by Linda Flynn, Ph.D. – Partner, Talent Development Practice Leader

Before taking on any coaching engagement with an individual or company that wants to put a coaching program in place, I always ask them, What will success look like? How will we know that we have achieved what you want and need to achieve?

Typically, the response I get is dead silence.

Most people understand that something in their organization or individual performance needs to change, but they haven’t thought through – in measurable terms – what they specifically need to accomplish.

We often spend a great deal of time defining our mission and vision, but it is even more critical to define success. You should have a clear picture of what will be different after the coaching engagement takes place. When it’s over, what will have changed? Knowing this allows you to hold yourself and your organization accountable for achieving those outcomes.

Coaches and facilitators both inside and outside of your organization can be very effective at this if you allow yourself the time and discipline required to really go through the process and do it right. Sit down and articulate, in measurable terms, what it is you are trying to accomplish for yourself and your business. Once that is clearly understood, you can define your strategic objectives, outline goals for each of these, and identify specific initiatives you need to accomplish these goals.

Stephen Covey and others often talk about, “beginning with the end in mind,” but very few people take the time to think this through – especially when it comes to coaching and training. What will success look like? How will you measure it? What, exactly, are you trying to move? Billable hours? Customer satisfaction? Leadership skills? Then, once you can identify what you want, how will you get there?

These are the things most people often miss – how to connect the dots. And it is a discipline. When new ideas or other’s priorities begin taking you down a different path, you need a sanity check. Ask yourself, How does this get us where we want to go? If it doesn’t, based on your definition of success, then it probably isn’t where you want to spend your time and effort.

Success is more than having a sympathetic coach to work through your job-related frustrations or getting 20 people through a training class with a passing grade. At least, it should be.

To learn more about how to define success in your organization, e-mail Linda at today!

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