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Archive for November, 2015

Why Group Metrics Are Awesome

I wrote earlier about why Metrics are awesome.  Now I’m going to go into the more nuanced version of why Metrics are so powerful when used as part of group coaching.

In other words, why Group Metrics are awesome.

Group Metrics are when you’ve got a coaching group in which all members (or some, you can have individuals sit excluded as appropriate) are working at the same Metric.  Examples include:

  • A group fitness program in which members are each tracking their weight and or daily exercise.
  • A sales team in which all members are pulling towards an office-wide sales goal.
  • A real estate team concerned with tracking performance measures such as number of appointments, showings, and touch points.

In each of these cases, individuals each have their own numbers to report for a given Metric, which in turn contribute to the collective performance of the group.  That group performance is calculated as either the sum or the average of all of the individuals.

A CoachAccountable Group Metric enables you to manage that this detailed tracking gets done, see overall performance as it unfolds, and optionally enable the group participants themselves a transparent view into group performance, or even the individual performance of other group members.

Let’s look at a few examples in turn, to examine the ways by which this can enrich group coaching and foster higher engagement & performance.

Regular Exercise

Say a fitness program challenges its participants to exercise regularly during the week, 3 times at least.  Let’s set this up as a Group Metric:

Just like setting up an individual Metric, but with a few extra settings.

Just like setting up an individual Metric, but with a few extra settings.

Note that I opted to include all members of the Group, and the unit of measure is days, as in “how many days did you exercise this week”.  Say this is a six-week program, so we’ll have this span six weeks.  As you can see in the Frequency setting, we’ll have folks report weekly on Fridays.  We’re NOT doing a running total (see the Data entry setting), and accordingly our target will begin at 3 and end at 3.  In other words: in the first week as in the last, exercising 3 times per week is the goal, and more is better.

Beyond group inclusion, there are two other group-specific settings here: we’re choosing to group the data as an average so we can see how the group is overall stacking up against the 3-times-per-week goal, and we’ve set client visibility to include aggregate plus individual performance, meaning they’ll be able to see that group average as numbers get reported, as well as peek into everyone else’s graph.  (A key part of this is that group members know that everyone else can look into their graph–that can have interesting side effects, more on that later.)

Click the "view details" to reveal a slew of blank individual Metrics. I posted a little comment to set the tone.

Clicking “view details” reveals a slew of blank individual Metrics. I posted a little comment to set the tone.

Group Metrics work how you think they would: as group members report their numbers over the passage of time, the Group Metric average is automatically calculated to show the updated state of things, visible at any time to you and your client group members.

After a few weeks of tracking real data, here’s how things look:

Ron was bringing the average down, until he got into it.

Ron was bringing the average down, until he got into it.

Think about having this sort of data organized like this as coach: you know exactly who’s thriving and who’s struggling, and can give meaningful and insightful coaching to both the group and specific individuals because of it.  The at-a-glance comparison among group members also gives you an immediate sense how feasible (or not!) a given target really is, allowing you to tune accordingly when needed (after all, if EVERYONE’s in the red zone…).

A Shared Sales Goal

Say a sales team wants to collectively cause $100,000 in sales over the course of a month.  Let’s set that up.

Sales Group Metric Setup

We’ve chosen to group the data as the sum of individual data points, and so here we have to do a little math: since there are four members of the group, each should have an individual target of $25,000 in order to have a group total goal of $100,000.  I’ve set the reporting frequency to be every weekday to prompt the group members to report on each business day.  Under Data entry I’ve chosen the cumulative option, as this is a matter of daily reported sales numbers each contributing to a running total for the month.

Here’s how this could play out after a few weeks:

Ron was dragging things down for sure.

Ron was dragging things down for sure.

The summed performance of the group can be seen at the top: at-a-glance you can see that the group is on track to make the overall goal.  Data points can also be conveniently seen for each individual: Chaz stands out as having really excelled relative to his individual goal, and Ron can be seen easily as being way under.  (Better yet: in practice you as coach would be able to detect this almost immediately, and have the opportunity to intervene and/or offer support way sooner than 3 weeks in.)

You have the option of whether or not to make all individual performance visible to all other group members.  While not always appropriate, this can be a great way to cause a useful sort of peer pressure to perform: everyone knows their own numbers are subject to scrutiny by other group members.  In the best case this can create a very healthy sort of pissing contest among participants, spurring on a sort of one-upping that elevates the group as a whole.

Tiny Habits

A Group Metric can be an effective way to instill a useful practice into your coaching groups.  Say for example you’d like all of your group member to, for the next 3 weeks, take on the practice of meditating daily.

Here’s the setup:

The .5 to .5 target is a little trick for Binary Metrics.

Tracking a regular practice is a good candidate for a Binary Metric, wherein the measurement is simply a “did you do it or didn’t you”, a one or a zero.

Here’s how the Metric looks two weeks in:

Group Metric performance at meditation.

Huh, is Chaz Canadian?  You probably won’t have that kind of trolling among your group members, but you never know. Could be fun.

As with other Metrics that have a target, what’s powerful about a Group Metric is that no one wants to be the one with lots of red on their graph.  It’s a subtle (but effective!) nudge to keep members keeping up.

Group Metrics accommodate a wide variety of group performance scenarios, and devising useful things to track among groups is open to a lot of creativity.  To summarize, these are the key benefits to using them:

  • Manage performance of the whole team thanks to detailed awareness of what’s going on with everyone.
  • See the aggregate performance of the whole team, always calculated for you up-to-date.
  • Transparency among group members of the collective (and optionally, individual) performance which pulls for individual accountability.

If you’re doing group coaching, give Group Metrics a try: you might be surprised at how much more engaged your clients become when the results are shared and visible in this way.