With over 7 years' experience being part of, setting up and managing organisational coaching programmes, we thought it would be useful to share some of the things we’ve learnt along the way.
Below are three key factors that will maximise the value of your organisational coaching programme, generating meaningful ROI.
1. Ensure there is complete clarity of purpose and be ready for when you get what you asked for
Fundamentally, whatever your specific objectives, there needs to be an understanding at senior level that coaching drives change, and to reap the benefits the system needs to be resourced and responsive. If we move forward with the idea that investing in coaching is fundamentally about supporting change agents:
Consider what is the change you want to see and ensure there is a collective vision for what better looks like.
Invest in those whom you are willing to empower to disrupt the status quo and be clear on how the wider organisation will empower these change agents to add value, make decisions, and ultimately drive change for the better.
Be prepared for push back from the system – the laws of systems dynamics guarantee it - keep sponsoring!
Be ready to examine any outdated processes, systems, and policies that may be limiting the effectiveness of your people
Help those coached form a collective power to drive change in work practices and attitudes on a wider scale
Be patient; people will make mistakes as they learn – keep sponsoring!
2. Put time into creating a well-thought-out communication and engagement strategy
Coaching is a high-value investment. Maximise it by thinking strategically about your communication at each stage and level of the organisation.
Cascade your communication with a targeted message per audience.
Be specific about the organisation's purpose and intent for this investment
Outline clearly how this valuable benefit can be accessed. Coaching as a benefit is a great motivator for high performance.
Make the engagement process as simple as possible, offering people choice when selecting their coach wherever possible.
Think about your Sponsors – what role are they playing? Highlighting sponsors’ roles is in itself an outward act of sponsorship and ensures your most senior leaders are playing their part.
Extend your message to the whole organisation. This is a broader culture message. It tells everyone that personal professional development is valued in the organisation.
Create interactive information sharing opportunities where people can ask questions, build trust and confidence in the process, and challenge any potential negative assumptions or fears.
3. Create robust and consistent feedback structures to measure the impact of coaching, with a 1 to 3 year outlook on how you will report tangible ROI.
The level of complexity associated with performance, motivation and development of interpersonal skills does not lend itself to being easily measured. To achieve measurable ROI, you’re going to need to think outside the box when devising your feedback loops. Impact increases with scale, and momentum over time. Without a calculated investment and a longer-term outlook, the impact at an organisational level will be very difficult to measure.
Ensure feedback is captured in a confidential manner, with the ability to aggregate data for reporting purposes. Using external providers can help create the psychological safety needed to get rich feedback.
Establish benchmarks, where possible. Continuous feedback over time can help create benchmarks where none exist. However, this requires consistency.
Ensure your feedback considers the immediate experience and the longer-term benefits.
Consider including behavioural evaluators linked to your competencies.
Including verbatim feedback is a great way to gather more nuanced data, through language analysis. We often offer coachees the opportunity to give the organisation anonymous feedback. Through the analysis of theme commonalities, tone of voice, and appropriation narrative we can get a very good sense of wider developmental needs, hot topics, and over time gauge culture change.
We hope this gives you food for thought, whether you are setting up a new coaching programme or revitalising your existing programme. Distinctions provide consultancy services to help you figure out the more complex steps. We also offer fully managed coaching programmes and have a large panel of highly skilled accredited coaches. You can get in touch by sending us a connect request.
Author: Dayna Caceres