February 4, 2013

An executive coach – your ROI

Man looking at business performance on handheld device

What’s the Return On Investment of working with an Executive Coach? This is such a juicy question. Ten years and over 1000 clients ago, as I tentatively opened my doors to my first incarnation of being an executive coach. I had very little understanding of the value I was bringing to my market. I charged accordingly at £50 to 100 an hour – where I could get that fee and I worked with some middle managers, some junior executives and many small business owners most of whom hired me out of their own salaries.

What happened? My clients thrived. There’s no other way to say it. They were already good at what they did and since most of them had genuinely never had an agenda-free, them-focussed, you-define-your-own-success kind of conversation in their lives, the executive coaching conversations worked to massive effect. My clients were promoted, they got salary increases, some moved to dream jobs, others made huge personal changes and all of them thought thoughts and took actions that they wouldn’t otherwise have known were within their sphere of choices.

How did I measure these results? It just couldn’t be done on monetary terms. How do you measure clarity, reduced anxiety, increased courage, richer conversations and raised awareness? It could only be measured through lives lived out and success stories shared.

After about 50 clients and repeatedly seeing their huge shifts, I had to put my fees up. I continued to work for individuals – authors, publishers, editors, film producers – and then increasingly I go taken on by small then large corporates. I was seeing 2 – 6 clients a day and loving every conversation and every little light-bulb moment – of which there were many.

At this time – about 2004 – I was adding to my executive coach skillset with some further study around metaphysics. Thoughts become things. What we believe is what we see. Limited thinking produces limited results; courageous thinking creates extraordinary & fast-tracked outcomes.

How did I measure the success of this extra service? Again, it couldn’t be done on monetary terms. My clients were loving it though – doubling their sales numbers, launching (and closing) new brands and some even starting families where they’d previously given up hope.

Every year I reviewed my fees and reviewed my client results until I was working with MDs, senior directors and international business owners. At this level the fact that I charged £400 an hour and £2500 a day really wasn’t that relevant to an individual or a company. If a finance president had a breakthrough realisation, his company was the 7-figure beneficiary of that. If a marketing director left a coaching session with a richer strategy, her CEO and shareholders would celebrate those results and bank the bonus.

The money and the sales were never the point – they were the measurable outcomes. The point was (and still is) that a progressive professional could hire an executive coach to expose more of their potential and make their life easier, more meaningful and more successful.

When you hire an executive coach you believe your work life and your personal choices will change for the better. If you pick an experienced executive coach this will undoubtedly be the case. Your results can be measured by the improvements in your own life then and also in the lives of your colleagues, your family & friends, and those you’ll never even know that you’ve touched and change.

A worthwhile return on investment is not just about what’s released in your own experiences, it’s ultimately about what you give back –  your ultimate life’s legacy.

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