Today's business environment is undergoing many changes that are
having a considerable impact on the quantity and quality of
leadership talent. Businesses are faced with a large number of
retirees, a lack of viable successors, diminishing leadership
development budgets, and leadership development practices often
focused on training rather than individualized accelerated
development options, such as executive coaching.
When implemented correctly, executive coaching can have a
significant effect on a leader's development as well as on the
corporation as a whole. It's an expensive leadership development
option, however, with costs often as high as $30,000 for a
six-month coaching engagement. Effectively managing coaching
engagements is crucial due to the potential for impact and
associated costs. If the outcomes of coaching engagements are left
to chance, there may be little to no return-on-investment for the
Several challenges to implementing an effective executive coaching
- difficulty finding coaches that are a good fit with the
- lack of focus and standards for the coaching engagements
- problems aligning appropriate coaching resources with the
- minimal involvement in the coaching engagement by members of
- inconsistent quality and outcomes of the coaching engagement
- lack of accountability for results from participants involved
in the coaching engagement (coaches, executives, managers, coaching
- no measurement or evaluation of the coaching engagement.
With those challenges in mind, how can organizations ensure
executive coaching achieves its business impact? Creating and
managing a program that uses a business coaching model will enable
the coaching engagements to have business impact. This model
- Consistent standards. Coach and coachee
qualifications, coaching agreements, and cost model.
- Assessment. 360-degree feedback, MBTI, and other
assessments utilized by the business.
- Feedback. Qualitative feedback from managers,
peers, subordinates, and customers.
- Individual development plans. Uniform development
plan that is focused on business impact and agreed to by the
executive, her manager, and the coaching program manager.
- Coaching sessions. Meetings between the coach and
the executive with a focus on targeted development goals.
- Ongoing evaluation. Evaluation that starts at the
beginning of the coaching engagement and concludes with an
assessment of achievement of goals and targets.
Measuring and evaluating executive coaching
There are several steps involved in establishing a successful
executive coaching program that will enable the measurement and
evaluation of the coaching engagements.
Step 1: Align coaching with business strategy.
Review the businesses strategic plans and determine the top
priority goals and objectives for the business. Then align the
coaching program with those goals and objectives. The objectives of
the coaching program should support the business goals.
Step 2: Coachee selection. Based on the business
strategy and the goals that need to be accomplished, determine the
guidelines for who receives executive coaching and who does not.
Step 3: Coach selection. Determine the skills and
competencies required of the coaches who will be selected. What is
the best fit for the organization based on business strategy? In
addition, determine the cost structure for coaching, including the
hourly fees, and then adhere to that cost structure. Address the
question of external versus internal coaches.
Step 4: Assessment and feedback. Select the best
assessment tools for the organization. Focus on those that are easy
to implement and allow the gathering of both pre- and post-data for
the coaching engagement, such as 360-degree feedback. Collect both
quantitative (assessment) and qualitative (feedback) data.
Step 5: Individual development plans. Design a
development plan that provides strong linkages from the participant
development actions to the desired business impact. The development
plan below is focused on results and alignment with company and
functional goals. The executive coaching sessions must focus on the
development plan created.
Step 6: Ongoing evaluation. Design and implement a
measurement and evaluation process along with a "coaching
scorecard" that collects both quantitative and qualitative data and
is based on the Five Levels of Evaluation:
- Level 1: What was the participant reaction to the
coaching engagement, including the effectiveness of the coach?
- Level 2: What did the participant learn as a
result of the coaching engagement?
- Level 3: Which participant behaviors changed as a
result of the coaching session and impact on participant
- Level 4: What was the impact to the business based
on the participant's involvement in the coaching engagement?
- Level 5: What metrics show the benefits and costs
Measurement and evaluation of the coaching engagement should take
place midterm and at the conclusion of the engagement. Coaching
program metrics may also need to be measured longer term, such as
several months to a year or more after the coaching engagement
ends, and may include metrics such as retention, promotions, or
internal job fills.
The coaching scorecard is a data-collection tool that can be used
to communicate the impact of the coaching engagement at all levels
of measurement and evaluation. Both a micro- and macro-level
scorecard can be created. The micro scorecard focuses on the
evaluation results for each individual coaching engagement, and the
macro scorecard focuses on the compiled results for the coaching
program. Below is an example of a micro-coaching scorecard.
Step 7: Coaching agreements. Once the business
coaching model is fully designed, it is time to create a consistent
agreement that clearly states the roles of all involved parties,
outlines the business coaching model, and explains the process that
will be used to measure and evaluate the program. All participants
must be briefed on the process and sign the coaching agreement.
Implementation of the seven-step process outlined above should
enable an organization to design, develop, and implement an
effective executive coaching program. An effective coaching program
needs to accelerate the development of business leaders and have
impact on the businesses goals and objectives. Ongoing measurement
and evaluation of any coaching program is critical to continuously
improve the program and ensure it has business impact.
The Leadership Scorecard by Jack J. Phillips and Lynn