"You can’t manage what you can’t measure"
To understand how effective coaching is you first need to be able to manage its performance - it’s no different than how you’d monitor a Facebook ad campaign. Yet, it can be difficult to track performance when it comes to business coaching. And, as a result, the return of investment may be rightly questioned! After all, the proof is in the pudding.
Whilst it's now widely recognised that coaching for creative agencies leads to increased employee motivation, retention and engagement, it can be frustrating blindly waiting to see these changes. And, ultimately your agency will want to see how these improvements contribute to your overall profits. But, these are not the only benefits you can see from business coaching, nor are profits the only way to measure how effective these new process implementations are!
So, in this blog post, I’ll be outlining how and when your agency may see an ROI from coaching. Understanding your coaches’ programme from the offset and detailing your desired outcomes will ensure the relationship is successfully managed from the get go. It’s crucial you feel confident in the ability of your coach - and the methods they call upon. Otherwise, it’s inevitable for you to become frustrated as you try to pinpoint where they add value to your business.
What are the benefits of creative agency coaching?
As I've already touched upon, there are several benefits to creative agency coaching. Typically, the focus is on employees and their performance - are they motivated and more productive as a result? But to limit the benefits to only this area would be significantly underselling the value of business coaching! So, let's delve into some of the additional pros...
#1 Think critically and creatively
When you've been running your creative agency for a while, you can easily slip into a stagnant mindset - it's inevitable to sink into comfortable habits and what you know to work. However, just because something is done successfully one way, doesn't mean it's the most effective method! In fact, if you fail to critically analyse your agency's processes, you may be missing out on opportunities for creative development. How can you expect to thrive if you aren’t challenging yourself to go the extra mile?
A business coach will ask you thought-provoking questions, challenging you to reassess your business as though you were an external observer. But why is this? An outside perspective is vitally important yet you may have previously not considered taking this angle. This fresh perspective can bring dynamic innovation, adding drive to your creative agency that will propel your forward against the competition.
You can’t stop there though! Just analysing your creative agency is not enough - it’s taking action to put these creative processes in place. And remember, once a new process is implemented, you should be tracking improvements and identifying where refinements could be made to allow for continued innovation over time.
#2 Boost networking opportunities
Networking is a difficult skill to master, and may, therefore, be something you tend to avoid altogether! Yet, networking events present an excellent opportunity to connect with potential leads, meet suppliers and boost your business' reputation. So, why not ask your coach for advice or if they can introduce you to some beneficial contacts?
Of course, the ROI from coaching here isn't immediately measurable. But, a connection you make at one of these networking events may majorly impact your creative agency in the future - you never know what the long-term impact could be! And so, it’s certainly worth talking to your coach about new networking opportunities and working with them to improve your communication skills.
#3 Learn when to take risks
When you have a business coach by your side, you can begin to lead strategically; successfully recognising which 'risks' or decisions could be considered reckless and which are founded on evidence. This isn't to say a business coach can see into the future! Even a fully-informed decision isn't without a little risk. But, your coach can assist you by identifying whether you have assessed this move from all angles - and, if it's the right time to make a risky move.
Again, it's difficult to evaluate the ROI here however, by considering your actions fully you can reduce, if not eliminate the potentially devastating result of an ill-timed gamble. Instead, you can focus on your priorities and target specific weaknesses. Ultimately, this will allow you to build a busy, thriving creative agency before experimenting with new processes and tools.
#4 Nurture your talent
Employees that are challenged, fulfilled and rewarded are far more likely to remain loyal to a business - and are more productive too! Employee retention and high levels of productivity are the cornerstones of business success. Companies spend hundreds of thousands each year to retain their top talent, devising new incentives that offer progression. But, how do you know if you’re doing the right thing?
We are frequently reminded that career development and the opportunity for growth within an organisation is the most important factor employee's consider when deciding whether or not they should move on. So, if you can highlight your proactive approach to developing your creative agency - and can include your employees in doing so, you can boost employee retention considerably. All within your team will feel aligned with the overall vision and want to push towards achieving this ultimate goal. Remember, a solid team is the very foundation of your business! Without the right people behind you, it becomes far more difficult to reach your goals.
#5 Enhance your brand
As a creative agency owner, you may have a certain vision in mind but not have the time or experience to put this into practice. We’ve all been there, day-to-day operations take up your time leaving you with little room for any of the big ideas! Particularly within the creative industries, branding plays a major part in the success of a business yet do you have the time to refine your branding? Many business owners neglect this area or try to be everything at once! But, it takes a lot of dedication to actually build a successful brand, not a few minutes here and there.
Refining your brand is a crucial step towards success for a creative agency, and a business coach can help you effectively do this. Distinguishing yourself from the competition will allow you to become a formidable business that leaves a lasting impression on both clients and potential leads - and who doesn’t want that! Branding doesn't happen overnight, but the ROI is certainly not to be underestimated.
#6 Be held accountable
The objective of a business coach is to take you from point A to point B and investing is what makes this so successful! When you spend your hard earned profits on coaching you'll actively want to see a return in this. You'll be wasting money if you choose not to implement the new growth strategies and methods your coach advises. It seems obvious, right?
So, not only can an effective coach challenge you to think in a new way, experiment and take risks but they can also hold you accountable for actually taking action. Rather than brushing development opportunities to the side, you’ll be motivated to progress. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for no return!
So, how can you see an ROI from coaching?
Simply, there is no single answer on how to evaluate the effectiveness of coaching. To a certain extent, it's in the eye of the beholder and how you feel you have progressed. So, what’s the best piece of advice I can give you?
Measure what matters to you.
To build an understanding on the ROI from coaching, you first need to identify what your desired outcome actually is. What do you hope to gain from the business relationship? Remember however, the ROI will also heavily depend on your willingness to receive information that may be difficult to accept - and your drive to put in the hard work to move forward based on this analysis. Business coaching isn’t a one way street! You need to work in harmony with your coach to achieve success.
Still looking to specifically measure the ROI from your coach? There are four levels to measuring return on investment as set out by Donald Kirkpatrick back in 1959, these are:
Time to get technical! You can measure the effect by monitoring and asking for feedback from your employees on how coaching has aided performance. Then, you’ll want to assign a percentage figure based on this. For example, if profits are boosted by 20% in the next quarter and 80% of employees account this to the new process implemented by your coach, it can be concluded that the ROI is 16%. But remember, hard figures are not always the best measure - often, it is how your company operates and how you as a business owner feel. ‘Soft’ measures are often far more valuable!
When you see a ROI will also vary hugely - you may notice it after your first session, or perhaps later down the line. But, from each session you have with your business coach, you should feel you are making some sort of progress! And, if you are struggling to understand what you’ve gained from each session, consider spending the last 5 minutes of each reviewing exactly what it is you’ve taken away from this one-to-one.
Still aren't sure? In a survey conducted by a Fortune 500 company, executive coaching was found to produce a ROI of 788% or 529% when deducting the benefits of employee retention! That’s a whopping minimum of 5x the initial investment, seems like an obvious choice!
Are you looking for a business coach with a proven high level of ROI? With 25+ years of experience in the industry, I can help you develop specific objectives and build an insightful actionable plan that propels you towards your overall vision. To learn more about me and what I do click here or get in touch here and discuss your individual requirements today.