Coaches shouldn’t evaluate their services. They should get their clients to do it!
At the start of a coaching programme, involve the coaching participant and their line manager in agreeing outcomes that are aligned with achieving business objectives. Get them to agree how they will measure achievement against those outcomes. And keep drilling down to get them to connect their results with existing KPIs used by the organisation as well as soft measures, such as anecdotal evidence.
During the coaching programme have a 3-way progress review involving the coaching participant, their line manager and coach. Then close the programme with a 3-way final review involving the same people.
In both meetings get them to assess how well the coaching participant has done. Treat the evaluation as an adjunct to the performance review process, and get them to do what they do as the norm, although possibly a lot more effectively this time round. Whether you discuss soft measures or the links to KPI’s, you will inevitably be drawing qualitative conclusions. However, the connection to quantitative results will be well understood by both parties. And, importantly, because participant and line manager have measured the results, those results have real credibility with them and others in the organisation.
It’s good for business
That’s what demonstrates the value of a service, the level of CREDIBILTY and UNDERSTANDING about the difference it makes. We have used this approach at Accelerated Success for almost 10 years. Often, coaching participants are so energised by the process they develop slide presentations for their final review. Participants and line managers discuss the issues in depth and detail, and agree their take on the results achieved. More importantly, they develop a shared understanding of the participant’s work and how it fits in with the bigger picture.
Our clients like this approach and they understand the value of our service, which helps them with decision making and planning.
It also helps us with selling further business. If you build measuring success into your coaching programmes, why not write up the results in the form of a report – a few pages that headline the coaching participant’s achievements, followed by a bit more detail. No need to get all tangled up here either, just report back to the participant and line manager a summary of the achievements they agreed in their final review meeting. With their permission, you can then report back to other stakeholders, such as the line manager’s line manager, the budget holder who paid for the coaching and human resources.
That’s right, you can proactively get out there in the wider company and promote your client’s success, which is also your success.
Not forgetting of course, at the end of every report back meeting you should have a ‘what next?’ plan. We usually find that the offer of a free Strategy Session to the person you are reporting back to or sessions for other leaders in their patch works well. You’ve just shown them how you have added value in their business, now you’re giving them the opportunity to see where else in the company you can add similar value. In addition, Strategy Sessions are of huge value to the leaders who participate in them, whether or not the go on to a full coaching programme. It’s free. It will add value. It will provide them with credible evidence of where else they can use your services. Why wouldn’t they take you up on your offer?