Evaluating Impact 5: A Coach’s Perspective

Do you find the evaluation of coaching and mentoring a challenge?

If so then you are not alone! In this Blog, Vanessa shares with us some of her thinking after exploring evaluation in more detail as part of her Optimising Coaching Qualification Programme . . .

Evaluation of coaching and mentoring is an area that can challenge the best and most experienced of coaches. You know you need to do it and you know why you need to do, but you may not always be sure of the best approach to take.

If you read around the subject of evaluation

. . . you could fall into the trap of thinking that ROI was the main way, or even the only credible way to demonstrate the value of what you do. Yet as coaches we know this provides a far too narrow view of the benefits of coaching for an individual. How can you, for example, attribute a financial benefit to a change in behaviour or increased levels of engagement?

It can also be notoriously difficult and time-consuming for you to calculate! There are also often other factors at play that impact on the coachee so you may only be able to identify a casual link between your coaching and financial return. By limiting yourself to trying to measure ROI you will overlook a wealth of rich, qualitative data.

In some instances ROI is desirable

. . . and is required by key stakeholders, but what other approaches could you take to demonstrate the true value that coaching can bring? Evaluation is all about assessing impact; whether the coaching has supported the individual to move towards their goals. But who defines whether you are adding value – surely this has to be the coachee and other stakeholders who have sponsored the coaching.

It’s therefore perhaps more helpful for you to start from the premise that ‘no size fits all’ and the way in which you evaluate the success of a coaching assignment is tailored to meet the particular situation and the expectations of different stakeholders – what would they like to see as the outcomes and how can you measure whether these are achieved. It’s here that you can try and be creative and think how best you can show the full value of coaching.

As with most development activities

. . . it makes sense for you to try and establish at the outset what outcomes stakeholders would like to achieve. Clearly this may change as the coaching relationship evolves and other areas emerge, particularly from the coachee, but it gives you a starting point and will help you agree some possible ways in which to measure impact, it also gives you an initial focus for the coaching. Ask the coachee and other stakeholders for their thoughts and ideas on how you can measure impact, they’re sure to have their own thoughts. Be prepared for the coachee and organisation to have some different thoughts. Generally the organisation will be wanting to see some impact for the business and organisational results while the coachee usually wants to enhance their contribution to the organisation.

Be open to ideas, if the organisation and coachee are happy
with how you’ve agreed you’re going to measure impact
then why not relax and go with it?

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Posted in Blogs, Evaluating Impact