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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Measuring value in the coaching relationship
Article Type: Metrics From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 2
The latest ideas on how to approach measurement and evaluation of HR activities
The world of coaching continues to gain growing momentum and credibility in the eyes of corporate purchasers of talent, learning and development and leadership solutions. In the past ten years, we have seen the steady increase of coaching as a critical people, talent and leadership intervention. But the corporate landscape is not the entire picture; increasingly, coaching is moving beyond just the corporate landscape and out into society and the world at large. This challenges the overemphasis on financial metrics as the most important form of success measure.
In society, do we place the same level of significance and financial value on coaching when we are working with under-privileged young people who are looking to find their first job, a more meaningful existence or simply some sense of personal confidence in their future? Of course the answer is no – why would we be interested in measuring such an arbitrary set of measures when a real life is at stake? So this begs the question, do we need to think what it truly means to value an employee and their personal values, as well as the values of the organization?
Broadening the view of value
We need to start looking at our world from a fresh perspective, and one that doesn’t place all value on short-term shareholder and financial metrics (although these are important as a form of value exchange). Due in part to a combination of our human psychology, a need for external validation and our past industrial age, many of our organizations are still left with a predominance of financial measures that are growth-focused, logical and masculine in their emphasis. In my opinion, there is a shift that needs to happen and fast. We need organizations that measure their global and social impact in a more balanced and rounded way, and this means that increasingly more human/humane feelings, values and feminine measures must emerge to balance out the masculine energy.
Organizations will increasingly need to become a force for good in our world. corporate social responsibility (CSR) will stop being a nice brand exercise and instead will become part of an organization’s DNA, reinforced by its culture, leadership/management behaviors, the measures it uses to see the value that it brings and, ultimately, the behavior of its people and its consumers.
As a coaching community we have access to the gifts of closely listening, holding the space for deep enquiry, supporting an individual or group to consider their meaning, purpose, values and the value that they bring to their customers/clients, shareholders, stakeholders, community and society as a whole. It is time that, as a community, we challenge ourselves to be bolder and to see our influence, impact and reach beyond simply short-term financial goals and instead begin to broaden our measures out.
How to measure value and success of coaching?
Following are examples of some broad measures that can be used:
Measure how engaged the individual person is before the start of the coaching, during and at the end of the coaching. Employee value proposition solutions are coming that will help gain understanding of the likelihood of individuals leaving and their level of engagement.
Measure how often a person uses their talents, gifts and strengths on a daily basis to complete their role. All of Gallup and Marcus Buckingham’s work highlights that people who do this are more productive. Coaching can enable people to do this.
Measure how engaged an individual is as a leader or manager, and go deeper to explore how engaged team members are. All of the research highlights that, typically, people tend to leave bad managers rather than bad brands.
Conduct live 360s with the leader/manager’s boss, peers and direct reports to build up a picture of what is working, what is not, what could be better and what people say about them when they are not in the room.
Use emotional intelligence (EQi, ECi) related tools to measure a manager’s and leader’s emotional literacy at the start of the coaching and at the end. Go back in another six months or a year’s time to see what impact it is continuing to have to ensure stability.
Check the individual’s physical health, stress levels, weight and dietary control to ensure that they are not part of the increasingly stressed and under-performing management and leadership population, where poor diet leads to poor decisions. We are moving into an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease due to poor diet and exercise, and working excessively long hours. This is unsustainable and must be addressed.
Measure how clear the person is before they start the coaching on their personal legacy, meaning, purpose, life vision and values. In my experience, there is no greater transformative experience than for a person to really connect with their deepest needs, wants and values. If organizations want a deep shift in performance, it requires more than working with a human being on a superficial behaviorist level by using external levers. It means tapping into who they truly are and drawing from within and helping people to get clear on their intrinsic values, drivers and motivation.
Darren RobsonAssociation for Coaching and Penna.
About the author
Darren Robson is on the global board of the Association for Coaching and is Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships. He is also the global social innovation lead, championing coaching-led socially responsible initiatives that are making a positive, lasting impact in the world. He is the director of innovation for Penna’s board and executive coaching practice. Darren Robson can be contacted at: Darren@associationforcoaching.com