The following line is taken from one of multiple leadership coaching service offerings that you can find in the web. A rather prestigious brand, I have to say: ‘Corporate clients are increasingly demanding tangible, measurable results that not only help the leader being coached, but visibly impact on the corporation’s bottom line’.
There you are! Helping the leader personally is not enough. You want to show bottom-line impact. Besides, this is an ‘increasing corporate demand’. I hope whoever wrote that line is not paid very much.
This obsession with the measurable market results bothers me. Sometimes I am not sure why it does, because it is so naïve. Perhaps is this over-selling: ‘don’t worry, we will provide good coaching, and, by doing so, I can assure you that the bottom line will be impacted’. People saying this have zero credibility with me.
The bottom line is impacted by the following factors: good work, good leaders, the weather, pathetic competitors, luck, the stars, good strategy, bad strategy plus luck, and providence. These are my top 10. I could continue.
There may not be good evidence that a sales training programme will deliver a 3% increase of market share. To promise this is stupid. However, the lack of evidence should not stop you supporting that type of training, if you believe it’s good for you people. You send your kids to the best possible school at your disposal, but I have never heard of any headmaster promising you that your kid will become an engineer. Yet, you chose that school because you believe its good for them.
We have mistaken the intrinsic and moral value of things for the measurement of results. No leadership coaching system that needs to stress that ‘it will impact the bottom line’ is worth having.
My very best clients care deeply about the bottom line, and I also care about their bottom line, but they don’t ask me to prove the impact of what I do on that bottom line. They know that what we do will create uniqueness which will go a long way towards that bottom line. The more one talks about the bottom line – unless you are in specific strategic and commercial discussions – the more one misses the point. It may be politically correct to do so, and may make people feel good at the conversation, but that’s all.