The dials in the photo here tell the story of the B-39 Russian submarine berthed in the San Diego Maritime Museum amidst her former adversaries. The dials, a version of metrics and perhaps a precursor of the balanced scorecard reminded me of the rocky shoals of measuring ROI on executive coaching. However difficult, sponsors and executive coaches must find ways to link coaching to the business needs and drivers. To add rigor to the coaching assignment, the sponsors, coach, and executive must collaborate to chart the waters of the engagement – – its context, activities, and final destination.
Success in coaching balances and matches the executive’s agenda, needs, and goals with the organization’s culture, direction, and complexities. An excellent coach will
- Review the mission, values, strategies, and organizational drivers
- Understand the culture and organizational politics
- Align the coaching goals with the executive’s business goals that in turn impact the strategic direction of the organization
- Call attention to the organization’s expressed values and goals by comparing them to the observed behaviors, both positive and negative
- Keep up to date with the pulse and initiatives of the organization
- Involve the executive’s stakeholders when clarifying coaching goals, especially the boss
- Highlight the teams in which the executive participates and influences
- Observe meetings and activities as appropriate to assess the executive in real time
Measuring is not for the faint of heart. Executive clients and their coaches strive to link the evaluation of the coaching engagement with existing organizational measures, such as:
- employee engagement survey
- annual performance reviews
- patient or customer satisfaction results
- operational objectives
Sometimes these measures take months to clarify. Complexities prevail. Don’t be afraid to begin the conversation.