Case Study

31.1 Evaluating Coaching - a step-wise process

Note: whilst this case study is hypothetical, the issues presented are typical of those which you might encounter in real life settings, and based on our practitioner experiences

The context for this case study is a large national organisation, with over 10,000 employees. It is a fast-paced business environment, with part national and part global operations providing a range of services. The organisation recognised that they face a diversity challenge as women and employees from ethnic minorities are less likely to progress to senior management roles. On the one hand they have fewer women and people from ethnic minorities apply to senior roles, but on the other hand those who do are also less likely to pass the promotional assessment process (a one-day assessment centre with group exercises, interviews and psychometric tests). The senior management team is keen to address this issue, as they want to ensure a diverse pool of talent at all levels. The organisation thus offers a bespoke coaching programme. Employees can self-refer themselves to coaching, or managers can refer employees from their teams using a standard application process. If the coaching request is approved (a dedicated learning team in HR assesses all applications in consultation with a team of line managers), employees can then engage in up to 12 coaching sessions, choosing from a range of external coaches. The coach profiles – including their approach, experience and expertise – can be accessed via the intranet; employees can choose from 15 different coaches. All have relevant coaching qualifications, but bring varied coaching approaches and different levels of business experience. To date, about 120 employees have gone through the programme, and another 40 are currently being coached. At the end of each block of coaching sessions, both coachee and coach complete an evaluation questionnaire with a list of questions about whether they enjoyed working together, what the goals and objectives were at the outset, how many goals were achieved, and also any wider feedback for the organisation.

Discussion Questions

Drawing on the information and frameworks presented in the chapter, think about the following questions:

  • Which kind of evidence would you want to ‘ask, acquire, appraise, aggregate, apply and assess?’ Any scientific literature? Practitioner data (from the coaches; from the learning team in HR)? Any internal data? How would you integrate data from different stakeholders involved?
  • To what extent might Greif’s model provide a framework?
  • What are the antecedents (characteristics of the coaches, the coach)?
  • How could you evaluate the coaching process?
  • How could you classify coaching outcomes? To what extent could you potentially use any existing data?
  • How could you measure wider organisational outcomes?
  • What challenges do you foresee with regards to any evaluation? What might the risks be, and how could you mitigate them?
  • How would you report back on the evaluation: which formats might you use, what are your audiences, how might you need to tailor your approach?