The Book Shelf:
Patricia Pulliam Phillips, Jack Phillips and Lisa Ann Edwards
Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI
Book Reviewed by Bill Carrier
This issue of The Future of Coaching covers a wide variety of perspectives on the return and outcomes of coaching, venturing from the ontological to the academic. The book we offer in this quarter’s Bookshelf is the strongest and most comprehensive take on ROI in coaching we’ve seen, from the application to the theory. We’d highly recommend Measuring the Success of Coaching: A Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI.
Of course, it is written by the Phillips (Patricia Pulliam and Jack) in collaboration with Lisa Ann Edwards. In this book, the authors apply their process for the evaluation of ROI directly to coaching programs. Though written with slightly more focus on the evaluation of programs, there is much to offer coaches who do single coaching engagements and for smaller organizations. The recommended rigor scales well, because the philosophy and process don’t change.
The bottom line is simple: ROI “stands for Return on Investment and is the ultimate measure of accountability….For every dollar invested in coaching, how many dollars were returned, above and beyond the investment?” The authors suggest an evaluation framework (conceptual model), a rigorous process, an integrated set of guidelines to support successful and uniform application of the process, and case studies.
Two themes strike me as useful to point out among the many valuable ideas in the book. The first is the importance of making careful and conservative claims for ROI. ROI is a financial measure, and though it often contains components open to interpretation, it also frequently contains many easily fact-checked or referenced details. Sloppy, incorrect, or deceitful business cases (whether you are a coach or a program manager) can be disastrous—and are, at the very least, poor support for good work.