The measurement of coaching payback or return on investment (ROI) will vary with the person and situation. I know, that sounds like a “consultant’s answer’; however it is the truth.

There are a number of factors that affect how well the coaching process works. Here are a few:

Are you Coachable?

It begins with a state of mind and making a personal investment.

If a coach is not asking you qualifying questions to ascertain how well you can work in a coaching relationship, then you have the wrong coach.  Plain and simple.

Not everyone is coachable. There are people who will never use a coach because they do not believe in the process and have found that something else works better for them.

Coach-ability can also be about timing. Events in your life can create a sense of urgency or you may find yourself more receptive to change.

A coaching relationship requires you to be open to trying new things or to look at your challenges from a different vantage point.

To measure progress, you must be committed to improvement. It might not happen as quickly as you would like and staying power will determine your success.

Bottom line: If you are not ready for this type of relationship, there will be no ROI or payback to measure.

Baseline Assessment

If you want to measure progress, you must be willing to invest in establishing a non-bias starting point. The use of measurement systems such as assessments, interviews or performance reviews are examples of information gathering tools your coach might employ.

Sometimes there is resistance to utilizing information gathering tools because the client believes he or she understands what the problem is and just wants to correct it.

When you bypass the assessment phase, you may find that your problem is solved temporarily because it was actually the symptom of another issue.

Clear Goals or Objectives

Individuals with clear goals or objectives are more likely to improve, especially if a baseline assessment has been done to identify the core issue or problem. Goals and objectives often pinpoint specific actions or milestones. Sometimes, clients want to work on personal behaviors which are affecting many areas of their lives.

When you have difficulty quantifying your goal or objective, consider how you might answer this question: How will you know it when you see it?

Measurements may not always have numbers attached to them. For example, it might be that your professional or social interactions become less stressful and easier.

Some examples of quantitative and qualitative measurements are:

  • Narrow down my potential career paths from five to one.
  • Become more successful in my peer relationships evidenced by having my opinion sought out before group meetings.
  • Learn to “let go” of tasks which impact my ability to generate income.
  • Listen and engage in discussions with people who think differently from me.
  • Identify why I react differently in stressful situations and how to manage it more effectively.
  • Increase my revenue by 50% in the next six months.
  • Increase my online presence and exposure through social networking activities over the next year.
  • Become more aware of situations and the consequences before taking actions that I regret.

The measurements you create with your coach will help you to gauge your progress and can provide a warning signal if you find yourself slipping back.

Interim and Final Assessments or Reviews

Interim assessments help to gauge the progress being made in the coaching relationship. Depending on what is being accomplished, this might happen quickly or months later. It might be as simple as a “check in” with the client or some of the people who are sponsoring the development.

Final assessments are often not done – usually because the client has seen results and he or she wants to reduce additional monetary investment.

When that decision is made, you lose. Having a final review lets you recognize and celebrate your successes and reminds you that you can do it. Without it, you really do not know your true ROI or payback.