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Measuring and Communicating ROI in Executive Coaching

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We’ve all heard horror stories of seemingly great executive or business coaching arrangements that have ended suddenly, seemingly without reason. Everything seems to be going well. Clients are responding to the coaching and making progress toward their goals. Then suddenly, the budget is cut or new leadership ends the partnership.

There are many factors that contribute to maintaining a business coaching arrangement. Obviously, excellent coaching is a primary component, but don’t underestimate the importance of establishing program measures of success and how those will be communicated.

Being able to measure and communicate return on investment (ROI) in executive coaching is crucial to the success of the coaching arrangement. As coaches, we intrinsically know the return is huge for our clients, but if we don’t establish practical, objective ways to measure and communicate that return, we might struggle to keep our coaching arrangements over long periods of time.

ROI would be fantastically easy to define if we could always tie our coaching to financial results. Sometimes this is possible, but typically we need to work with our client to develop measurable goals that are not directly tied to financial numbers.

We can look to the coaching agreement as our model for establishing ROI. You’ll likely have partial answers to most of these questions from your sales process. Once you have a signed agreement, you’ll want to have an in-depth, meaningful conversation to kick off the coaching engagement with clear expectations.

Below are questions you can use to invite the client to establish expected ROI with you.

What are our primary goals for the coaching engagement?

Take the time to deeply understand their expectations. Use your excellent coaching skills to dig down to the truth below their initially stated expectations. Continue to restate and reframe the goals until there is agreement and then write these goals where everyone can see them.

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