. 7
( 8)


TOTAL $532,000

The ROI was calculated to be:

ROI = (($802,000 - $532,000) ∏ $532,000) = 51%

Intangible Bene¬ts

Intangible bene¬ts are the last, but not forgotten bene¬ts. Several
strategically critical but intangible bene¬ts were noted and docu-
mented by at least half of the respondents. These included the

More effective planning
Faster revenue stream
Increased customer satisfaction
Reduced market penetration cost
Increased collaboration between sales leaders and product
development leaders

Epilogue: The Final Accounting of Coaching at OptiCom

We are about to close out our saga at OptiCom. There is but one act
left. Jacqui was preparing for her presentation to the Leadership
226 Coaching That Counts

Advisory Board. In part, her presentation was to look back at the
successful coaching initiative, and in part, it was to look ahead to
expanding the coaching initiative to other areas. Her presentation
began by asking: Were the coaching initiative objectives achieved
in a way that contributed to achieving the business goal? In order to
answer this question, she dusted off her evaluation strategy (see
Table 12.1) and noted the actual outcomes. The revised strategy
document is presented in Table 12.3, whereby the “plan” entries
refer to the evaluation strategy and the “actual” entries refer to what
was accomplished by the coaching initiative.
It was clear during Jacqui™s presentation that the coaching ini-
tiative created real value”both monetary and intangible”for the
business in a way that contributed to achieving the business goal.
This is where the line-of-sight linkage between the evaluation objec-
tives and the business goal comes into plain view:

Team productivity increased, as evidenced by $285,000 in value.
Increased productivity accelerated implementing the market
penetration plan.
Implementing the plan increased sales in the newly penetrated

This was a wonderful story for Jacqui to share with the Leader-
ship Advisory Board”with a 51 percent ROI to top it off! Valuable
recommendations for expanding the coaching initiative to other
groups were also made, including the following:

Streamline the process by which leaders set expectations for
their coaching participants
Provide more structure to introducing clients to coaching,
including a mandatory orientation session. Also, make sure that
senior leaders and the Leadership Advisory Board have an early
opportunity to meet the coaches, ask questions, and begin to
build a business relationship.
Better utilize company communications to educate the general
employee audience about coaching and share success stories
Demonstrating the ROI of Coaching 227

Table 12.3 Final Plan versus Actual Comparison of Results for the
Coaching Initiative

Coaching Initiative Objectives Evaluation Objectives
Plan: Business Unit leaders Plan: Increased collaboration
effectively collaborate across functions among leaders as a result of coaching
Actual: More than 70 percent of
to develop market penetration plan
Actual: Collaboration behavior leaders reported a demonstrated
increased and was quickly focused increase in collaboration.
on market planning.
Plan: Increased productivity of leader™s
Plan: Leaders quickly engage their teams
Actual: Increased team productivity
respective teams to implement
penetration plan produced $280,000 in value.
Actual: Team performance was
demonstrated to be more effective.
Isolating the Effects of Coaching
Plan: Expert estimation of impact resulting from coaching by the clients;
estimations discounted by error factor.
Actual: Isolated monetary bene¬ts totaled $802,000
Expected Areas of Improvement

More effective planning Faster revenue stream
Higher leader productivity Increased customer satisfaction
Higher team productivity Reduced market penetration cost
Actual Monetary Benefits
Personal productivity: $82,000
Work group productivity: $284,000
Increased sales: $365,000
Reduced cost: $44,000
Increased product quality: $27,000
Actual Intangible Benefits
Reduced cycle time
More effective planning
Faster revenue stream
Increased customer satisfaction
Reduced market penetration cost
Increased collaboration between sales leaders and product development leaders
Bottom Line: Significant contribution to business goals through achievement of
initiative goals and earning an ROI of 51 percent.
228 Coaching That Counts

Keep the Leadership Advisory Board more informed of how
the coaching initiative is progressing and be upfront about
problems or potential issues
In the spirit of continuous improvement, consider team coach-
ing to follow the individual coaching to sustain and increase
the gains made in team development.

The Leadership Advisory Board took these recommendations to
heart and committed to expanding coaching to the next-level-down
group of leaders. Jacqui took a few moments to smell the roses and
then got to work on developing the new initiative proposal and
evaluation plan.

Building Credibility for the ROI Evaluation

The Leadership Advisory Board at OptiCom readily accepted the
notion that coaching could produce tangible, monetary value for the
business and that this value could be documented. Unfortunately,
this ready acceptance of the tangible value of coaching is the excep-
tion, not the rule. In fact, hard-nosed skepticism exists among many
organization leaders about whether coaching actually produces
monetary value. The best antidote for this skepticism is to build
credibility for the ROI evaluation. Coaching sponsors, initiative
managers, coaches, and others can use the following ¬ve proven
credibility builders to soften the blow of even the harshest skeptics:

1. Tell a story with business value as the punch line. The trials,
tribulations, and ultimate success experienced by Jacqui is a
great story, but it is a story that no business leader would be
interested in if there was no business payoff. Sometimes, HR
or learning and development people are accused of being
internally focused. That is, they are perceived as being more
interested in their initiatives per se rather than how these ini-
tiatives impact the business. HR initiatives, such as coaching,
are a means to an end, not the end itself. The harsh reality is
Demonstrating the ROI of Coaching 229

that an initiative that has little business value has no business
being in the organization. The OptiCom story began with
a real business need (market penetration) and ended with
meeting this need (increased sales). Jacqui gained tremendous
credibility throughout this process and, in the end, earned the
right to expand the coaching initiative.
2. Tackle the isolation issue head on. The greatest challenge for any
evaluation is to isolate the effects of coaching from other
potential in¬‚uencing factors. You know that you have success-
fully isolated the effects when the business leaders and spon-
sors agree you have isolated the effects. Isolation is in the eyes
of the beholder. Therefore, it is important to address this issue
early on”the earlier the better. Meet with the business leaders
and share with them the evaluation strategy in which isolation
is prominently featured. Put their concerns on the table and
address each one. If they have additional ideas for isolating the
effects, even better. You know you have gotten past this hurdle
when the leaders sign off on the evaluation plan.
Because so much of isolating the effects of coaching relies
on expert estimation, this is often viewed as the soft spot in
the evaluation strategy. This is especially true if estimation is
the only isolation tool used. Here™s a little secret: Business is
estimation. Anyone who has valued inventory, accounted for
goodwill on the balance sheet, or determined the cost of
quality knows how critical estimation is as a business tool. All
we are doing here is applying estimation as a business tool to
isolate the effects of coaching. In fact, we even go beyond what
many others do in their valuation of hard-asset initiatives
when we account for the error of the estimate. Inventory man-
agers, accountants, and quality engineers typically do not take
into account the possibility of error. So in a sense, our use of
estimation is more conservative than other estimation tech-
niques, which are commonly used.
3. Be conservative at each step along the way. Credibility of the
evaluation often depends on the day-to-day decisions made
230 Coaching That Counts

throughout the evaluation. The golden rule is to always take
the more conservative path. The more conservative the evalu-
ation, the more credibility it is likely to have. Here are some
Always take the lower ends of the estimates. If product
margins range from 20 percent to 28 percent, then take the
20 percent ¬gure. If a coaching client says she saved three
to ¬ve hours per week, then take the three-hour ¬gure for
the ROI calculation.
Throw out the extreme high scores. Before tallying all of the
monetary bene¬ts, identify the highest monetary value and
discard it from the evaluation. This removes any poten-
tial criticism that one extreme score skewed the results.
Also, consider validating the higher monetary values. For
example, a large rates increase can be validated by review-
ing monthly revenue statements.
Assume that people who were part of the target population,
but who could not participate in the evaluation, created no
value from the coaching. If, for example, 50 people were
coached and comprised the target population for the
evaluation but only 40 could participate in the evaluation,
then assume that the 10 who could not participate created
no value.
Base the ROI calculation on the costs for everyone in the target
population regardless of whether they were included in the
evaluation. So, in this preceding example, the costs would
be based on all 50 coaching clients, while the bene¬ts would
be drawn from the 40 who were part of the evaluation.
Use fully loaded costs in the ROI. Costs must include more
than just the professional fees, travel, and other out-
of-pocket expenses. Fully loaded costs also include the

Phillips (1997).
Demonstrating the ROI of Coaching 231

Opportunity costs (e.g., the cost of people™s time to par-
ticipate in the coaching)
Facility costs (e.g., the use of conference rooms and
of¬ces regardless of whether these facilities were charged
Administrative costs (e.g., time and expenses of all staff
who worked on the coaching initiative, the time of the
Leadership Advisory Board, and others who manage and
deploy the initiative)
Deployment costs (e.g., usage of telephone, conference
bridges, video conferences)
Evaluation costs (e.g., all of the time and materials that
were used for the evaluation, even if these resources were
internal and there were no direct charges incurred)
Communicate these conservative decisions and actions to the
business leaders and sponsors. Don™t be shy about sharing
each of these decisions with the powers that be. They need
to understand how thoroughly you approached the evalu-
ation, and their con¬dence in the outcome of the evalua-
tion will be enhanced. It will soon become clear that in
the ¬nal analysis, the bottom-line monetary bene¬ts likely
represent the lower end of the bene¬ts realized by the
4. Enlist the support of credible sources. Business leaders often have
a go-to person in the ¬nance department on whom they rely
to sort through ¬nancial data and reports. Identify this key
¬nancial resource and buy him or her lunch every now and
then. Share with this person how you are approaching the
evaluation and gain his or her perspective on how best to
proceed. Gaining early buy-in from this kind of credible
resource will pay big dividends later.
5. Ensure the perceived independence of the evaluation. In the case
of OptiCom, Jacqui had engaged the services of an outside
evaluator. This external resource brought with him a tremen-
dous amount of ready-made credibility that cast a positive
232 Coaching That Counts

halo over the entire evaluation. Also, as an outsider, he was
perceived as having little vested interest in the outcome of
the evaluation. It is not always possible to engage an external
resource, so ensuring the perceived independence of the eval-
uation is a critical issue. How can this be done? Here are some
proven ideas:
Engage the internal accounting group to oversee the evalua-
tion. The accounting group can be brought in at certain
milestones to review and sign off on the progress of the
evaluation. For example, they could approve the evaluation
strategy, certify that all costs and bene¬ts were appropri-
ately determined, and approve the ¬nal report.
Have another group within the company conduct the evalua-
tion. The quality group is often well-versed in statistics and
data collection and may be willing to serve as an evaluator.
The challenge here, of course, is gaining their agreement to
serve in this role. Another option is to have them handle
only certain aspects of the evaluation (e.g., the data collec-
tion), which would be more limited in scope and not place
such a big demand on their resources.
Engage an outside consultant on a more limited basis. The
outside consultant could be brought in to develop the
evaluation strategy, and if, for example, the quality group
did the actual data collection, the consultant could come
back to write the ¬nal report. The consultant would then
be in a position to certify the evaluation process and results.
Clarify upfront with the business leaders and sponsors who
will conduct the evaluation and make sure they perceive no
issues with the independence of the evaluators. The more
business leaders buy into the evaluation process, the less
concerned they may be with who actually does the evalua-
tion. Enhancing the perceived independence of the evalua-
tion may be increased by emphasizing the integrity and
conservative nature of the evaluation process.
Evaluating Application-Based
Coaching: What Are Leaders
Doing Differently?

Knowing something and doing something about it are two different
things. People may have gained great insights into their behavior as
a result of their coaching sessions, but applying these insights to
improve performance is another matter entirely. Sponsors of coach-
ing initiatives who ask: “What are they doing differently as a result
of coaching?” are really asking about evaluating application. Evalu-
ations often go no further than application. For most business
leaders and sponsors, the real question on their minds is whether
they got value for their investment. Seeing people behaving in a
more effective way as a result of coaching may be as meaningful to
some business leaders as on ROI. These leaders will take the leap of
faith and agree that these more effective behaviors will increase busi-
ness performance. Such was the case with the sales and marketing
leader at Frontier Manufacturing.

Setting Expectations for Coaching at
Frontier Manufacturing

Before the coaching contract was signed, Paul, the sales and mar-
keting VP at Frontier Manufacturing (¬ctitious name), wanted to be
crystal clear with the coaching vendor and his HR VP that he wanted
to see changes in how his 12 regional sales managers (RSMs) led
their people and seized market opportunities.“Our salespeople seem

234 Coaching That Counts

to act like they need a written invitation to prospect new customers,”
Paul lamented. “Our RSMs respond by trying to ¬nd an engraver for
the invitations. Where™s the sense of urgency? Forget the invitations;
there™s a time when you just have to throw them in the deep end of
the pool to teach them to swim.”
Coaching (as opposed to some big training program) via the
telephone was viewed as the ideal solution, given the individual
needs and wide geographic dispersion of the RSMs. Besides, Paul
lamented, “I don™t want to invest in a big sheep-dipping program
that doesn™t hit the mark.” Paul met with the vendor and the HR VP
to set expectations for the coaching initiative. These expectations
were made to be a speci¬c part of the contract for coaching 12 RSMs:

1. The RSMs would receive ¬ve months of coaching.
2. A follow-up evaluation would be held two months after the
coaching was completed to determine how well people have
applied what they learned during the coaching. The HR
VP and vendor would work out how best to conduct this
3. At least 10 of the 12 coaching clients were expected to make
signi¬cant progress in at least these two areas:
Improving their people management skills
Increasing the number of prospecting calls by their
4. The vendor will evaluate these two areas and report back to
Paul within nine months as to what kind of progress was made.

The Four Major Decision Areas for
Evaluating Application

The contract was signed and the coaching initiative was launched.
Later, we will look at the results of the evaluation and explore how
best to evaluate application. At this point, however, we have already
seen how Paul made some important decisions. Let™s discuss the
following topics:
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 235

Timing for evaluating application
Setting targets
Managing vendors
Strategies for collecting application data

Timing for Evaluating the Application of Coaching

Evaluating application must be conducted after a reasonable time
has elapsed since the people participated in the coaching initiative.
The question was: What would be a reasonable time to conduct the
evaluation? Answering this question is always a judgment call by the
initiative sponsor, coaching leader, and evaluator. Enough time has
to elapse so participants have an opportunity to apply what they
have learned; however, if too much time elapses, people may forget
what they have learned or lose the momentum to try something
new. It was decided that the best timing for the evaluation at Fron-
tier would be two months after completion of the coaching. Paul
considered this time frame appropriate because he felt this afforded
the RSMs enough time for the coaching to spur renewed vigor in
prospecting for customers. Any time much longer than this, he rea-
soned, might unintentionally dissipate any momentum gained from
coaching. Everyone knew about the evaluation and that the results
were going to be publicly discussed. New customer prospects were
routinely posted.

Setting Targets for the Evaluation

In an ideal world, the process of setting evaluation objectives for
evaluating application would be the same process that was outlined
for evaluating ROI. In reality, though, evaluating application is
usually less formal. Business leaders have no expectation of docu-
menting a monetary return, so they don™t want to “over-science” the
evaluation. That does not mean that there is not a lot on the line”
or even on the bottom line. In the case of Frontier, increasing the
number of prospects means increasing revenue. Paul is one of those
236 Coaching That Counts

leaders who is willing to keep an open mind that coaching can play
a role in producing tangible value to the organization. He knows that
if the RSMs change their ways and actively prospect, then revenue
will increase. Performance measures that are meaningful to Paul are
already in place: total revenue by month, net revenue by month, and
the percentage of revenue from new customers. What™s needed
from the evaluation is the bridge between the coaching experience
and the impact on these performance measures, which may take
several months to show an impact.
Paul and the HR VP struck a good compromise in their selection
of the two application-based objectives: improving people manage-
ment skills and increasing the number of prospecting calls. Paul was
willing to take the leap of faith that achieving these two objectives
would eventually impact the business performance measures. On
the ¬‚ip side of this coin, he too realized that not achieving these
objectives did not bode well for achieving the business results that
he and his team needed. This evaluation, then, was a kind of canary
in the coal mine: an early indication that more development or other
personnel actions would be required to achieve the sales goals.

Managing Vendors to Deliver Application-Based Coaching

Working with vendors to effectively design and implement
application-based coaching requires a strong partnership. Most
vendors will welcome the opportunity to contribute to the success-
ful application of a program they provide. Here are some tips for
partnering with vendors to deliver application-based coaching:

Share the application objectives during the request for proposals
(RFP) stage. Vendors will structure their proposed program
around the program objectives, so they need to know upfront
what these objectives are. Knowing Paul™s expectations in
advance for improved people management and prospecting
skills enabled the coaching vendor to more strongly position
coaching to achieve the expected outcomes.
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 237

Mutually agree on an appropriate role for the vendor. Paul felt
comfortable letting the coaching vendor collect data about how
people were applying what they gained from coaching. Other
sponsors or leaders might not be so comfortable”after all, the
vendor has a vested interest in the outcome of the evaluation.
In this case Paul felt that the vendor™s evaluation role was
appropriate given the more limited scope of the coaching ini-
tiative (e.g., 12 people) and the objective nature of one of the
objectives (e.g., increase in the number of prospecting calls).
Agree in advance on targets for application if targets are to be set.
Many vendors may initially be reluctant to be held partially
responsible for how coaching is applied in the organization.
After all, they have no real authority in the organization. The
stronger the company“vendor relationship, the less reluctant
the vendors will be. Emphasize that it is a mutual responsibil-
ity and that the vendor will be given the tools and support to
live up to its end of the bargain. In reality, almost all coaching
clients will apply some aspect of what they gained from coach-
ing to the workplace. So, simply looking at application rates (as
is typically the case with conventional training programs) has
little meaning. What is meaningful is that people have taken
actions that achieve organization objectives. In this regard Paul
was quite explicit when he stated that at least 10 of 12 RSMs
were expected to achieve signi¬cant progress.
Map out a strategy for taking any necessary corrective actions. If
and when the application of coaching is not meeting expecta-
tions, corrective actions must be taken. This is the true test of
a partnership: how well the partners handle adversity. Mapping
out a strategy in advance enables the company and the vendor
to quickly mobilize for action.

Strategies for Evaluating the Application of Coaching

Evaluating how coaching clients acted upon the insights gained from
coaching and applied what they learned to the workplace presents
238 Coaching That Counts

some special challenges. First of all, the insights and learnings are
unique to each coaching client. This is a different situation than, say,
a leadership training program where everyone receives the same
experience. Next, the insights and the issues being addressed are
often private and not for general consumption. Coaching clients
have to feel comfortable in sharing their issues and experiences. In
the previous two chapters we talked about the importance of allow-
ing each client to tell a story about his or her experiences. The same
consideration applies here as well. Evaluating application really boils
down to having the client tell a story and then analyzing this story
in more detail.
There are three primary ways to capture the client™s story and
evaluate the application of coaching:

1. Personal interviews
2. Group surveys
3. Focus groups

Personal Interviews

The most effective approach for collecting data on application is the
one-to-one interview, which can be done in person or over the tele-
phone. The interviewer can capture data in the client™s, or respon-
dent™s, own words and has the ability to probe areas of interest. The
interviewer can establish some level of rapport with the respondent
and create an environment where the respondent feels comfortable
in sharing personal information. The additional probing enables
more data to be captured and data that are more in-depth and of
higher quality than other means. While this method is the most
effective, it is also the least ef¬cient of the three data collection
methods, and therefore, the most costly. Because of this factor,
clients often turn to other, more ef¬cient methods.
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 239

Group Surveys

Written surveys try to accomplish much of what the interview
does, yet at a lower price point. These surveys contain all of the right
questions (we will get to what these questions are later on in this
chapter), although there is no opportunity within the survey itself
for follow-up questions or probing of any kind. On the plus side,
automated survey research tools allow scores, or even hundreds of
respondents to provide data, and have the data analyzed in a matter
of a couple of weeks. Surveys offer a standardized approach to data
collection and therefore lend themselves to questions with response
categories or scales. Analyzing standardized questions reveals
summary statements to be made about the entire group of people
who were coached. The surveys used in the previous chapter at
OptiCom provided many examples of these kinds of questions. In
this case study, we found for example that 86% of the respondents
were improving their coaching skills as a result of their coaching (cf.
Figure 12.4). This was very valuable to learn and contributed to
understanding the value that the coaching was creating for the
clients and the organization. In the next section of this chapter we
will examine a survey that explores the application of coaching in

Focus Groups

Focus groups are facilitated meetings of up to a dozen people that
are organized around answering a series of focusing questions. A
facilitator leads the group through these questions. Focus group data
are generated as the result of a facilitative process and, while guided
by the focusing questions, the facilitator has the freedom to go off in
many different directions to gather the data that are viewed by the
group to be most critical. The big appeal of focus groups is that the
dialogue can lead to some interesting and unexpected places. Partici-
pants build on one another™s comments, tell stories, give examples,
and share experiences to create a wealth of qualitative data.
240 Coaching That Counts

These groups can be used either as a companion to other data col-
lection techniques or alone. The most common approach is to use
focus groups as a follow-up to survey data. A survey of coaching
clients may not only answer questions”but raise some new and
intriguing questions as well. A focus group can explore these new
questions and provide a fuller picture of the application of coach-
ing. Focus groups are not suitable to explore individual stories,
however; the interactive nature of the focus group conversations
does produce rich qualitative data. We will see later in this chapter
how this approach was used successfully at Frontier Manufacturing.
Later in this chapter, we see how Frontier successfully used a focus
group with Regional Sales Managers to explore application and
chart a course of action. Guidelines for successfully using focus
groups include the following:

When focus groups include only a subset of a greater population,
make these groups as representative of the greater organization as
possible. This increases the credibility and quality of the data.
Keep the size of the group to 12 people and, if more than 12 people
are needed, conduct more than one session. Groups larger than
this size make it dif¬cult for everyone to participate, and groups
smaller than this may not provide all of the data required.
Ensure that the initiative sponsor and/or business leaders buy into
this data collection approach. This will increase their con¬dence
in the outcomes of the group sessions.
Use experienced facilitators and those who are especially quick on
their feet. Work with the facilitator in advance to plan the
agenda and outcomes for the session.

Planning the Evaluation at Frontier Manufacturing

Paul had been planning a “Hitting the Mark” session with the RSMs.
The purpose of this session was to look at midyear results and to
take actions to ensure that annual sales goals are met. The HR VP
suggested that this would be an ideal time and place to review the
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 241

results of the coaching. Paul was initially reluctant to give up ¬‚oor
time at this meeting. With the budget constraints, the RSMs only
got together twice a year, so their time together was precious. At the
urging of the HR VP, Paul agreed on a two-pronged approach to the
evaluation”one that would respect people™s time and perhaps even
energize them further. First, a written survey would be completed
by each coaching client and a group summary of the results pre-
pared. This survey would be completed in advance of the meeting
so as to not take up valuable meeting time. Second, one hour of the
Hitting the Mark session would be devoted to discussing the results
of the survey and delve into how the RSMs are trying new ways to
lead their teams and increase prospecting.

Evaluating the Application of Coaching at
Frontier Manufacturing

Step 1: Administering and Analyzing the Written Survey

About two weeks before the Hitting the Mark session, the HR VP
e-mailed the survey questionnaire to the 12 RSMs. Figure 13.1 pre-
sents the survey. All surveys were returned and analyzed. Table 13.1
presents the tabulated results of the survey. Before we examine the
results, there are a few technical points to be made:

1. The ¬rst item captures examples of what the RSMs are doing
differently as a result of their coaching. Each RSM mentioned
at least one of the four statements in his or her survey. There
were many other examples of application, but these were not
included in the data summary sheet.
2. The “yes” responses in item 2 show the percentage of respon-
dents who agreed that their coaching improved effectiveness
in each of the three categories mentioned (e.g., self, team, and
3. All of the percentages in Table 13.1 are based on all 12 re-
spondents. In this way, all percentages are comparable. So, for
242 Coaching That Counts

Name: ______________________________

Please take ¬ve minutes to respond to the following questions in preparation for the one-
day Hitting the Mark follow-up session. In addition to helping you prepare for this session,
your responses will help us to better learn from your experiences and ultimately achieve
more as a sales team. Please forward your completed worksheet to human resources at
least one week prior to your scheduled one-day follow-up session. Thank you!

1. What are you doing differently as a result of what you have learned from your

2. Have these actions and what you learned from coaching improved:
a. Your effectiveness as an RSM? Yes _________ No _________
b. Your team™s effectiveness? Yes _________ No _________
c. Your organization™s performance? Yes _________ No _________

3. For each “Yes” answer above, please complete the appropriate set of questions on
the following two pages (e.g., a, b, and/or c):
a. What do you think was the impact of improving your effectiveness as an RSM?:
i. Increased your productivity _________
ii. Increased employee engagement _________
iii. Improved quality of your work _________
iv. Improved decision making _________
v. Increased clarity about priorities _________
vi. Reduced cost _________
vii. Reduced the time to complete project _________
viii. Other: ___________________________ _________
Please describe an example of how you improved you effectiveness as an RSM:

Figure 13.1 Hitting the Mark Quick Wins Score Sheet.
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 243

b. What was the impact of improving your team™s effectiveness:
i. Increased productivity of your team _________
ii. Increased team™s engagement level _________
iii. Increased team™s level of prospecting _________
iv. Increased team™s collaboration _________
v. Improved team™ communications _________
vi. Improved quality of the team™s work _________
vii. Reduced cost of the team™s operations _________
viii. Other: ___________________________ _________
Please describe an example of how you improved your team™s effectiveness:

c. What was the impact of improving your organization™s performance:
i. Increased employee engagement _________
ii. Increased sales _________
iii. Increased results of prospect calls _________
iv. Increased productivity of organization _________
v. Increased customer satisfaction _________
vi. Reduced cost _________
vii. Other: _________
Please describe an example of how you improved your organization™s performance:
4. What other bene¬ts have you personally, your team, and/or the organization realized
so far from the coaching?

Thank you for completing this survey! We will share the group results with you in the
Hitting the Mark session.

Figure 13.1 Continued
244 Coaching That Counts

Table 13.1 Summary of Application Data From Frontier Manufacturing

Hitting the Mark Quick Wins Score Sheet Summary
1. What are you doing differently as a result of the coaching (examples)?
Conducting sales team meetings more effectively (5)
I spend more time with the sales reps on customer calls (4)
Posting individual and/or team sales performance metrics (3)
Implemented a new sales opportunity ranking process (2)
Yes No
2a. Did these actions improve your effectiveness as an RSM? 92% 8%
2b. Did these actions improve your team™s effectiveness? 83% 17%
2c. Did these actions improve your organization™s performance? 58% 42%
3a: Your effectiveness as an RSM (percent selected item)?
Increased your productivity? 33%
Increased employee engagement? 83% YES
Improved the quality of your work? 42%
Improved decision making? 75% YES
Increased clarity about priorities? 75% YES
Reduced cost? 0%
3b. Your team™s effectiveness?
Increased productivity of your team? 50% YES
Increased team™s engagement level? 75% YES
Increased team™s level of prospecting? 25%
Increased team™s collaboration? 67% YES
Improved team™s communication? 75% YES
Improved the quality of team™s work? 25%
Reduced cost of the team™s operations? 8%
3c. Your organization™s performance?
Increased employee engagement? 50% YES
Increased sales? 25%
Increased results of prospect calls? 33%
Increased productivity of organization? 25%
Increased customer satisfaction? 50% YES
Reduced cost? 8%
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 245

example, under 3a, 33 percent (or four respondents) indicated
that the coaching increased their personal productivity, while,
under 3b, 50 percent (or six respondents) indicated that coach-
ing increased the productivity of their teams. This also means
that the percentages listed in 3a each must be lower than the
percentage value (e.g., 92%) presented in item 2a. Likewise, the
percentage values in 3c all must be lower than the 58 percent
value in 2c because only those respondents who said yes to 2c
went on to address the items in 3c.

What do these results say about the coaching initiative at Fron-
tier? First, as illustrated in Question 1 in Table 13.1, all respondents
stated that the coaching positively impacted their behavior (note
that respondents could state more than one category). Whether it
was conducting sales meetings more effectively (5), spending more
time with the salespeople (4) posting performance metrics (3), or
implementing new processes (2), the RSMs took a series of actions
to improve performance. These actions improved performance
across a wide spectrum of the organization. All but one RSM
improved personal effectiveness (e.g., the 8% “no” for item 2a) and
all but two improved team effectiveness (83%). Seven RSMs believed
that their coaching positively impacted the overall performance of
the organization (58%).
The increase in personal effectiveness created many bene¬ts.
More than 75 percent of the RSMs cited increases in employee eng-
agement, clarity about priorities, and improved decision making.
Team effectiveness was boosted by increased engagement, collabo-
ration, and communications. Clearly, coaching had a big impact on
the RSMs and enabled them to achieve far more than would have
been possible without coaching. The attention now shifts to sus-
taining these gains and continuing to build on the momentum that
has been established. There is more work to be done. Coaching did
wonders for improving people management and engagement, but
revenue generation seemed to be lagging.
Four questions emerged from the data analysis that warranted
further investigation. It was hoped that the answers to these
246 Coaching That Counts

questions would unlock the secrets to increasing revenue. These
questions would be brought to the upcoming session for the RSMs
to deliberate. Collectively, in a collaborative atmosphere, the RSMs
could come up with strategies about how best to move forward. Each
question related to one or both of the original initiative objectives:
improving people management and increasing prospecting calls.
These questions (with the relevant initiative objective in parenthe-
ses) were as follows:

1. What does higher engagement levels of the salespeople look
like, and how can we better manage our people to continue
this momentum (people management)?
2. What best practices can we share about leading our respective
sales teams, especially in the areas of people management and
prospecting (both objectives)?
3. Why does the impact of coaching on increasing sales seem to
be lagging (sales)?
4. What can we do to accelerate the impact on the organization,
especially to increase sales (sales)?

Step 2: Conducting the Hitting the Mark Session

Armed with these four focusing questions, the HR VP developed the
one-hour agenda for the Hitting the Mark session. The objectives
for this session were to:

1. Share ideas, perspectives, and best practices about effectively
managing people and increasing sales through prospecting
2. Agree on a plan of action to continue momentum

The agenda is presented in Table 13.2, which used the survey data
as a platform to encourage dialogue and information sharing. Each
focusing question guided the dialogue of the 12 RSMs to explore key
areas that emerged from the survey. Some of the major ¬ndings from
the session included the following:
What Are Leaders Doing Differently? 247

Table 13.2 The Agenda for the Survey Feedback Session

Time Activity Resources
5 minutes Overview of team activity Paul opens activity
5 minutes Feedback of the survey results HR VP facilitates
Review qualitative and quantitative data; Summary sheet of
show how the focusing questions emerged the data
from a review of the data.
25 minutes Focusing Questions HR VP facilitates
Spend about ¬ve minutes discussing each Set of four
question, noting key points and themes. focusing questions
20 minutes Open Dialogue HR VP facilitates
Scan the group so that each RSM can express
their views on the coaching and its impact.
5 minutes Next Steps Paul closes
Summarize actions and commitments made
during the activity.

Coaching was highly effective in enabling the RSMs to seek
their own solutions to improving how they managed people.
Immediate gains were realized in improving decision making,
setting priorities, and engaging their teams to achieve these
Although prospecting calls had increased, the lead times were
too long for these prospects to be converted to customers and
to show up as increased revenue.
RSMs agreed that they needed to do more to coach their sales-
people on conversion strategies to accelerate the revenue


The experience at Frontier Manufacturing illustrated how a business
leader wanted evidence that a coaching initiative changed behavior
and had an impact on the organization. ROI data were not needed,
in part, because Paul accepted at face value the link between the
248 Coaching That Counts

changed behavior on the part of the RSMs with increasing the
number of sales prospects. Monetary value was implied (increased
revenue), so there was no perceived need to document this value. It
was also clear from the focus group discussion that it would have
been too early to conduct the ROI analysis anyway. The lead time to
convert prospects into revenue was too long. One important lesson
to be learned here is that, regardless of whether ROI data are to be
collected, a clear chain of impact must be described: coaching led to
behavior changes, which positively impacted the organization.
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The Value Nexus: Organization
Value and Individual Values

The four-quadrant Leading with Insight model presented in the ¬rst
section was developed based on the experiences of both authors.
Each quadrant was illustrated with stories about coaching relation-
ships that really hit home about how the coach and client can
achieve extraordinary success. This model has further proven its
value in capturing and organizing the data from all of the coaching
relationships that the authors have formally evaluated. In this ¬nal
chapter, we look at all of the coaching relationships in aggregate. The
Leading with Insight model provides a platform for this analysis and
enables us to gain greater insights into the collective value that
coaching provides to the business in addition to the value individ-
uals gain from coaching. This cuts to the heart of Coaching That
Counts: how coaching creates value for both the individual and
the organization. Let™s examine this value nexus and see how
coaching creates a win-win situation for both the individual and the
A review of the data reveals six key ¬ndings:

1. The perceived effectiveness of coaching increased with the
length of the coaching relationship.
2. Less than half of coaching relationships evolved beyond
Quadrant 2.
3. The impact of coaching on the business increased as coaching
relationships evolved.

252 Coaching That Counts

4. Monetary bene¬ts produced from coaching increased as
coaching relationships evolved.
5. Seventy percent of the monetary value was associated with
quadrants 3 and 4.
6. As coaching relationships progressed through the quadrants,
the average monetary bene¬t produced by each client

Each of these ¬ndings is examined in detail in the following sections.

Finding 1: The Perceived Effectiveness
of Coaching Increased with the Length of
the Coaching Relationship

Coaching clients were asked after their coaching relationship had
concluded how effective they believed their coaching to be. Figure
14.1 displays the hours of time that people were coached and how






12 hours
6 hours 18 hours
14 6 2
Not Effective
40 25 17
Somewhat Eff.
46 69 81
Very Effective

Figure 14.1 Percentage of Respondents Citing the Effectiveness of Coaching
According to the Hours They Spent Being Coached.
The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 253

effective they believed their coaching to be. This ¬gure clearly shows
that those who were coached the longest (e.g., 18 or more hours)
rated coaching the highest: 81 percent rated coaching as very effec-
tive, 17 percent as somewhat effective, and only 2 percent as not
effective. On the other hand, those who were coached the shortest
amount of time, (e.g., up to 6 hours) rated coaching as less effec-
tive: 46 percent rated coaching as very effective, 40 percent as some-
what effective, and 14 percent rated coaching as not effective.
One implication of the data is that coaching relationships should
not be arbitrarily cut short. Coaching relationships should be
allowed to run their course regardless of how long this may take.
Some organizations, for example, will begin coaching with a pilot
program and set a time limit of, say, six months. Coaches and clients
will be surveyed or interviewed to evaluate the relative success of the
pilot. These data suggest that, by setting this kind of time limit, these
organizations may be limiting the effectiveness of the coaching and
having the pilots underperform. A more effective approach would
seem to be to let the coaching relationships run their course and to
conduct an interim evaluation, say after the pilot had been running
for three months. This evaluation would go beyond just featuring
an effectiveness rating to also include many of the items found in
the OptiCom survey (Figure 12.2). This interim evaluation may also
uncover some ways to increase the effectiveness of coaching and
suggest some midcourse corrections.

Finding 2: Less than Half of All Coaching
Relationships Evolved Beyond Quadrant 2

It takes time for a coaching relationship to run the course through
all four quadrants. In fact, few coaching relationships complete the
cycle. Figure 14.2 shows the percentage of coaching relationships
that cover the four quadrants of the Leading with Insight model.
This ¬gure shows that, for example, only 15 percent of the total
coaching relationships successfully dealt with issues related to “Orig-
inal Actions” (Quadrant 4). These percentages are cumulative, so the
254 Coaching That Counts

1. Finding Focus

2. Building Bridges

3. Creating 43%

4. Original Action

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Figure 14.2 Percentage of Coaching Relationships That Covered the Four
Quadrants of the Coaching That Counts Model.

15 percent of the relationships related to original actions were also
included in the other three quadrants of Finding Focus (Quadrant
1), Building Bridges (Quadrant 2), and Creating Alignment
(Quadrant 3). This ¬gure also shows that 43 percent of the rela-
tionships dealt with Creating Alignment (and Finding Focus and
Building Bridges), whereas 77 percent dealt with Building Bridges
(and Finding Focus). All coaching relationships in the data (100%)
dealt with issues about Finding Focus.
Of course, not all coaching relationships should cover all quad-
rants. The speci¬c quadrants covered relate to the speci¬c issues the
coaching client needs to have addressed. Once these needs are
addressed, then the coaching relationship has achieved its goal and
the relationship can be concluded. Chapters 3 and 4 offer case
studies to this effect for Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively. On the
other hand, in most coaching relationships, as one door closes
another opens. There may be, for example, a presenting problem
that must be immediately dealt with. As this problem is resolved,
new issues pop up and the coach and client then tackle these new
issues. Each new door that opens deepens the relationship and
The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 255

explores more profound issues. At least four factors limit how the
coaching relationship may evolve:

1. The skill level of the coach. There is great variability in the edu-
cation, experience, credentials, and personal development of
coaches. Not all coaches are capable of guiding clients through
all four quadrants. This opens up a “buyer beware” situation
for those people who wish to engage coaches in their organi-
zation. Fortunately, groups such as the International Coach
Federation (ICF) have established rigorous and consistent cri-
teria for certifying coaches and accrediting coaching schools.
An ICF Master Certi¬ed Coach (MCC), for example, must
have 2,500 hours of documented coaching experience and 200
hours of approved education in coaching. With fewer than
1,000 MCCs in the world, however, there are too few of these
coaches to go around. There are other groups and other certi-
¬cations as well. Some coaching companies will qualify
coaches based on a set of skill and experience criteria. It is
essential that coaches experience all four quadrants through
their own personal and professional development in order to
guide clients to do the same. It is important to note that the
experiences do not need to be the same. Ever person who goes
through the depth of personal and professional development
described by the Leading with Insight model will travel
his own path; however, the underlying dynamics in each quad-
rant have similarities that can only be appreciated through
experience. The point is for people who hire coaches to explore
the qualities and quali¬cations of the coaches and to know
what the coaches bring to the party. As we will see later in this
chapter, coaching relationships that cover all of the quadrants
tend to generate bene¬ts that are more strategic in nature
and result in higher monetary value. In launching a coaching
initiative, selecting coaches who do not have the ability
to guide their clients in all quadrants may limit the strategic
value of the initiative. The added investment in higher quality
256 Coaching That Counts

coaches may produce a greater monetary return on the
2. The willingness and ability of the client to explore deeper issues.
Just as variability exists among coaches, so too with coaching
clients. Not all clients are willing to dig deeply into their own
reactions, emotions, and values, in order to grow and develop.
Clients must be deeply committed to their own development
to devote the time and energy required to realize results in
Quadrants 3 and 4. Not all clients are willing, or in some cases,
able to undertake the complex, but deeply rewarding, chal-
lenges that are at the core of these later quadrants. Some clients
may choose to take a break from coaching after attaining their
goals, and will resume a coaching relationship later when they
have the need or desire to further their own development.
Interviews with some clients revealed that they were not
willing participants in the coaching initiative. They were told
to be coached. In many of these cases, coaching did not go too
far. Coaching should always be a voluntary decision. To do oth-
erwise does not serve the person, the coach, or the organiza-
tion. Even for those who are willing participants in coaching,
there is still an initial skepticism that must be overcome.
Coaches must, as soon as possible, establish rapport and allow
the skepticism to dissipate.
3. The demands on rapport, intimacy, and trust. These demands
increase as the relationship moves to the higher numbered
quadrants. The coaching relationship evolves to the extent that
the coach and client infuse this relationship with mutual trust
and feel comfortable with higher levels of intimacy. This takes
time to happen as the relationship matures, and still many
coaching relationships do not mature to the point that a sus-
tained and successful exploration of Quadrant 4 issues can be
done. It is a very powerful partnership when both the coach
and the client are ready, willing, and able to work their way
through to Quadrant 4. The client must trust the coach, and
the coach must trust herself. Coaches must be willing to re¬‚ect
The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 257

very clearly the dynamics that they see, including telling clients
things that they don™t want to hear. It takes a lot of courage
on both the part of the coach and the client to step into this
revealing place.
4. Internal versus external coaches. Many organizations have
decided to develop a cadre of internal coaches. These coaches
may be hired from the outside and perform full-time coach-
ing services or be drawn internally from the ranks of people in
HR, training, leadership development, organization develop-
ment, or other areas. The rationale for having internal coaches
varies among organizations, although cost considerations are
usually at or near the top of the list. Full-time professionally
credentialed coaches hired into organizations can be as effec-
tive as external coaches as long as these internal coaches are
perceived to be independent agents with no axe to grind or
politically tainted in any way. One of the ¬rst decisions to be
made, and perhaps one of the most important, is to whom
these coaches report. Generally, the higher the reporting rela-
tionship, the greater the perceived independence the coaches
will be. Having the lead coach of the group report to the CEO
is likely the best solution, although this may not be practical
in all situations. Alternately, having smaller groups of coaches
report to the heads of the business units in which they work
may be a good solution.

Let™s turn our attention now to internal coaches drawn from the
ranks of HR and other groups. People who have been tagged to be
coaches are often sent to an external coaching school. This educa-
tion, while often excellent, needs to be combined with the experi-
ence of coaching and being coached. It is surprising how many
internal coaches have never received coaching themselves. It takes at
least a year or two of full-time coaching to develop the requisite skills
and applied knowledge to be an effective coach. Part-time coaches
will take longer. Organizational leaders who develop their own
internal coaches must recognize the time and resource require-
258 Coaching That Counts

ments. It will take time for these newer coaches to develop the skill
set, insight, and experience to coach in all four quadrants. To gain
the greatest impact from coaching programs it is essential to cali-
brate the needs of the leaders to be coached with the coaching capa-
bilities of the coaches assigned to work with them. Inexperienced
coaches are unlikely to offer the high-quality coaching the leader
needs or the high-impact coaching the business requires.

Finding 3: The Impact of Coaching on the Business
Increased as Coaching Relationships Evolved

Coaching That Counts is coaching that impacts the organization in
addition to the individual. Examples of business impact that were
explored in personal interviews with coaching clients included pro-
ductivity, team productivity, revenue, employee retention, cost
reduction, and work quality. During these interviews, which lasted
about half an hour, coaching clients were interviewed, and they
reported on which particular business areas they believe were
impacted. These interviews, and other survey data, provided suf¬-
cient information to characterize the coaching relationship in terms
of the four quadrants of the Leading with Insight model, as dis-
cussed in Finding 2. We learned as we examined this ¬nding that
less than half of the coaching relationships reached Quadrants 3
and 4. This is unfortunate, because as we will learn, these latter two
quadrants produce a higher percentage of business impact.
Figure 14.3 shows the percentage of respondents who reported
their coaching having a signi¬cant impact on at least one business
impact area according to the four quadrants. Percentages are given
for each quadrant. So, in the ¬rst quadrant, Finding Focus, 58
percent of those respondents whose coaching relationship was char-
acterized as Finding Focus reported that their coaching impacted a
business area. Of those clients whose coaching relationship also
addressed Quadrant 2, Building Bridges, 78 percent reported busi-
ness impact. Of all the clients who Created Alignment (Quadrant
3), 87 percent reported business impact. Every client (100%) who
The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 259

1. Finding Focus

2. Building Bridges

3. Creating 87%

4. Original Action

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Figure 14.3 Percentage of Respondents Who Said That Coaching Impacted at
Least One Business Area According to the Quadrant in Which the Impact Was Made.

engaged in Original Action (Quadrant 4) reported impacting at least
one business area. Therefore, the higher the quadrant, the higher the
reported business impact.
Earlier in this chapter, we talked about some of the factors that
may limit coaching from accessing the higher-level quadrants. An
implication suggested by Figure 14.3 is that those who manage
coaching initiatives could look closely at these limiting factors. Over-
coming these limitations would appear to increase the likelihood of
the coaching initiative signi¬cantly impacting the business.

Finding 4: Monetary Bene¬ts Produced
from Coaching Increased as Coaching
Relationships Evolved

In Finding 3, we learned how coaching impacted the business
according to the four quadrants. Now we turn our attention to how
this impact created monetary bene¬ts. During the interview process,
the clients were asked additional questions that explored if, and by
260 Coaching That Counts

how much, the impact on the business produced monetary bene¬ts.
These monetary values were determined in much the same way that
monetary bene¬ts were identi¬ed for OptiCom in Chapters 11 and
12. Every business impact area identi¬ed by a coaching client was
explored for potential monetary bene¬ts. Of all the respondents
interviewed, 57 percent were able to convert at least one impact area
to monetary value.
Figure 14.4 shows the percentage of respondents who converted
at least one impact area to monetary value for each of the four quad-
rants. Returning to Finding Focus, 42 percent of these respondents
were able to convert the value to monetary terms. These monetary
bene¬ts contained the lion™s share of the personal productivity ben-
e¬ts that coaching generated. Half of those respondents who added
Quadrant 2, Building Bridges, to their coaching relationship were
able to identify monetary bene¬ts. Much of the team productivity
bene¬ts were captured in this quadrant, as well as in Quadrant 3.
The monetary percentage rose to 60 percent for those in Quadrant

1. Finding Focus

2. Building Bridges

3. Creating 60%

4. Original Action

0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Figure 14.4 Percentage of Respondents Who Said That the Impact of Coaching
Created Monetary Value According to the Quadrant in Which the Value Was
The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 261

3, Creating Alignment, and to 88 percent for those whose coaching
covered all four quadrants. These latter two quadrants contained
most of the value gained from revenue increases and employee

Finding 5: Seventy Percent of the Monetary Value
Was Associated with Quadrants 3 and 4

In learning about Finding 4, we discovered how the percentages of
coaching clients citing monetary bene¬ts increased from 42 percent
in Quadrant 1 to 88 percent in Quadrant 4. Let™s turn our attention
now to the amount of monetary bene¬t produced in each of these
four quadrants. Figure 14.5 shows the percentage of the total
amount of monetary bene¬ts produced for each quadrant. The
monetary bene¬ts for Quadrant 1, Finding Focus, represented
only 2 percent of the total pool of monetary bene¬ts; Quadrant 2,
Building Bridges, accounted for 28 percent of the value; Quadrant

1. Finding Focus

2. Building Bridges

3. Creating 37%

4. Original Action

0% 10% 20% 30% 40%
Figure 14.5 The Percentage of Total Monetary Bene¬ts Gained from Each
262 Coaching That Counts

3, Creating Alignment, accounted for 37 percent; and Quadrant 4
accounted for 33 percent of the total pool of monetary bene¬ts.
These data show that 70 percent (e.g., 37% + 33%) of the total mon-
etary value was produced by coaching relationships that accessed
Quadrants 3 and 4.
The discussion about Finding 4 indicated a trend whereby the
personal productivity bene¬ts tended to surface in Quadrant 1,
whereas some of the more strategic sources of bene¬ts, such as
increased revenue, tended to come in Quadrants 3 and 4. Although
these are tendencies and not steadfast rules, the data suggest that the
more strategic bene¬ts may not kick in until coaching relationships
go beyond Quadrant 2. Returning brie¬‚y to Figure 14.2, we saw
that less than half (43%) of the coaching relationships go beyond
Quadrant 2 and therefore may not access the more strategic sources
of bene¬ts. This reinforces the importance of enabling coaching
relationships to move beyond Quadrant 2 whenever appropriate.
The implication is that by not doing so, coaching initiatives may
leave up to 70 percent of the monetary bene¬ts unrealized.

Finding 6: As Coaching Relationships Progressed
Through the Quadrants, the Average Monetary
Bene¬t Produced by Each Client Increased

Figure 14.6 shows the average monetary bene¬ts produced by the
client relationships for each of the four quadrants. Those coaching
relationships that worked within the ¬rst quadrant, ¬nding focus,
produced on average $4,454 in bene¬ts. As mentioned earlier, these
bene¬ts were largely a result of personal productivity bene¬ts. It is
inherently dif¬cult to generate a large amount of monetary bene¬ts
from the productivity increases of the individuals being coached.
The average bene¬t produced by those client relationships working
in the second quadrant, Building Bridges, bumped to $51,535. As
respondents were building bridges, they were also opening new
avenues to produce monetary bene¬ts. The average monetary
The Value Nexus: Organization Value and Individual Values 263

1. Finding Focus

2. Building $51,535

3. Creating $83,500

4. Original Action

$- $50,000 $100,000 $150,000

Figure 14.6 Average Monetary Bene¬t for Respondents According to Bene¬ts
Produced in Each Quadrant.

bene¬t for Quadrant 3, Creating Alignment, increased to $83,500,
and the average monetary bene¬t increased even more for Quadrant
4, Original Action, to $138,338. One reason why these latter two
values are so great is that there is simply more of an upside to
increasing revenue rather than productivity. Let™s now explore in
more detail how monetary value can be gleaned from each of the


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