Sanity Check of the Evaluation Strategy for Full Deployment of Coaching

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_ Was coaching linked to achieving business goals? Yes. When

Jacqui shifted the conversation with the BU leader from talking

about coaching to talking about the business, she opened the

door for coaching to contribute to the business. She shifted the

leader’s mindset from thinking about coaching as just a cost to

creating coaching that counts. The BU was planning to penetrate

a new market, and the BU leader felt that the behavior of

the leaders would have to change in order for the BU to be successful.

Coaching was positioned as a key enabler for the divisional

VPs to develop more collaborative behavior and increase

team productivity. Coaching is now on the critical path to business


One hot-button issue for many coaches is having company

groups, such as HR, or company people, such as Jacqui, impose

restrictions on the coaching relationship. Many coaches bristle

at the thought of having someone tell them what the coaching

conversations should be about. On the other hand, coaching as

a business initiative must show value to the business as well as

to the person being coached. The good news is that these two

areas of value—the person and the organization—are not

mutually exclusive. In fact, these two areas of value go hand in

hand. In the case of OptiCom, the two objectives were set for

the coaching initiative, not for the coaching relationship. Will

each coaching relationship deal with these two issues? Clearly,

yes.Will the coaching relationships deal with other issues? Yes,

and it’s likely that these two issues will serve as jump-off points

to address more root cause issues unique to each client. For

example, one coaching client at OptiCom might focus his

coaching work on finding a stronger personal focus (Quadrant

1), and expanding his ability to engage his team (Quadrant 2)

in order to lay the path for capitalizing on synergies between

his division and others (Quadrant 3) and in the process create

a more integrated approach for the overall initiative (Quadrant

4). While another client might work on keeping his cool

(Quadrant 1), and successfully conducting emotionally

charged conversations (Quadrant 2) enabling him to lead his

team to deliver an essential element for the new market entry

(Quadrant 3).

_ Did the evaluation objectives tie directly to the coaching objectives?

Yes. The two evaluation objectives—increased collaboration

and increased team productivity—relate directly to the

coaching objectives. Deciding which evaluation objectives to

include in the evaluation strategy defines the scope of this strategy:

what will be measured and what will not be measured. An

effective evaluation strategy focuses on those few areas that are

the most salient. Many important aspects of the value the

coaching initiative provides to the business are left out. For

example, employee engagement and customer satisfaction are

clearly potential outcomes of the coaching initiative and may

in fact be the most important outcomes. According to the evaluation

strategy, however, these outcomes, while important, will

be viewed as intangible benefits. Later on in this chapter, we

look at valuing intangible benefits in more detail. Suffice it to

say at this point that an evaluation strategy reflects choices.

Choose what areas to evaluate based on the coaching initiative


_ Did the coaching objectives include application of coaching? Yes.

Check out the verbs: collaborate, develop market penetration

plan, engage their respective teams, and implement penetration

plan. These are all observable, actionable items that can be

measured. Taking these actions can reasonably lead to positive

impacts in the workplace.

_ Did the evaluation plan show how to isolate the effects of coaching?

Yes. Many potential factors will influence how well the

leaders collaborate with one another. The coaching initiative is

but one of these factors. The challenge is how to isolate the

effects of coaching on performance from these other potential

influencing factors. Jacqui and Michael decided that the best

way to meet this challenge was to rely on the ability of the

leaders to estimate the impact coaching would have on the

business. Because no estimation is perfect, the error of this estimation

would also be taken into account. Third-party validation

would also be conducted when appropriate. Later on in

this chapter, we delve into the issue of estimation and isolation

in more detail.

_ Were areas of performance improvement described? Yes. Six

potential areas of performance improvement were identified.

Two of these areas (i.e., planning and customer satisfaction) will

likely be cited later as intangible benefits of the coaching. Leader

and team productivity will be expressed as monetary benefits.

The other two areas (i.e., revenue and cost) may be converted

to monetary benefits or left as intangible benefits. Some wiggle

room is left here about how best to decide on which areas to

convert to monetary benefits. For example, if the market penetration

plan is executed ahead of schedule, then revenue will

accrue more quickly. The margins of this incremental revenue

may be converted to monetary benefits. If this plan is executed

below budget, then cost benefits may be identified as well.