How can You Sell Coaching With ROI Before ROI?
Article written by Lisa Ann Edwards, February 2017
Discover how to measure both qualitative and quantitative results of your work, prove the impact of your coaching in any boardroom and use reliable data to grow and sustain your business as a professional coach.
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Five Signs That Measuring the ROI of Coaching is Critical to Your Success
Some may believe that measuring the return-on-investment of coaching is impossible, or even unnecessary! As a coach, I understand this perspective. In fact, just like my coaching colleagues, I already know first-hand that coaching works.
Like you, I’ve seen coaching clients recommit to the organization, re-energize their teams, communicate more effectively, become more resilient and have seen the positive ripple effect these changes have on the coaching client’s team.
So, why do I believe that it's important to measure the return-on-investment of coaching?
Personal satisfaction with coaching is not enough
In fact, for a long time, I didn't believe it was necessary. My perspective changed suddenly when I worked for a global organization owned by a billionaire with deep financial reserves, and run by a CEO who wholeheartedly believed in the effectiveness of coaching, yet decided to eliminate all coaching when the business faced a financial crisis.
I was shocked. I never believed coaching would be cut because:
The CEO loved coaching. Employees frequently saw the CEO's coach in meetings, in the hallways and around the office. We even knew her name.
Coaching was highly embraced and in addition to the CEO, each of the senior executives had a coach. Coaches were seen as an instrumental thought-partner for executives.
The CEO was a champion of coaching because he saw personal value in coaching. It wasn’t uncommon for our CEO talk about the insights and value he personally gained from conversations with his coach.
But the CEO’s personal satisfaction with coaching wasn’t enough to keep coaching in our organization.
While our CEO acknowledged that he loved working with his coach and believed it made a difference, when faced with the realities of profit and cash flow, the CEO said he could not see how coaching added a positive impact to the bottom-line.
Unfortunately, the organization had no way to prove otherwise.
How demonstrating the value and return-on-investment of coaching worked for me
I was able to bring coaching back to the organization and won a significant budget to launch a leadership program during a period of continued deep budget cuts, by building upon the ways I was tracking success and incorporating the monetary value of coaching as well as ROI, then presenting my work to the CFO.
You can ensure your coaching isn’t cut, too, by recognizing the signs that measurement is absolutely critical to the success and ongoing financial support of your coaching.
The five signs that measuring coaching value is critical
Below are the five signs in which measurement, including ROI, are critical to the ongoing support and success of your program. I’ve seen people overlook these critical signs and have their coaching budget cut as result.
Financial struggle: The organization is challenged or struggles to meet its goals, including financial targets. Don’t assume that verbal commitment to coaching in spite of financial challenge, is a guarantee that coaching will not be eliminated. If your organization or client’s organization is struggling -- especially financially, it doesn’t matter how much emotional commitment the organization has to coaching. If cash flow is limited, every expense will be scrutinized.
Leadership change: The organization has had a change in leadership either at the senior executive level or in human resources or talent management. New leaders like to bring in fresh new ideas, new people and new programs to quickly demonstrate their value to the organization. Minimize the risk that your valuable coaching will be cut and replaced by demonstrating the success and monetary value of your coaching to new leaders so that you can engage their support and ongoing financial commitment to continue your work.
History of Repeated Cost-Cutting: Some organizations love to look for ways to improve and top-grade their organization. They are constantly reshuffling individuals, teams, budgets and programs within their organization as a way to stay innovative and nimble. If your organization or client’s organization has a history of constant restructuring, streamlining and efficiency programs, tracking the success and value of your coaching is critical to keeping your coaching work in place, in spite of the organizational disruption.
Coaching Confusion: Stakeholders are unable to clearly articulate the need, value or desired outcomes of coaching. In fact, this may be the biggest reason why measuring value of coaching is critical. Stakeholders and sponsors who love coaching but can’t articulate why it’s valuable to the organization, may one day begin to question and doubt the positive impact coaching has to the organization. Without a clear reason for coaching, there are no clear measures for tracking coaching success and value.
Coaching Doubts: Stakeholders have started to ask what the organization is getting out of coaching. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen senior-level coaching program managers cast aside the doubts of coaching value expressed by more senior executives. Unfortunately, not long after those doubts were expressed and little action was taken to address those doubts, the coaching program manager’s budget, team and job were eliminated.
Get Ahead: You can get ahead of any of these issues so that you don’t have to repair a situation. Be proactive by assuming that it’s always possible that coaching will be cut from your organization or from your client’s budget. If you see any of the signs listed above with any of your clients, start taking action today. It’s much easier to prevent a budget cut than to repair a budget cut.
What you can do today: Scan your existing client business and recognize the signs that coaching is at risk and measurement is critical. Then begin tracking the success of your work, documenting measurable impacts and linking to monetary values and share your evidence of success and monetary value to your client or sponsor.
Discover how to measure both qualitative and quantitative results of your work, prove the impact of your coaching in any boardroom and use reliable data to grow and sustain your business as a professional coach. Secure your spot for Lisa's upcoming Complimentary Workshop happening this March. Secure your spot now.