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Webinar: How You Should Measure the ROI of Coaching

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Webinar: How You Should Measure the ROI of Coaching

The benefits of coaching for both the individual and the organization are well researched and documented, but it still proves to be difficult to talk about the direct return on investment (ROI) of coaching for an organization. In this presentation, in partnership with AceUp, James Lopata, VP of Coaching Supervision at AceUp will moderate a discussion with a panel of experts on how you should (and shouldn't) measure, and talk about, the ROI of a coaching engagement. Our panelists will take a close look at the systemic impact that coaching has on the broader organization and how this can be traced to stronger business outcomes and bigger bottom lines. The panelists will also discuss ways that one should talk about the benefits that coaching in order to foster buy-in with key stakeholders. Whether you're a coach, a business professional, or an HR leader, you won't want to miss this valuable presentation.

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Webinar Summary

 “Coaching is part art, part science and I’m glad we are coaching on the science even when no one is really asking us.” Nadine Greiner, Ph.D.


So what exactly is ROI? It means return on investment and it’s a way to divide the gains of your investment by investment cost. This webinar covers the gain you will get on that investment. Panelist moderator Paul Trip interviews panelists Lisa Ann Edwards, Nadine Greiner, and Tanya Moore to help coaches understand ROI.


Paul Tripp points out that there are really four different ways to look at ROI across the spectrum. The input, the output, the outcomes and the value creation. Paul further explains that coaching engagement can be looked at from an organizational, leadership and development, or individual based goal perspective. Along with multiple ways of looking at goal achievement, there are external coaches, internal coaches, coaching supervisors and the employee or leader being coached


Question 1: How do you measure ROI and what is the starting point? 

Lisa Edwards, an award winning Executive Coach and entrepreneur tells us that ROI is a very complex topic and her approach to ROI is:

  •  Make it accessible and easy for people to get started.
  • ROI does not always have to be financial. There are nonfinancial measures of ROI such as shifts in feelings, happiness or confidence
  • Understanding that ROI doesn’t have to be measured in every single coaching engagement

Nadine Greiner draws upon her dual Ph.D.’s in organization and clinical psychology and experience in HR which creates the following perspectives for ROI:

  • We should always be looking to measure ROI, as it helps us see the Employee life cycle
  • ROI is different in the first 90 days on the job when onboarding. 
  • ‘High potentials’ have their own needs as well. The need could be individual, situational, such as remedial coaching or coaching towards a culture fit.  

Tanya Moore takes a coaching culture approach to ROI. She stresses the importance of coaching individuals.  

  • Successfully transformed organizations look at the following cultures: coaching, learning, and growth.
  • It’s more about the resulting mindset and behaviors than the programs themselves.
  • In the end it is how do we coach each other? How do peers coach peers? How do we coach people to grow and develop new skills?

How do you think about coaching at scale and complimentary one-on-one coaching and how does that equate to a difference in ROI such as an increase in revenue, a decrease in cost, an increase in internal movement of people.


Question 2: What makes you think ROI can be quantifiably measured? 

Lisa Edwards 

Lisa explains how she quantifiably measures ROI - in her approach she works mainly with individual coaches, internal coaches or external service providers.

  • Financial metrics are identified through “Money Talk”, a conversation framework she developed and can be accessed on her website at   
  • With Money Talk, coaches can see how their client has changed or grown over the time they’ve worked with you as a coach. Are they a better influencer or communicator? Are they better able to engage their team? 
  • Lisa says, “the money is in the example” so listen for examples that can be monetized. The coach is then asked to get validation from someone else in their organization such as someone in Human Resources, the CFO, or their direct manager.

Nadine Greiner  

According to Nadine, increased competencies can be quantifiably measured. Nadine points to the top 10 executive leadership competencies that have the most value as outlined by Korn Ferry:

  • Self-awareness
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Listening skills
  • Empathy
  • Influence
  • Leading during times of change
  • Communication
  • Strategic thinking
  • Building executive teams
  • Working with ambiguity

Aside from the 10 competencies, Nadine has additional input on how ROI is important:

  • Nadine has calculated that the cost of not hiring a coach for organizations is $311,252 and that cost includes the executive search costs, the internal recruiting teams, scheduling interviewees, the evaluations, the reference checks. 
  • Nadine states that if someone needs coaching and a coach is not hired, it is a huge cost to the organization and a massive culture drag.


To Tanya, ROI is really important to getting the buy-in and being able to show what matters. 

  • ROI is the “so what” behind whatever work you are doing.
  • who and what are important for what is being measured. Tanya adds, “Taking the baseline and seeing competencies improve, so what?” 
  • She adds to what Nadine was getting to: the conversation with the CHRO is different from the conversation with the business executive who may want something more financial.
  • The skills that are important in your business and the market must be transparent and built into a system that ties to performance management, career compensation, learning programs, and coaching. 
  • Tanya referenced a Digital Badge system she created with her team when she was at IBM. Badges were earned for activities ranging from learning to gaining expertise. Employees who gained these skills from participating in the program showed that sellers increased revenue and decreased turnover.   

Key Takeaways for Coaches:

  1. ROI is important for coaches but the value of the data for the coaching client can easily be overlooked. This data can empower the client with specific data when navigating conversations about career, pay increases etc.
  2. One concrete thing you can do as a coach is to do a debrief at the end of your coaching engagement. If you aren’t already using an assessment or measurement tool, then ask the coaching client for how they grew during your coaching relationship.
  3. A good story can be powerful but it’s important to keep it simple and remember the “so what” for the client. It is also important that the true hero is the coaching client and their manager or whoever is funding the effort, not the coach.

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