There are considerable business benefits to developing a coaching culture within an organization as well as providing career progression opportunities for employees. Coaching targets high performance and improvement at work and usually focuses on specific skills and goals.
To develop a coaching culture this approach becomes the basis of an on-going management style. It can result in higher employee engagement, improved communication, and increased innovation, as well as helping to attract, retain and develop top talent.
A coaching culture will look different in every organization as it will be developed to complement the overall culture of the business, it’s history, values, and strategies. While the end results may look different, there are strategies and considerations to developing and sustaining a coaching culture which will be relevant to organizations of all sizes and sectors.
Start at the top
Developing a coaching culture and sustaining it over time requires support, commitment, and buy-in from senior leaders. It’s worth considering not only if your senior leadership team has had training and experience in coaching others, but also if they have direct experience of being coached themselves? Experiencing the benefits of coaching first hand is the best way to fully appreciate the benefits it can bring.
Through our Executive search division, we provide Executive coaching services as it supports senior team members in developing their thinking and producing realistic and effective strategies for them and their organization. Introducing Executive coaching could be an appropriate first step, adding the benefit of supporting leaders to shape business strategies as well as developing a leadership team dedicated to championing coaching within the organization.
Equip managers with coaching skills
While senior leadership support is integral, managers are well placed to embed coaching into day-to-day business life. Invest in supporting managers to develop coaching skills and empower them to adopt the approach of supporting team members to develop their own strategies rather than telling them what to do.
Coaching can be used in one-to-one’s, performance reviews, and day-to-day interaction to develop and progress talent. It can also be used to tackle any elements of poor performance, by coaching employees to understand and solve performance problems. The aim is to create an environment where coaching is used as the main method of management.
An additional benefit of this approach is that managers will feel more equipped to coach team members through tasks. In turn, they will be encouraged to delegate more, freeing up their time for higher-level tasks as well as developing up-and-coming talent.
Involve everyone in the journey
Despite the logical approach of starting from the top, it’s still important to consider how everyone can be involved in developing a coaching culture from the outset. Maintain open communication with all employees about the process and ideas being put in place. Share the ambition to develop a coaching culture, explain how coaching works and how it will help them to fulfill their potential as well as bringing wider benefits to the business. If people don’t understand they could be resistant. They may feel that coaching is something being ‘done’ to them, rather than with them.
It could be extremely confusing for team members if their manager suddenly starts responding differently to the communication style they’ve always known. The desired outcome is a collaborative approach to creating a culture in which every member of the organization recognizes the benefits of coaching, understands how to respond to coaching techniques and actively demonstrates coaching skills and behaviors themselves.
Integrate coaching into inductions
Including coaching within employee inductions not only reinforces a coaching culture from the outset, it can also have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the individual in their new role. We provide coaching for candidates we’ve placed into new organizations and it can really help them to explore the ways things work, build more effective relationships and prioritize task and actions to have a positive and immediate impact.
Adopting a coaching approach to inductions helps to ensure the new colleague feels more involved. They share the responsibility for their own learning rather than feeling like they are waiting for information to be passed to them.
Look for external coaching opportunities
While the focus is on developing an internal coaching culture, opportunities for external coaching opportunities shouldn’t be overlooked. Coaching from outside of the business can further enhance a coaching culture by providing fresh perspectives, objectivity, and different experiences. Actively support and encourage employees to become part of any local business or industry networks which offer coaching opportunities.
For example, many of the initiatives we’ve put in place to help support businesses in our region include career coaching and forums where like-minded professionals can get together to share experiences. This is because we recognize the critical role a wider support network can have in assisting ambitious individuals to reach their full potential, in turn helping to develop a wider talent pool for employers.
Embed and reward
Finally, consider how you can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to sustaining a coaching culture. Champion it within the organization’s values and business plans. Look for ways to reinforce the development of the culture you are working to achieve by recognizing and rewarding people’s contribution and their involvement in activities designed to share knowledge and coach others.