As renowned management guru Tom Peters observed, “What gets measured gets done.” Organizations measure what matters and the same holds true in coaching. When you set measurable goals, you’re telling the brain that those things are important. In response, the brain calls your attention to opportunities that will help you reach those goals.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Executive Coaching
In our experience, when a leader in your company is engaged in executive coaching, the best (and toughest) metrics to evaluate his or her performance improvement focus on shifting others’ perception of the leader (the coachee). When change happens, the coachee demonstrates this change before it registers with others. Therefore, others’ acknowledgement of improvement is the ultimate testament.
Early in the Coaching Engagement
To successfully implement these metrics, the coach needs to establish a baseline of stakeholder perception at the very beginning of the engagement. We believe the coach should interview six to 20 of the leader’s co-workers (e.g., his or her boss, colleagues and direct reports) by asking detailed questions targeted around the leader’s performance.
Through these interviews, the coach’s objective is to understand the department, company, culture, relevant history, interpersonal relationship dynamics and intimate perspectives of the interviewees, all in relation to the leader being coached. This information helps the coach gain a greater sense of context and gauge the leader’s impact on his or her team and the organization at large.
These initial interviews make up one of the most critical steps of the coaching process — and they can result in valuable insights. According to Daniel Goleman, a prominent psychologist and thought leader on emotional intelligence, few organizations have metrics on the emotional climate a business leader creates. The coaching process can help you tap into this data.
Toward the End of the Coaching Engagement
Near the end of the engagement, the coach should re-interview the stakeholders, asking the exact same questions in order to evaluate the changes in their responses. These results will powerfully demonstrate any improvements in the leader’s performance, as well as how effective the coaching truly was.
However, when significant, systemic change occurs, the leader’s performance shift speaks louder than any metrics. The transformation is so obvious that everyone is talking. The coachee has improved in the targeted areas, but the growth likely extends even further: The leader is now achieving results more quickly, communicating more effectively, embracing greater accountability and exhibiting more emotional intelligence, thereby enhancing leadership capacity and, in turn, the organization’s bottom line.
What have you found to be the best executive coaching metrics?