“Coaching” as a modality has a strategic role that can help organizations run more efficiently, improve employee performance and drive business results more smoothly. In order to effectively leverage the power of coaching, an organization needs a culture that supports it throughout the entire talent development lifecycle.
Specifically, leaders need to create a culture where people feel supported and trusted instead of constrained and pressured. This requires leaders to take bold steps in establishing strong leadership practices, empowering employees with clear career paths, and creating accountability for everyone from managers down to each employee.
A lack of trust or an inability to evolve as a leader can hinder an organization’s ability to implement coaching programs as effectively as it could if leaders had a stronger trust, focus on continuous learning, regular two-way feedback, trust in their team and embrace change over the need for certainty and stability.
Based on the obstacles identified by surveys done across many organizations, we can identify some approaches to building successful coaching cultures.
Some of them are:
- Creating opportunities for employees to develop as internal coaches or simply train them to have a coaching mindset, as part of their wider leadership skills.
- Developing an environment of high trust is nurtured, through encouraging taking risks and embracing mistakes and failures
- Promoting open communication, collaboration, and transparency with the intention of building sustained trust and openness
- Establishing collective accountability through the implementation of coaching skills training and opportunities to practice in a safe environment.
Leaders as early adopters
A strong coaching culture is a result of strong leadership practices role-modeled by Leaders. Leaders should be the first ones to embrace these practices and promote them throughout their organization. They should also be open to evolving their own practices as needed in order for communication and collaboration to happen in an organization.
Leadership isn’t about staying at one level in your career, it’s about continuously growing and developing the skills and the mindset of learning and growth. If leaders don’t invest in themselves first, they won't get the buy-in and engagement from their teams. The good news is that this is a skill that anyone can develop with some deliberate effort and time.
It's just a matter of practicing ideally daily until it becomes second nature. Hiring and/or developing Internal Coaches to foster a Coaching Community Creating a coaching culture is a three-part process.
First, leaders need to hire and/or develop coaching talents.
Second, they must ensure the culture supports the hiring of coaches and the ongoing practice of coaching.
Third, leaders need to allow coaching to be embedded throughout the organization.
To create a strong coaching culture, an organization must have clear leadership practices and principles in a place where everyone is accountable for their decisions and hold work conversations that are effective and constructive, even when heated. Leaders should also make sure they constantly learn and evolve as coaches themselves in order to maintain trust with their team and support continuous learning within their organizations, as role models.
Leaders need to create a coaching community that is supportive and encourages open communication between managers, employees, and coaches. This creates a culture where everyone trusts each other enough not only to speak candidly but also trust that they can be trusted with information that might be needed down the line when it comes to making difficult decisions or executing sensitive plans in change management or organizational transitions.