as ‘Return on Investment’. Here we are trying to put a financial value on any benefits that coaching has brought about and compare that to the financial cost of providing the coaching. Hopefully the benefits outweigh the costs and thus a return is demonstrated. It can get extremely complicated, but the following list gives the most common items that would be considered under each heading.
|Coaching Skills training||Increases in revenue|
Travel, accommodation, etc
|Decreases in costs|
|Opportunity*||Increases in productivity|
|Improvements in quality|
|Changes in attitude and behaviour|
|New knowledge acquired|
|New skills acquired|
*Opportunity costs are the costs of doing something else. A salesperson taking time out to coach instead of sell would be missing their normal sales opportunities and this would be the opportunity cost.
Note that we would obviously factor in the costs of an external coach where that is the case or you could calculate a time cost for an internal manager providing coaching if you prefer.
The costs should be fairly easy to identify or calculate but establishing the benefits is less straightforward. You have three main sources of data; the coach, the coach’s manager and the coach’s staff (their coachees). These can be considered the main stakeholders in the success of coaching and I would recommend that you collect information from all three.
The tools you can use for data collection include:
Interviews. You can interview all three stakeholder groups to ascertain their views on the benefits that coaching has achieved. You may like to consider pre and post coaching interviews as these can show a more accurate movement from one state to another.
Self reports. If both coaches and coachees keep journals of their coaching experience these can add real insight to evaluating success. However, they are very subjective, which needs to be allowed for, and can soak up a lot of time in completing.
360 degree feedback. Many organisations have existing 360-degreee (feedback from managers, subordinates, clients, etc) frameworks and it is usually quite straightforward to include coaching amongst the attributes on which feedback is sought.
Observation. Direct observation can be very valuable, but remember that people rarely behave in an entirely natural way when being observed.
Using a blend of these approaches or using different tools over time is likely to give the best results and offer the most reliable data.