The Ingredients of a Good Evaluation Objective

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Given the key role that the evaluation objectives play in setting the

tone and scope for the evaluation strategy, it is important to examine

what makes a good objective. A good evaluation objective must

address three elements: attribution, direction, and relevance.2

_ Attribution. The evaluation objective must relate to changes

that can be brought about by the coaching. In other words, we

evaluate that which changed as a result of the coaching.We can

attribute the changes to the coaching. For example, the objective:

“Increased collaboration among leaders” specifically

includes the attribution of “resulting from coaching.”

_ Direction. The evaluation objective states what will increase

(sales) or decrease (costs). If specific targets are set, then

include these targets in the objective as well. For example, the

objective just cited includes the word increased, which shows

direction.

_ Relevance. The objective must relate to a strategic business goal.

The evaluation objective draws a clear line of sight with the

business goal, as illustrated in Table 11.2. In this example,

increased collaboration among leaders will lead to a more effective

market plan (initiative objective) and ultimately to deeper

market penetration (business goal).

The set of evaluation objectives does not need to be comprehensive.

That is, not everything should be measured. Rather, focus these

objectives on the most salient outcomes with the greatest likelihood

of producing monetary benefits. In the OptiCom example, the evaluation

objectives focused on collaboration and teamwork. Left out

were areas such as customer satisfaction. Achieving high levels of

customer satisfaction may be the greatest, albeit intangible, benefit

of all. It was left out in part because it is difficult to express in strictly

monetary terms. Following this example, let’s say that collaboration

and team productivity did not generate the expected monetary benefits.

Then it is possible to go back to some of the other potential

outcomes, such as a faster revenue stream, and evaluate these outcomes

and convert them to monetary terms. This refers again to

the flexibility and judgment required in documenting monetary

benefits. Additional benefit areas can be explored until a sufficient

quantity of monetary benefits has been documented.