Executive Coaching: Return on Investment


Executive Coaching:  Return on Investment

Author: Tashania Morris

Executive coaching is an excellent way to train, develop, and retain talent within the organization.  It is important to remember that great cultures don’t just happen- they are deliberately created.  Providing executive coaching can reap great benefits for your organization if done correctly. Too many companies fail to create a business case when developing coaching programs, which can result in overspending, and lackluster performance.  When done correctly, executive coaching can have a positive impact on not only the employees, but the bottom line of the organization.

Steps to creating a culture of coaching

Collect Data

Before embarking on creating a coaching program, you will need to collect data to see how the program will best fit your organization.  Figuring out where the greatest needs exist will be beneficial to you.  It gives you an idea of where to begin and provides a clear picture of before and after when it is time to evaluate and measure the outcome of the program.  Collecting data allows you to see which format will better serve your employees. When collecting, remember to ask:

  • Will the coaching program be formal, informal, or both?
  • Do we need an external coach or do we use an internal coach?
  • What are the benefits associated with finding an external coach as opposed to an internal coach?
  • Will higher level executives feel comfortable working with individuals internally or will they feel like an outside coach is more effective?
  • How will coaching be tied into an employee’s performance plan?

There are many ways to gather data.  You can survey employees and managers, have one-on-ones to get opinions, or hold a meeting where employees are encouraged to voice their opinions.

Aligning Coaching Program with business needs

It is extremely important that the coaching program is aligned with the business needs.  Getting employee buy in will be critical, especially if people are resistant to change.  Tying the coaching program with the mission, vision and core values of the organization is extremely vital for its success.  Employees can see how it benefits both the organization and their careers.  The coaching program should do more than providing employee’s with AHA moments, there should be a direct impact on the bottom line.  When creating a business case, don’t forget to create a budget.  The money, time, and resources you need should be accounted for in order to get an accurate impact of the program’s outcomes.

Strategic Goals & Action Plans

It is essential that goals and action plans are created for the program.  Without these key elements, the program can result in an epic failure.  Think about the following questions:

  • Why was the program implemented in the first place?
  • What will success look like?
  • What are the goals of the program?
  • Will it be formal, informal or both?
  • How often will coaching be done?
  • How will it be tracked?
  • Will there be ongoing coaching throughout the year or only for a specified timeframe?

Remembering why the program was created in the first place is essential.  If challenges exist, you can always go back to that question to regain focus.  Success can mean different things to everyone, which is why this should be clearly defined.  Action plans should be put in place, detailing the outcomes for the first 90 days onwards.  Ongoing support should be put in place if needed.

Pilot program

A great way to start out is to create a pilot program.  Choose a few employees and operate the program on a smaller scale.  This allows you to see what the program will look like prior to getting everyone involved.  Create a committee and a focus group consisting of employees that are willing to participate.  The focus group will be able to tell you what worked and what didn’t.  Working with a small group prior to getting the entire company involved will eliminate any potential confusion, and it is easier to fix the inadequacies on a smaller scale.

Measure results

The program must be measured to see if it is successful, or to see if there are any changes that need to be made.  The results should be tied to the bottom line.  For example, if there were 50 employees that were on a performance improvement plan and 45 employees were able to make drastic improvement as a result of being coached, this must be documented.  If productivity has increased 50% across departments, this should also be documented.  It is hard to articulate the success of the program without detailed documentation.

What does the research say?

Over the years there have been many studies regarding the ROI of executive coaching.  In the past, it was looked at as a last resort for executives that were on their way out of the company.  More recently, it is looked on positively, where employees see it as a way of developing and growing in their careers and managers get to develop and retain top talent.  In an article entitled, “Executive Coaching as a Transfer of Training Tool: Effects on Productivity in a Public Agency”, the research revealed:

Thirty-one managers underwent a conventional managerial training program, which was followed by eight weeks of one-on-one executive coaching.  Training increased productivity by 22.4 percent.  The coaching, which included: goal setting, collaborative problem solving, practice, feedback, supervisory involvement, evaluation of end-results, and a public presentation, increased productivity by 88.0 percent, a significantly greater gain compared to training alone. (Bane, Kopelman, & Olivero, 1997).

Coaching has been documented to drastically improve performance and improve leadership development within many organizations.  Many young professionals are looking to develop and grow in their careers and this is a great way to retain and develop talent.  If done correctly, the employee will feel like the company is playing an active role in developing his or her career.


Bane, K. D., Kopelman, R., & Olivero, G. (1997). Executive Coaching as a Transfer of Training Tool: Effects on Productivity in a Public Agency. Public Personnel Management Volume, 461-469. Retrieved- https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Richard_Kopelman/publication/279449781_Executive_Coaching_as_a_Transfer_of_Training_Tool_Effects_on_Productivity_in_a_Public_Agency/links/5593199308ae1e9cb4298c0c/Executive-Coaching-as-a-Transfer-of-Training-Tool-Effect

Tashania Morris, MSHRM, SHRM-CP, CDF, is an intern for IOD who loves all things HR. Her personal mission is to empower, educate and promote change. She can be reached at info@instituteod.com.  For more information about our certification programs and professional development courses, please visit our website at www.instituteod.com.

The Executive Coaching Certification Program (ECCP) is offered online over 8 months, 3 hours per month to maximize your development as an Executive Coach.  This program helps coaches advance in their career and build their reputation as an effective coach. Each session is delivered through Go-to-training.  Our expert faculty provide interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning.  For more information, visit our website:  www.instituteod.com


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