Ensuring a return on investment from coaching

Most businesses now use business or executive coaching to address a whole spectrum of strategic, business and developmental issues.  These range from enabling people to become more effective as a business leader or manager, transitioning successfully to a more senior role, increasing sales volumes and revenues, or delivering important projects or change initiatives.

How do you ensure you are getting the best return on your investment from coaching?  At Morgan Clarke, we have been coaching individuals and teams across a broad spectrum of business issues, challenges and opportunities for fifteen years with consistently good results. The question of a measurable ROI is foremost in our mind when exploring with our clients whether coaching is the right solution to address the issue/challenge/opportunity on the table. Our hard won experience suggests there are three things you need to put in place to ensure successful outcomes and, most importantly, guarantee a good return for your investment in coaching:

1.  Scoping and contracting: make sure you really understand what the coaching should address. This means getting to the heart of the matter and dealing with the real cause of the issue rather than the symptom(s).  For example, is slower than forecast growth in sales about a lack of selling skills, or that your competitors are offering more innovative products at more competitive prices with better after sales service? Is the newly promoted manager being less effective than you expected because he/she doesn’t know what they should be doing differently, or because they prefer a technical role?  Select no more than two or three topics to address when contracting a coaching assignment.  Write down what these are, and also what outcome(s) you want from the coaching and how progress will be monitored and success measured.

2.  Match the right coach to the assignment: with so many business coaches offering their services (and all claiming how great they are!), it’s important to make sure you employ a suitably qualified coach who has a proven track record of dealing with the issue(s) identified in Step 1. Morgan Clarke coaches have usually held senior positions in global or multi-national businesses so they understand how a complex business works.

3.  Evaluate the results: we advocate holding both a mid-point and exit review of the coaching. These are three-way activities attended by the business sponsor (often the line manager), the coach and coachee. What has been achieved?  How do you know? Measurement is frequently a mixture of qualitative and quantitative feedback i.e. an improved sales performance, a positive movement on a customer satisfaction or employee engagement score, or delivery of a project that meets a business need, on time and within budget.

Coaching is without doubt an effective solution for addressing a wide variety of business challenges.  However, it is not a panacea for all ills, and there are coaches who say they will deliver value – but don’t.  Our advice at Morgan Clarke is follow the above three steps and you are more likely to get success, and an excellent return on your investment.

If you would like to find out more about how our select team of high quality business or executive coaches can help you improve the performance of your business, then call Head of Coaching, Mike Grant on 01306 621600 or email him at [email protected].

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