Explore an area of interest that connects in some way to the coaching profession.
What are metrics?
Here is a definition coming from financial investment perspective:
Parameters or measures of quantitative assessment used for measurement, comparison or to track performance or production. Analysts use metrics to compare the performance of different companies, despite the many variations between firms.
Performance Metrics are now integral part of businesses wanting to get a sense of how it is performing and as noted above, for those interested in comparative analysis between companies. The imperative question is: what are the criteria the organization should use to truly measure its performance? Are these metrics applicable from one organization to other organizations?
There are different angles to developing and looking at metrics. There’s the time element: immediate, short term and long term results to clarify when defining measures of success. There could be philosophical differences between executives of an organization that can muddy the definition of suitable metrics. There is the aspect of metrics that are too subjective and hard to measure. There is also the pitfall of measuring for the sake of measuring and becoming too rigid in how metrics are interpreted. And to top it off, there are data anomalies or deviations from the statistical norms that skew results.
Despite of these issues, metrics play a vital role in business operation. Just like when driving a car, a plane, or a ship, organizations also employ concepts of a “dashboard” or navigation device. It informs the decision makers (the “pilot”) of various elements that pertains to keeping the organization in the right track as well as gets warned of areas of the organization that needs attention at a given point in time. From a business stand-point, the number one metric is Return on Investment (ROI) and all the other metrics that an organization measures are compartmentalized view of what supports ROI.
I believe that metrics are made for the organization rather than the potential pitfall where metrics becomes the be all and end all to gauge of the health of the organization. Metrics to me are more of indicators that should be used wisely as well as evolve to effectively meet its intended use. I think that metrics are not there just as indicators of performance but can also be used as rallying and focus point for the organization.
Organizations and individuals alike, wants to be successful at what they do and metrics facilitates them to gauge their velocity in achieving their goal. In the field of coaching, effective metrics can play this crucial role as well. This is to get a clear indication of the effectiveness of the different types of coaching tools coaches employ as it impacts the clients life trajectory.
What are these “quantifiable assessment” that can be applied to coaching?
I think the key to effective metrics lie in its impact on decisions and actions. At the heart of coaching metrics one will find fundamental and strongly held beliefs of the client. The same metrics may not be applicable to all clients, though the idea is to bucket them in some themes that coaches can introduce in coaching conversations around setting measures of success of the coaching engagement.
Here are some of the challenges I faced when developing coaching metrics and I find them to revolve around answering some of these questions:
- How to measure awareness?
- What is the client’s competence in reframing perspective?
- How effective is the client in translating beliefs into action?
- What is the impact of a coaching tool in the achieving the goal of the client?
My coaching model is called “Raise the BAR”. It is a coaching framework to propel client’s careers, vocations, businesses, relationships, handling transitions and lives to new heights.
This model has three primary coaching objectives:
- Raise the quality of awareness of BELEIFS that fuels forward movement.
- Raise the degree of accountability for ACTIONS as a strategy to achieve goals and aspirations.
- Raise the level of understanding of RESULTS to evolve values and inform decisions.
Given the objectives set in my coaching model, the Raise the BAR Metrics touches on the three key elements of the model:
Beliefs, Actions and Results and its goal are:
- Provide quantifiable element to a relatively subjective process
- Facilitate increased examination of what works and what doesn’t
- Highlight core tenets of coaching as implied in each metric
Metrics implies a quantifiable benchmark or a numeric value to achieve. You will notice that when metrics are presented in various aspects in our society (e.g. business, sports, government, election), there are different ways metrics are highlighted. When classifying countries, we hear the term “developing”, “emerging”, “developed”, “first world” and the like. For athletes, their statistics are normally presented in increase or decrease in a particular aspect of their game now compared to their past performance. On employee performance evaluation, you may have seen ratings such as “does not meet expectation”, “met expectations”, “exceeds some expectations”, and “exceeds all expectations”.
There is also what is termed as “Four Stages of Competence” and as per Wikipedia, here are the different stages:
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.
These concepts applied to coaching which as noted above is a relatively subjective process and metrics to be more effectively used in coaching should focus more on getting indications of the client life trajectory than setting a hard number to use as benchmark. Another natural result of using coaching metrics is it can surface great topics for coaching conversations which is one of the focal point of coaching engagements to elicit client reflections and insights.
Here is a model of client coaching metrics:
Client Goal Trajectory (CGT) matrix
|Client Goal||Metric||Period||Assessment Rating(#)||Metric Trajectory|
|Lose 30 pounds in 10 weeks||Exercised 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week||Week 1||Not Satisfied (1)||Not Progressing|
|Week 2||Partly Satisfied (3)||Improving|
|Week 3||Satisfied (5)||Progressing|
|Week 4||Satisfied (5)||Establishing|
|Maintained a calorie in-take of <1500 a day||Week 1||Satisfied (5)||Progressing|
|Week 2||Satisfied (5)||Establishing|
|Week 3||Satisfied (5)||Establishing|
|Week 4||Satisfied (5)||Established|
|Develop personal manifesto in 6 weeks||Developed a draft relationship manifesto in 2 weeks||Week 1||Started||Progressing|
|Developed a draft career manifesto in 2 weeks||Week 1||Not Started||Not Progressing|
|Ongoing development of effective habits||Identify at least 1 effective habit per 2 weeks||Week 1||Not Satisfied (1)||Not Progressing|
|Week 2||Satisfied (5)||Improving|
|Week 3||Satisfied (5)||Establishing|
|Week 4||Satisfied (5)||Established|