THE ROI OF BUSINESS COACHING REVISITED
Models of ROI - The Business Scorecard
by Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland
My last column discussed the importance of collecting data throughout the coaching process in order to evaluate the ROI at the conclusion of the coaching engagement. As I researched the many different metrics coaches use to measure ROI, I discovered a wide range of evaluation models. Some coaches are adapting Jack Phillips' or Donald Kirkpatrick's models, while other coaches are designing their own systems.
This triggered a thought—wouldn't it be wonderful to collect all of these evaluation models in the WABC resource area? This wealth of knowledge would allow us as members to review the options available and determine what works best for the different clients we serve. Since different clients seek different results, a variety of ways to measure those results is optimal. So it only makes sense to have a range of evaluation tools at our disposal. To that end, if you are using any ROI models in your business coaching practice, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, so your ROI model can be considered for inclusion in future columns. With many contributors, we can begin to build a wealth of alternatives!
This column outlines the Coaching Scorecard (Leedham: 2005), another option for evaluating the ROI of business coaching. This model is an adaptation of Kirkpatrick's model.
Using a small UK case study, Mel Leedham conducted a survey to identify the criteria a group of purchasers of external business coaching services used in selecting the coaches and measuring their ultimate effectiveness. Of the several factors considered, the following lists the purchasers' selection criteria in order of perceived importance:
- Evidence of the coach's prior experience with similar coaching work;
- The individual coach's personal capability and relevant organizational experience;
- Flexibility in working with a wide range of tools, organizations and individuals;
- The coach's focus on delivery of improved business results;
- Cost effectiveness; and
- The coach's personal qualifications and professional affiliations.
Leedham then examined the factors the purchasers used to evaluate the success of the coaching at the end of the coaching engagement. Those factors, in order of perceived importance, were:
- Contribution to business results;
- Improved personal capability of the coachee;
- Adherence to process (the coach delivering what was promised in the agreed-upon timeframe);
- Satisfaction of the coachees with the coaching relationship; and
- Responsiveness to change (the coach's flexibility with regard to scheduling issues).
From these two sources of input, Leedham developed the Coaching Benefits Pyramid Model:
The model is based on the principle that in order to be fully effective, a business coaching relationship must be built on a firm foundation of four key factors:
- The skills of the coach (listening, questioning, giving clear feedback, establishing rapport and providing support);
- The personal attributes of the coach (knowledge, experience, qualifications, ability to inspire and belief in the coachee's potential);
- The coaching process (clearly structured and disciplined, providing mental challenge and growth opportunities for the coachee); and
- The coaching environment (a safe, supportive place to discuss confidential and sensitive issues, providing time and space for the coachee to think and reflect).
The next stage of the model suggests that, when those four foundational factors are in place, the coachee can realize a number of personal benefits:
- Clarity and focus (allowing for personal insights, exploration of self, values and beliefs, leading to a clear purpose and sense of direction);
- Self-confidence (leading to increased relaxation, less stress, and improved morale); and
- Motivation to achieve (generating self- and organizational improvement and increased follow-through).
Having realized these internal benefits, Leedham believes that the coachee is then mentally prepared to produce the personal benefits that can be easily perceived by others:
- Enhanced skills, knowledge and understanding, both in job-related skills and in the ability to learn and develop him/herself; and
- Improved behaviors with individuals and teams, in all forms of relationships.
The apex of the pyramid is attained when, with these enhanced skills and/or improved behaviors, the coachee is equipped and empowered to achieve business results. These business results include improvements in performance, increased productivity, enhanced career progression, and resolution of specific problems or issues.
This model provides an opportunity to view the coaching relationship in a more holistic way. It also provides opportunities for all stakeholders to be involved in the effectiveness of the coaching.
One of the important aspects of using different models in measuring the effectiveness of business coaching is that it encourages a broader view of all areas of the coaching engagement, including the coaching contract. Models such as these not only highlight the potential results of the coaching relationship, but they also provide great management and learning tools for all parties involved.
Leedham, Mel. 2005. "The Coaching Scorecard: a holistic approach to evaluating the benefits of business coaching." International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 3.2:30-44.
Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland is the CEO of International Coach Academy, an international coach training school. She has been an executive coach for over 10 years. Read more about Bronwyn in the WABC Coach Directory. Bronwyn can be reached by email at email@example.com.