Evaluating Impact 4: The OC 4 A’s of Evaluating Impact

 

How can you use the Optimising Coaching’s 4 A’s of evaluating the impact of coaching or mentoring to help you ‘really’ know you are being the best coach or mentor you can be?

As a coach or mentor, who flexes their style to meet the needs of each and every client, how do you secure good quality evidence that you are adding value?

Do you, on occasions

. . . wish that you were a coach or mentor who had found the holy grail of models, approaches, tool or technique that magically fitted every client? If so join the club!

On those days when I have closed the door on my last coachee or supervisee I sometimes feel that there must be an easier way! The mental as well as emotional energy you use every time you coach or mentor is draining as well as elating. ‘Really’ listening and engaging ‘all’ your senses for a concentrated period is wholly absorbing of all your resources even though it is part of your skill set. And this is regardless of how new or experienced you are as a coach or mentor.

To ‘really’ know how effective you are being as a coach or mentor – who flexes the way you work to meet the needs of your client rather than the other way around – is not easy. Why? Because you need to get underneath what it is that you are doing that is impacting at a conscious and at an unconscious level.

In addition, you need to extend your understanding to include any stakeholders in the process. This is clearly particularly important if you are being commissioned by an organisation rather than directly by your coaching or mentoring client where there will clearly be a number of levels of interest in the impact of your work.

The OC’s 4 A’s of evaluating the impact of coaching and mentoring

. . . is a model developed to help participants on OC’s coaching and mentoring programmes answer just that question.

The model encourages you to consider what evidence is . . .

• Easily AccessibleWhat shared evidence do you and your
client have about the impact of your
work? How can you collect it?

AccessibleWhat does your client ‘know’ about the
impact of your work that you do not
‘know’? How can this be accessed?

AssumptionWhat do you think you ‘know’ about the
impact of your work with your client that
you have not checked out? What do you
need to do to move beyond assumption?

• Not Easily AccessibleIs there a gap in your understanding of
the impact of your work that neither
you nor your client can identify? How
might this be bridged?

How might you be able to apply this thinking to your work?

When considering evidence the temptation is often to focus only, or primarily, on empirical evidence. However, this would be to deny much of what goes on in the coaching/mentoring process. It is important both to explore the range of impact evidence that may be available and to understand how the different evidence can be used most effectively and ethically.

How we ‘feel’ about what is happening is as important to be aware of as what we ‘think’ or can ‘know’ is happening.

Being an effective coach/mentor relies
on being open to accessing
as much unconscious as well as
conscious information as possible


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