As a leadership coach, I see another critical concern in the careful and conservative creation of ROI: Our work is built on the deep trust we earn with our clients. In our reporting of outcomes and ROI, we can add to that trust with precise, constructively reported ROI. We can also weaken or damage that trust by making exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims. Not only does the care of our ROI and outcomes reporting show the measure of our character and professionalism; our clients are also likely to feel (quite rightly) that their own reputations are accounted for and protected.
The second theme I’d like to highlight is importance of early planning in evaluation. When I was in the Army, an oft-repeated phrase was “proper planning prevents poor performance.” In Measuring the Success of Coaching, there is a strong drumbeat of early preparation for more effective and more consistently useful outcomes. The authors suggest, for example, deciding not only on goals at the outset of a coaching engagement, but also on the measures that you will apply to the goals, the methodology you will use to collect and interpret the measures, and even the way you will report on the outcomes. More, the authors’ suggestion to not just plan but also communicate and gain agreement on the measures, methods, and reporting, serve as a great reminder about buy-in from the client and the client’s organization.
So what’s the bottom line? Measuring the Success of Coaching is a solid work specifically geared for our profession. Consider including it among the foundational texts every organizational coach and every coaching program manager ought to have in their library.