Evaluating Impact 2: Really ‘Knowing’

Evaluating the impact of your work as a coach or mentor

. . . is central to continuing to be the very best coach you can be. As coaches, probing for evidence is second nature to us – so probing for evidence of our effectiveness should be a cinch!

Evaluating the impact of your work as a coach or mentor sounds as if it should be easy – after all, don’t you just need to ask your client?

Yes – of course, that’s where you start. But, how do you really get underneath what is going on? Get to the essence of what it is that you do that opens up a completely new view of the world and helps to make those synapse really buzz! That prompts those new neural connections that illuminate and propel your client forward.

And I do mean propel!

I am sure that you have seen, as I have, the physical movement that accompanies the turning on of a light. It might be a slight tilt of the chin, a movement of the eyes, a slackening of the shoulders or even a jump of excitement out of the chair. A movement that tells you something really significant has happened deep inside your client at an unconscious as well as conscious level.

The challenge for every coach and mentor is how to ‘know’
– to REALLY ‘know’ –
how impactful your work is with each and every client

The use of the word ‘impact’, as a qualifier to the word ‘evaluation’, is really important. I am sure you have a variety of ways of gaining immediate feedback about how your client is thinking and feeling about your work together at the end of a session and at the beginning of the next.

If you just stop and think about this for a moment – how confident are you . . .

  • about whether this gives you the information you need to understand – as much as you can – about what it is that you have done that has made a difference?
  • about the value you have added to the way your client sees, experiences and responds to their world?
  • and, of course, to their organisation if there is more than one client in your relationship?

Gathering evidence of the impact of your coaching and mentoring in a way that takes you beyond the immediately accessible is crucial for your continuous development as a coach or mentor. It is the fuel that helps you ensure that reflection of your practice is more than just supposition.

The collection of impact evidence enables you to ‘know’ . . .

  • with each individual client – what is helping, what might be getting in the way, what might be done differently next time
  • with an organisation – whether your coaching and/or mentoring is delivering the return on investment (ROI) that justifies its use? Is coaching or mentoring the most effective way of achieving the required result?

It also provides the information you need to make the best use of . . .

  • reflection
  • supervision
  • personal development and action planning

Exactly what evidence is collected and how will depend on the individual context. What is important, however, is for there to be clarity about why you are collecting what evidence, when and how. You also need to clarify with your client, especially within an organisational context, if and how it is going to be shared or used.

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