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Executive coaching can be an excellent investment for any business, but while the effects of coaching are often strongly felt by the client, the true impact on business results can be difficult to put into numbers. Many companies that invest in coaching are convinced of the benefits because of the glowing testimonials from company leaders. But organizations that are just getting in the game may find it difficult to sell coaching internally as a worthy investment.

This year I’ve been testing a system of tracking ROI with two different companies to see how the system might affect the company’s willingness to invest in more coaching in the future. In the past I’ve been disappointed occasionally when organizations get into coaching tentatively, and thereby waste the opportunity to make major strides in their company. They lack a vision of what coaching can do for them. Without a strong, senior proponent, it is difficult to get sufficient buy-in for the budgets required for effective executive coaching.

The results for my two ROI tracking case studies are on target. By focusing on ROI at the beginning of the engagement, we have been very clear about what the client needs to change in order to see concrete external results. We decide specifically what changes we intend to create within the team and in the business measurables, and we note how these are connected to the behaviour changes we expect from the client. It provides a different focus of attention for the often very results-oriented business managers who are not so interested in the warm, fuzzy internal changes in their staff. But they are very pleased when they can have a much clearer assessment of their investment in coaching.

Therefore I have noted that tracking ROI has dual benefits of:

1) keeping the coaching goals clear and targeted on business results and
2) providing convincing ROI data to facilitate further use of coaching in the organization.

Of course, with any corporate coaching, there is a risk of becoming too goal focused and missing the true developmental potential of the client. It is usually not clear at the beginning of a coaching assignment, exactly what the goals should be and how to elicit the greatest potential of the client. The coaching goals will become clearer during the first few coaching sessions. Therefore, there must also be a clear mandate from the company that the ultimate aim of the coaching is the development of the client. This agreement gives the client and coach enough flexibility to adjust as the true nature of the coaching challenge unfolds.

It is very satisfying to provide organizations with clearer evidence of the positive results of coaching. This is another route to promoting the coaching approach in places where it can make a great positive difference to both the personal development of leaders and organizational results.

If you’d like more information on how this works, please get in touch.