How to bake ROI into every coaching engagement

One of the biggest questions coaches ask us at the Center for Executive Coaching is:

How do I prove my return on investment (ROI) to clients?

The answer is: Every single step of the process.

1. During the business development process (or, if you are an internal coach, during the discovery phase): Ask questions to make sure that the prospective client has a problem that is worth at least 5 to 10 times your fees and his/her time in value. Develop the business case together, right up front. If not, neither of you should move forward. Coaching not meant to be a fluffy process that goes

nowhere. There should be something at stake. If not, don't enter into a coaching engagement. The client won't be engaged, and neither of you will end up feeling satisfied.

2. At the start of the formal engagement, confirm what value means to  the client. Reinforce the business case for the ROI that you both agreed upon during the discovery phase.

3. Set clear outcomes and goals. These should be tangible, logical goals (e.g., improvements in business, team, and individual metrics) and personal goals (e.g., improvements in levels of confidence, stress levels, feelings of overwhelm). Often, the latter turn out to be priceless to the client and bring in more value than either party ever could have guessed.

4. Before every coaching session, ask the client, "What will make this hour the most valuable hour of your week?" Of course, the

question should be in the context of the overall goal of the coaching engagement.

5. At the end of every coaching session, ask the client about the most valuable thing he/she took away from the time.

6. Measure and track progress towards outcomes throughout the coaching engagement. Discuss progress. Make mid-course corrections as needed. At the Center for Executive Coaching, we teach you different ways to track progress depending on the situation. For instance, you might track progress very differently for a behavioral issues vs. an issue about changing the culture and performance of the overall organization or team.

7. Develop an orientation, or attitude, that balances results and relationships. If you focus too much on results, you end up pushing

the client too hard, and they resist and resent your work. If you focus too much on relationships, you avoid having tough conversations, and the client won't move forward towards results. It is a balance, and the optimum point changes with each client,

situation, and organization.

Those are some key tips that will get you 80% of the way towards achieving a great ROI with clients. There is nothing complicated about it. It is more about putting a discipline in place in how you interact with clients and where you focus your efforts.

At the Center for Executive Coaching, everything we teach emphasizes delighting clients and providing a clear ROI — for both internal and external coaches. We are a boutique organization — nowhere near the biggest training company for coaches, which we consider to be a good thing. We attract the best professionals in the industry, all committed to delivering phenomenal value and having huge impact with clients. I sincerely hope that you register with us.

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