Measuring the Impact of Executive Coaching

How one coach used Progress Report to quantify change and persuade a skeptical boss about the value of coaching

An executive coach was working with the Controller of a large diversified corporation. The company had grown through acquisition, and the Controller was struggling to consolidate financial reporting across a number of different legacy systems. He was also having difficulty influencing the finance professionals in the business units.

His manager, the Chief Financial Officer, agreed to get him a coach—but was skeptical of how he would be able to gauge the return on investment. He wanted good, solid metrics that showed how the Controller’s performance was improving.

The coach had an answer. Progress Report could show how others saw the Controller’s performance improving in terms of change on specific behaviors. And those specific changes in behavior could be directly linked to business results.

The coach started by getting a baseline reading using the Leadership Versatility Index 360 (LVI). The feedback confirmed the need for greater efficiency in consolidating the financials. It also shed light on how the Controller could better influence his peers in the business units. They wanted him to be more proactive about collaborating, less quick to shoot down their ideas, and more decisive. In addition, the LVI highlighted that he had a tendency to do work that should be done by his direct reports.

Working from this baseline assessment, the coach and Controller set development goals and created a plan for achieving them. Then, the coach said, “Imagine it is 9 months from now. You have achieved these goals. What does that look like to your coworkers? What are they saying you have gotten better at doing?”

The Controller thought deeply to envision what better looked like. He and the coach fashioned his thoughts into a series of specific behavioral statements. These statements became the custom item content for his Progress Report survey.

The Controller shared his development plan with the CFO and his colleagues who provided feedback. He also shared the specific behavior items on his custom Progress Report (see graphic) and asked them to hold him accountable by completing a Progress Report survey of observed change in his behavior nine months later.

The Controller’s Progress Report results demonstrated significant improvement in his overall leadership effectiveness as well as each of the seven behaviors he was focused on (see report). Interestingly, even though he showed the most improvement on the item, “Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the quarterly financial close and reporting process,” the feedforward part of the assessment indicated that this area needed continued improvement.

The Controller felt confident he could close that gap, in large part because the feedback indicated that his finance colleagues saw him as much better at collaborating with them.

After the engagement, the coach told us:

“Thank you for providing the Progress Report as a way to both measure my client’s development and demonstrate the value of the investment in coaching to his boss, the CFO. We included several of the CFOs executive committee peers in the survey, and the positive results significantly improved his confidence in my client.”

When you’re looking for a way to show specific, measurable results of your coaching engagements, take a look at Progress Report. It’s an easy-to-implement tool that can turn your skeptics into believers.

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