A Coaching Culture that works

Nov 2017

A growing number of organisations recognise the value in building a coaching culture that offers employees at all levels the opportunity to grow their skills, enhance their value and reach their potential goals. Still, questions remain: What does a successful coaching culture look like?

Like any coaching journey, there will be many ups and downs; the same applies to creating a coaching culture that will be sustained, however when implemented well, an organisation can reap the rewards of a highly engaged workforce that gets results.

I recently was told about an organisation who wanted to develop a coaching culture, their methodology was simple, they distributed to all line managers a coaching book they bought in bulk from Amazon, they were instructed to read the book and then attend a 1 day coaching programme. With the intention being, after the workshop, to coach their team members around work based situations and challenges. Did this change the way the manager led or even managed their teams? Did it improve the conversations they had? Did it remove the aspect of ‘telling’ and introduce the concept of ‘asking’ into their one-to-ones or general conversations at work? Obviously not….

Why? It’s simple, coaching cultures are not borne out of 1-day workshops or reading a book, yes these help to raise awareness and develop a basic understanding of coaching however if you’re looking for a long term sustained coaching culture you need to make sure you are in it for the long term. The sticking plaster mentally just won’t do in today’s high performing climate.

A coaching culture exists in an organisation when a coaching approach is a key aspect of how the leaders, managers, and staff engage and develop all their people, in ways that create increased individual, team, and organisational performance and shared value for all stakeholders.

Success comes in the planning of a culture change programme that will engage and educate at all levels within an organisation.

In principle there is nothing wrong with providing good reading material and offering line managers the opportunity to understand the principles that underpin coaching within the workplace however to make sure it works, there needs to be a deeper awareness and understanding of what coaching can really bring to an organisation and its people.

Firstly, you need to develop a strategy, one that is connected to the organisation's vision and mission, the current business strategy and linked to all people development plans. The coaching culture strategy needs to be alive, a living and breathing document, that can be communicated to everyone within the organisation, ensuring a common understanding and commitment is articulated and bought into.

Reminding those who are less favourable, that coaching is not just another fad, but it is here to stay as one of the leading ways to engage and keep employees engaged to deliver and perform to their best of their ability.

The next step is to implement the culture keeping in mind that we don’t want the change to be slow and cumbersome. The purpose is to create a learning culture within the organisation, so all staff can increase their personal and professional capability, which will in turn create greater shared value and higher performance across the organisation.

This part of the process needs to be dynamic, engaging and effective in its delivery. Making sure coaching capability is developed in all employees.

To make sure this is done effectively, you need to take three-pronged approach.

  1. Recruit, select and train your internal coaching team

  2. Developing line manager capability in coaching skills

  3. Embed coaching in HR & performance management processes

We work with both public and private sector organisations in the UK and Europe to create and develop their coaching cultures.