Executive coaching combined with an assessment is an invaluable resource for companies and their talents. It allows for the identification of a leader’s strengths and areas for improvement (but not limited to leaders), raises awareness of their interpersonal dynamics, and helps them progress to increase their impact within the organization.

However, to establish an effective executive coaching policy, it is important to choose the right approach. Many coaching programs today lack substance, concealing a lack of tangible results through the tracking of hard-to-measure indicators or even a complete absence of follow-up.

Yet, because executive coaching inherently involves elements related to the participant’s feelings, it also comprises measurable components to assess its success. This is the primary reason why assessment-based coaching is a useful approach for organizations, as it provides essential objective data for both the coach and the participant.

Before choosing a coaching program, it’s essential to understand this difference.

Market Trends in Coaching

The executive coaching market is estimated at around $9.3 billion and is growing by approximately 12% annually. According to Jackie Sahm, MS, Director of Product Development at Hogan Assessments, “In the past, executive coaching was seen as a solution to a problem. Now it is viewed as a performance amplifier, a signal to the executive that the organization wants to continue investing in them.” As a result, executive coaching now places particular importance on well-being and long-term performance.

Other trends include the democratization of coaching, where coaching is offered to individuals at all levels of the organization, not just executives and high potentials. Technology has reduced some barriers to coaching implementation, particularly in terms of investment. Artificial intelligence in the coaching space also shows potential and appears to be gaining influence, with certain precautions to consider.

Given the surge in coaching offerings on the market, finding high-quality executive coaching becomes a real challenge, with low-cost offers proliferating, often at the expense of the coachee, as it can be challenging to judge quality without starting the coaching process. Therefore, paying attention to coaching results and concrete improvements brought about by coaching becomes even more important.

Measuring Executive Coaching Results

The way coaching results are evaluated today primarily relies on satisfaction questionnaires, essentially asking people what they thought of the experience. On average, over 80% of individuals report enjoying the coaching experience, being satisfied with it, and recommending coaching to others. This doesn’t necessarily mean that most coaches are excellent but rather that most people enjoy talking about themselves.

Satisfaction is easy to measure, but measuring the return on investment of coaching is more challenging. Nevertheless, the use of data is crucial in HR matters. It is important to measure coaching results or effectiveness in the leader’s and their team’s performance, especially in their organizational role.

Instead of simply giving advice or providing space for participants to speak, quality coaches focus on behavioral change that impacts performance outcomes. Similar to sports coaches emphasizing practice, evaluation, and improvement, an executive coach should assign practice tasks, expect participants to receive feedback from their surroundings, and help them analyze results and set new practice goals.

The coach holds the participant accountable for their progress within the organizational performance framework.

Assessment-Based Executive Coaching

The main difference between traditional coaching and assessment-based coaching lies in the use of a valid and high-quality diagnostic tool. Good personality assessments, such as those used at Authentic Talent, are designed to predict workplace performance or how a leader’s behavior will affect those around them. However, that’s not the only thing that sets assessment-based coaching apart.

Measurable Outcome

Assessment-based executive coaching is measurable. It’s not enough for a coach to look at performance evaluations and ask the participant, for example, how many hours of sleep they get. Just as a doctor should not treat a patient without conducting tests, a coach should not coach a leader without an initial assessment. Assessment-based executive coaching establishes a starting point for personal development. It’s also an objective assessment that helps set clear goals, essential for an appropriate coaching plan. To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Instructive Approach

Coaches need data on behavioral strengths and potential weaknesses that a person brings to their environment. The participant also needs to know this information. Often, people are unwilling to tell the truth to their superiors, so managers receive partial, indirect, or even distorted feedback. Assessments can help identify maladaptive behaviors and opportunities for improvement.

Distinguishing Feature

Assessment-based executive coaching is also distinctive. Given the absence of regulatory bodies in executive coaching, clients often use certifications to identify a coach or coaching company’s expertise. They expect coaches to have specific certifications that meet their organizational needs.

Transformative Coaching

High-quality assessments can significantly improve the quality of coaching for both the leader and the coach. Sustainable, meaningful, and profoundly powerful coaching comes from valid assessments that represent the richness and complexity of individual differences—not those that reduce personality to a few types. Valid and reliable assessments can transform a leader’s understanding of themselves and their relationships with others.

Assessment-Based and AI-Enhanced Executive Coaching

With the democratization of coaching likely to continue, coaching technology will help shape the future of the field. “I hope we will see coaching become more results-oriented with more measurable outcomes, and that we can harness the vast data we have,” said Jackie.

Even though AI coaches may not be equivalent to human coaches, AI could help automate some of the preparation, interpretation, or analysis typically performed by a coach.

In conclusion, implementing an executive coaching strategy is a genuine advantage for your teams’ performance. It’s also a good way to retain your talents. However, the choice of coaching is fundamental and will determine the return on investment that both the company and the participant will gain from coaching. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize a scientific approach and rational results to maximize the effectiveness of the process.

If you want to learn more about the method used at Authentic Talent, you can schedule an appointment to discuss it here: 

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