Measuring the Effectiveness of Coaching: Start Where You Are and Use What You Have

August 14, 2014 Tracy Cocivera

In our last blog, we talked about what to measure when looking to evaluate coaching effectiveness.  In this blog, we will focus on lessons learned in terms of how to measure the impact of coaching. It doesn't have to be complicated to be effective. Capitalize on what already exists and leverage the resources you have available.

  • Leverage the coaching process to gather metrics.  The typical coaching process often involves meetings with the coaching client, key stakeholders (e.g., manager, HR), and the coach at the beginning and the end of the coaching engagement. This offers the ideal opportunity to easily gather information about performance relative to coaching objectives.
  • Involve the manager in the evaluation. Don’t miss the opportunity to get objective feedback from the manager. Often the results of coaching will be best observed by a third party who has line of site to the coaching client’s performance and the impact it has had on the business. Include the manager in the process to get initial feedback on coaching objectives (e.g., ratings on a 1-5 scale) and their perspective on changes in behavior at the end. It is also helpful to get the manager’s perspective on the effectiveness of the coaching process as well.
  • Utilize existing software.  If your company has invested in survey software, use it to make your job easier (and if you haven’t there are many inexpensive options). Not only is collecting information electronically easier for you and participants, but it is also makes analyses a lot simpler. Many survey software programs create auto-generated reports that provide simple analyses and helpful graphics that can easily be used in presentations. To run additional analysis (e.g., before and after comparisons) you can easily import data into readily available database software (e.g., Excel).
  • Leverage students and new graduates to support evaluation. One reason clients often give us for not measuring coaching is that they don’t have the internal capacity to manage the process. This is a great opportunity to use a student, intern or new graduate. Not only will they be able to leverage their technology and data analysis skills, but it may also give them great experience in project management and exposure to leaders in the business.
  • Draw out organizational themes.  If you have several leaders being coached within your organization, there is opportunity for coaches to come together to share their observations on organizational themes (e.g., structure, process, culture, common practices). When you contract with all stakeholders at the outset to set terms around evaluating organizational themes and implementing feedback learning loops it can have a valuable impact for the leader and the organization. These insights can inform other HR initiatives such as organizational design, leadership development, training, and succession planning.  

These are some of the strategies that our clients have found to be effective in implementing coaching effectiveness evaluations. We would love to hear about your strategies. In our next blog we will focus on making the most of the effort you have invested in collecting data. Stay tuned!

About the Author

Tracy Cocivera

Dr. Tracy Cocivera is a Business Psychologist and a Principal with Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge Leadership Solutions. For over 12 years, Tracy has contributed to the success of leaders and their teams across many industries, including retail, technology, financial services, and energy and natural resources From established executives to emerging executives, Tracy partners with her clients to help them manage their organization and their careers in order to achieve significant business results.

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