If you want to move fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others.
This African proverb contains a great truth. In our society, we tend to give priority to what is urgent rather than what is important, and arriving faster before even arriving. Applying this wisdom to our daily work, we can conclude that working alone may be faster, but to achieve great goals we cannot do everything on our own.
Throughout history we have seen many times how successful people, or those who have left their mark on the world, did not go alone; either someone encouraged them and motivated them to start, or at some point in their journey they were joined by others who lent their support. Great goals are hard to achieve alone. This is one of the reasons the practice of coaching has experienced an exponential growth in recent years.
Laypeople, professionals and organizations have found an ally in the coaching processes because they help tap into human potential that has historically been difficult to maximize. Currently there is a prevailing need for companies to have more prepared executives who possess the “soft skills” which allow them to make better decisions, define objectives and goals, and to create a positive impact in their business unit. Executive coaching has developed into an excellent methodology for companies seeking to reach the next level. The fundamental task of a coach is to provide tools to the coachee, hold them accountable, and to accompany and encourage them in their transformation process. A coach is a change agent that helps people break the bad habits preventing them from being successful and form new ones that lead to their goals.
Coaching is understood as a training, but the “process of coaching” is much more than this. The coach’s job is to team up with the coachee through a transformation process of transformation, just as a sports coach is there every step of the way guiding their athlete.
The first steps of any transformation are crucial and maybe the hardest. Like one of the dialogues from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
The coach recognizes that deciding is taking risks and that getting out of their comfort zone isn’t easy. So he or she helps the coachee capture their thoughts, and make sense out of them Then they determine clear objectives and create a plan to achieve them.
It is important to emphasize that coaching acts on the abilities that the person already has, not their knowledge at any given point in time. The mission is to activate the resources already within the coachee. This is done through questions, ones that will help them rethink their situation. However, one might wonder, how can we tell when the coaching has been successful?
Is it possible to get a measurement of the results of coaching? It’s possible to measure ROI of a coaching process?
Based on the measure model from Donald Kirkpatrick, yes, we can measure the tangible and intangible results of a coaching process.
- We utilize metrics such as: how satisfied is the participant with the coaching process?
- Which are those abilities and competencies?
- Did they learn with coaching? Did they use and apply what they learned?
- And what results did the company obtain through the coaching plan?
Some of the indicators may be productivity, quality, organizational strength, customer’s service, level of customer complaints, retention of executives, cost reduction, net profit, improvement with collaborators, superior’s and personnel’s relationships, level of satisfaction, commitment with the organization, and many others.
To measure these changes and their repercussions, we can use a series of tools that help us to form a better perception of the return on the coaching program, these are: interviews with the closest people, questionnaires or third-party assessments and evaluation tools. The leadership competencies and leadership of the coachee, but above all else, we place a high value on the perception of the person who has lived the process.
So how do you choose a coach? In addition to coaching experience and personal compatibility, coaching effectiveness is the most important determinant of coach selection. In other words, when a coach is chosen, coaching effectiveness is more important than the coach’s qualifications, experience and reputation (Global Coaching Client Study, International Coach Federation, 2009). In other words, a coach needs to be able to influence the desired result. Second, recent studies also show that being able to demonstrate the benefits of coaching and being able to demonstrate the ROI of coaching are the two biggest opportunities facing coaching as a profession (2012 Global Coaching Study, International Coach Federation).
Perhaps the best way to measure the return on investment is through the changes that the person has experienced throughout and after the process. Coaching must help people become more aware, and with that new awareness, they can make better decisions. They are the main characters in the process and in their own decision making. Therefore:
Greater awareness = more possibilities = better choices.
The main return on investment from coaching are the results that come from having a mirror that challenges you, confronts you and accompanies you so that you can personally grow and achieve lasting success, and that my friend is priceless.
By Olivia Reinosa
Coach and Consultant