Habits and Happiness 18: Getting the Measure of Change

I have been occupied recently with measurement with a project on Coaching Evaluation and my general interest in the analytical side of HR. I’ve been lapping up John Boudreau’s new book "Re-Tooling HR" and can’t wait till he speaks at our Annual Conference in Manchester on the 11th of November.

I share his concern that HR gets hung up about developing specific measures for everything we do. In reality organisations have some fairly robust and well regarded measures we can piggy back on. We can also learn a lot from practitioners in finance, marketing logistics and engineering who have long developed and organisationally credible measurement models.

The experience of measuring coaching is a case in point. My insights from conducting research and talking constantly to practitioners is that there is a see saw spectrum veering between no evaluation at all (64% in our 2010 L&TD Survey), or a belief must find the holy grail of ROI or the accountants will laugh at us. The result is we do not have a convincing story around evaluation. Yet in reality we do and it’s when coaching is delivered around the goals and outcomes of the organisation. yet many organisations some of which will be featured in the guide, do great evaluation they just don’t describe that part of coaching well. Evaluation is a habit. the habit of systematically and regularly examining the effectiveness of something.

We often neglect sponsorship, business context, how we resource and procure coaching, all of which drives how it is evaluated. We also sometimes try to find new data when the existing data from 360’s enegagement surveys, project outcomes and KPI’s if linked intelligently to coaching, would actually do the job. A housing association might be happy with statements which show customer satisfaction and a falling void rate. A hedge fund might want you to prove coaching’s Alpha, because that’s the business they are in. That said we should be robust in challenging people when their analytical demands are ridiculous. The idea of ROI without any context is facile. It leads to dramatic over claiming for the impact of coaching which unfortunately has the impact of downplaying its actual impact. We will be releasing our guide to Real World Evaluation at our Coaching At Work Conference on the 28th September. Must get on and finish it!

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