THE ROI OF BUSINESS COACHING REVISITED
Measuring Your Coaching
by Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland

In my last column, I invited WABC members to contact me if they were interested in participating in the trial team to evaluate my VOI model. What a tremendous response I have received! So many of you have offered your time and resources, and I sincerely appreciate your generosity. This experience started me thinking at a whole different level about the measurement of business coaching. In the midst of that thought process, an interesting range of people and experiences helped me to clarify my thinking, and I wanted to share those thoughts and conversations with you.

First, I spent several weeks in December working extensively in China, developing the coach training school of which I am CEO. I met many business coaches there, and one common theme emerged—some individuals in China are actually coaching, but others are really consulting and 'adding on' this new thing called coaching. The conversations then moved to the differences between coaching, consulting and training. I know that this conversation is not only occurring in China—it is occurring all over the world.

Secondly, I was in the United States meeting with my staff and interviewing trainers (who are also coaches for our school). It was a wonderful experience to meet so many coaches! Not surprisingly, the conversation about coaching, consulting and training came up again. We also discussed whether or not the coaches measured their coaching or their clients' outcomes. While some business coaches mentioned measuring their coaching, most were not measuring their coaching with any formal measuring tool.

Meanwhile, responses to my last column kept pouring in—and one particular response really struck me. This respondent said that he both consults and coaches, but only measures coaching results. He said that since consulting was outcomes-based, it didn't require measurement. So I started to think—how many coaches are formally measuring all of their services (i.e., consulting, training, etc.), and measuring each service separately? How many coaches are measuring their coaching, but are actually only offering consulting services? And then the final question—if coaching is not being measured separately, or is not really being conducted, but instead is consulting or training that is misnamed coaching—then how pure are the results of the ROI measures? And how is this affecting the future of business coaching as a profession?

From there, I decided to conduct some research on the Internet by accessing websites of business and executive coaches. I reviewed the scope of services they offer and identified how many mention the tools they use to measure coaching. This is actually a great exercise, and I encourage each of you to carry out this search and see what it reveals to you. I discovered that most websites describe a range of outcomes resulting from coaching, while few explain their system for measuring these outcomes.

With these thoughts in mind, here are some questions that I would like to consider:

  • How are you defining your coaching services?
  • What structures do you have in place to measure your coaching?
  • What value do you place on measuring your coaching?
  • What value does your client place on measuring your coaching?
  • What value do you believe measuring your coaching services has on the future of coaching?

In May, I will be in Vancouver for the WABC conference, speaking on the ROI of business coaching. I would love to see you all there to further this discussion. One thing I know for certain is that overall, our intent is good, and we each want to offer our clients the best services we possibly can. Further, we often demonstrate extraordinary results. The way forward seems to be to ensure that we belong to professional groups where we can have these kinds of challenging discussions, making certain that we are at the leading edge of accountability to be our best.

If you would like to respond to the questions posed above, please email me at bron.bi@icoachacademy.com, and I will include your thoughts and comments in future columns!
 

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 bron.bi@icoachacademy.com.

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