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Building a Business Case for Coaching

Mentoring and collaboration in an office

Building a business case for coaching to be implemented within an organisation will depend on whom the request is coming from. For example if the request is from the CEO, then chances are that the coaching programme will go ahead. However, if for example the request is coming from the Head of HR, they may need to 'sell' the vision, justification, rationale and benefits of the coaching programme. For this, they would need to present a business case for coaching.

If this scenario is familiar to you, there are a few questions you may want to consider, before building the business case for coaching:

  • What objectives/issues/problems are you looking to address, e.g. what are you looking to enhance/fix/solve?
  • Who will be coached?
  • Who will do the coaching - internal/external?
  • How will you match coaches to coachees?
  • What training will the coaches complete?
  • How will the coaches be supervised?
  • What codes of practice will be followed?
  • How will you ensure confidentiality and record information?
  • What will be included in the coaching agreements/contracts?
  • How will you 'sell' the idea within the organisation that coaching is positive?
  • Over what time period will the coaching programme be scheduled?
  • How will you evaluate the results?

Coaching Programme Objectives/Outcomes

Organisations are built on mission statements, values and objectives. With this in mind, you need to understand where the current focus is and also where the future focus will be. Based on this, you can then establish the objectives and outcomes (be specific) of your business case for coaching:

  • What are the current challenges the organisation faces? strategic, departmental, behaviours, individual
  • What diagnostic tools will you use to elicit these?
  • By when?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will success be measured?

Start Small for Big Returns

One of the key aspects business can learn from sport is that of practice. Take Formula 1 for example; they do countless hours of testing the new season car before release. Football, they go on pre-season tours for fitness, then 'friendly' matches, all before the season starts. Tennis, most tour players will enter Queen's club tournament before Wimbledon starts. Get the picture?

In business we tend to start big! Yes we have carried out due diligence, planning, analysis, preparation etc, but how often do we practice in a "live" environment?

This is where pilot programmes are invaluable. They will enable you to assess the cost benefit/return on investment (ROI), find out what's working well, what's working less well, obtain tangible and intangible results and provide valuable feedback, thereby allowing you to make any necessary 'tweaks' to the programme, prior to the launch.

Start small:

  • Start with maybe 3 coaches
  • 3 coachees per coach
  • Deliberate, specific objectives to meet
  • 6 sessions per coachee
  • 3-month pilot programme
  • Use diagnostic tools before the start: 360°, Psychometric etc.
  • Survey during the programme to obtain results of what they are doing differently as a result of the coaching
  • Use the same diagnostic tool after the programme, to check for changes
  • Use the results in your business case for coaching

Presenting the Business Case for Coaching

A business case clearly articulates the rationale for making the investment. It could be made verbally through a presentation, or in writing as a work proposal.

The points below are for consideration when writing the business case for coaching:

  • What specific remit/objectives will the coaching programme be based on?
  • State the purpose, aim and vision of the programme
  • Who will sponsor the programme and how can they help influence decisions?
  • Dispel any misconceptions about coaching by "inoculating" against them
  • Duration of the programme
  • Size of the programme: coaches; coachees; internal/external; support; supervision
  • How will coaches and coachees be selected?
  • Training coaches to be coaches?
  • Set standards, quality control, contracts, ethics, venues, length of session, cancellations
  • Risk factors: what would make the programme fail; how to mitigate these?
  • Visible and hidden costs of doing the programme
  • What are the costs of not doing the programme?
  • Results from the pilot programme
  • Who's involved, roles, responsibilities?
  • Diagnostic tools for pre/post programme: 360°, Employee Opinion Survey (ODMAP), Psychometric, questionnaires etc.
  • Monitoring and reporting
  • Evaluation

Evaluating the Coaching Programme

Typically, effective evaluation of development programmes for organisations and/or projects has been quite difficult to achieve. The main reason for this is because the "before criteria" have not been clearly established. The "before criteria" are defined and specified as: the purpose, aim, rationale and objectives of the development programme. This could be, for example when looking at time management, prioritising and delegating:

  • Time lost due to managers completing tasks that could be delegated
  • Poorly delegated tasks, resulting in poor performance
  • Time lost in unproductive meetings
  • Time lost due to poor email management

Calculating ROI in Coaching

The amount of money wasted over a pre-determined time period (in this example 6 months) is calculated as X hours x an hourly rate (average salary) = A.

After coaching takes place, the new amount of money wasted is calculated in the same way = B.

The cost of coaching needs to include both the coach's and coachee's costs during the coaching sessions = C.

Let's take the example above and assume that, of five managers (coachees) researched, it was determined that collectively they 'wasted' (or, unproductively used, if you prefer) a total of 5 hours (hrs) per day (pd). The time period is 6 months, therefore a total of 650 hrs in lost time; i.e. 5hrs pd x 5 days per week x 26 wks in 6 months = 650 hrs.

Managers' average salary has been calculated at £20 per hour.
Therefore, £20 x 650 hrs = £13,000
A = £13,000

Coaching has taken place and reduces loss time by 50%. Same calculation as above
B = £6,500

The internal coach earns £20 per hour on average, therefore each coaching session costs: £40 (coach + coachee).
Therefore, 5 managers (coachees) x 6 sessions each x £40 = £1,200
C = £1,200

Intangible Benefits

Through diagnostic tools, e.g. 360° feedback, interviews, questionnaires etc, you will be able to elicit other benefits too.

These could be:

  • Increased confidence in delegating work
  • Increased effectiveness of employees being delegated to
  • Enhanced communication skills, e.g. clarity
  • Motivation, leading to increased retention rates
  • Productivity
  • Creativity

Following the above recommendations will enable you to provide an engaging and robust business case for a coaching programme within your organisation.

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