We like to think that we are measuring coaching for results, however, coaching effectiveness is only measured on business results 15% of the time. The rest of the time it is measured on ad hoc reviews, changes in 360 assessments and other measures (2019 Coaching Survey). What other business initiatives would we accept this as a measure of success?
Coaching Starting with Behaviour
Coaching focuses on behavioural change to get results. It’s often just not specific results. Sponsors will seek out coaches to help with behavioural change because the behaviour is causing some organisational pain. The focus is on behavioural change and not the impact on business results.
The flow of coaching in this instance looks roughly like this:
Coaching for Results
Coaching starting with results changes the model slightly with a focus on business results. It is generally accepted that behaviour drives results if we remove confounding macro factors like market conditions and economy. If the behaviour is causing organisational pain then we need to pinpoint the pain and start treating the root cause rather than focusing on behaviour and hoping the pain stops. How would the coaching work flow change if we start with the end in mind?
Ron Ashkenas (HBR, Executive Coaches, Your Job is to Deliver Business Results) says: “start by trying to achieve some specific results, and see what behaviours are needed to get there.”. This got me thinking about a method or process for doing that. This is where six-sigma meets coaching with a touch of change management “quick wins” in the mix.
The six-sigma process and change management more generally emphasise the need for “quick wins” to reinforce the change process and as reinforcing triggers for cognitive dissonance. The coach will need to partner with the client to identify potential quick wins aligned to the target results. The quick wins serve to test the behaviours and the program are in service of the results or if there is a need for tweaking. You calibrate the coaching and boost client confidence at the same time.
Six-Sigma practitioners would be very familiar with both the importance and difficulty of the “define” and “measure” phases of DMAIC. This is where coaches will need to persevere to create a deep partnering relationship with the client. If we get these phases right then the analysis and the subsequent coaching will deliver results. This will need coaches to draw on all their tools and skills including ABC behavioural analysis to connect behaviour to results / consequences.
Coaching – Feel Good or Business Results?
It is known that coaching delivers results when done properly. However, the measures are often based on results that are simply people feeling better about the behaviour of an individual which then has some connection to improved results and productivity. It is time we looked at quantifying the results of coaching in terms of business results. This will demonstrate relevance and move coaching from a tool of last resort for exhausted supervisors to a proactive, business driven methodology used by forward looking leaders,
If you are a business leader or coach then please leave your comments. It would be great to hear your thoughts about how you using coaching for results as either a practitioner, client or sponsor.
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