How to Create a Coaching Culture
The word “culture” is thrown around organizations a lot these days. I often hear, “We have a culture of…”, “Our culture is…”, “The organisation has been built on a culture of…” and even, “We seem to have a blame culture”. During initial conversations prior to establishing client needs, I am also asked, “How to create a learning or coaching culture”. In itself, it´s a great question. However, the problem lies in the fact that not everyone really understands what a “learning or coaching culture” is and moreover, are not sure about why they would want to create one. It is at this point, I direct all focus around creating a coaching culture to the following:
The appropriateness of knowledge acquisition, depends upon the purpose that it serves – Aristotle.
There is much more to creating a coaching culture than asking thought provoking, feel good questions. Neither is it about masking a tick in the box, half hearted attempt at employee development as a coaching program. Coaching cultures get results. Whether those results are, increased performance levels or changing mindsets, the focus of a coaching culture is on bringing people together to work towards organizational objectives. The end result is a more skilled, motivated and knowledgeable workforce. Those end results are of course important but it´s arguably more important to look at the series of results across the organization and how they contributed towards the end result.
- When businesses have an embedded coaching culture, there are visible signs throughout the entire organization.
- Employees working towards clearly defined SMART goals
- Conversations are more open and supportive
- People aren´t afraid to ask questions
- There is a proactive rather reactive approach to coaching
- Managers look for reasons and opportunities to develop people
- Employees are given regular constructive feedback with action points
- Projects are client centred or results centred not individual centred
- Employees have clearly defined job roles
- Lack of one-upmanship and less negative office politics
- Separate departments come together in the interest of common goals
Coaching Cultures Need Support
Creating and embedding a coaching culture in any organization, takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. The program and the methods and processes within it need to be consistently evaluated and modified. Even with all of that, a coaching culture can only survive if it is given the support that it needs from the people at the top of the organization. Business decision makers may need to relinquish some of their power as more junior members take the reigns of empowering and developing others. Moreover, this relinquishing of power needs to be evident across all departments on an ongoing basis for an organization to truly be able to create a culture of coaching.
Coaching most certainly isn´t a destination for an organization. You don´t reach “coached”. Neither is it wise to assume that coaching provides a solution to all problems in all situations. On occasions, operational demands rule that the most important thing right now is to roll up your sleeves and get the job done. The judgement of to coach or not to coach is an essential part of creating a coaching culture. Organizational leaders need to balance the operational need of delivering results with developing the foundations of the business for future development.
Coaching Cultures Vary
Cultures vary across organizations and with that, so do coaching cultures. It´s not something that you can just copy and paste. Businesses have different histories and operate on different models in different environments. A construction company and fashion retailer operate in totally separate market places and their client needs are nothing alike. All those things that give an organization a certain feel, need to be taken into consideration when creating a coaching culture.
To create coaching culture, it´s a good idea to start at your end goal and work back from there.
What is your vision?
This vision needs to something that inspires employees to want to be part of something that makes a difference.
What exactly do you want to achieve?
To be the best in your field is not nearly enough. What do you want to be known for? What things over and above delivering results will separate you from your competitors?
How can a coaching culture help?
Now that you know exactly what your vision is and what you want to achieve, we need to understand how a coaching culture can help achieve our vision and deliver results.
Who benefits and how?
Business leaders, employees, suppliers and customers all need to benefit from your organizational coaching culture. The important thing is to make everyone aware of how they will benefit.
Where you are now?
Before you can even begin to move towards your vision, you need to have a realistic understanding of exactly where you are right now and if you are ready to embark on the journey. A good exercise would be to find out what coaching is being implemented at the moment, what people´s attitudes are towards it and to evaluate the effectiveness of each one.
It may be useful to enlist the services of an external coach who has experience in helping get the results tat you are looking for. With time and as people come on board the program with the realisation that this isn´t just another management fad, the experienced coach can help develop others with “coach the coach” programs.
Creating a coaching culture is an iterative process. It´s a never-ending cycle of monitoring and evaluation. It will take time and the big challenge facing many organizations is to find this most rare resource and balance it with operational needs. That said, those organizations that find time and put effort into creating a coaching culture are paid back ten-fold as employees willingly participate in working towards a shared vision.
Need help with creating your coaching culture?
Whether you are looking to start a new coaching cuklture or you are need to tidy up an existing one, the key is to make sure you know WHY you are doing it. If you would like any advice drop an email to the address below.
Send me an email with any questions to: [email protected]