This blog explains what a coaching culture means, how to lead by coaching and practical steps to introducing a coaching culture at the workplace
“The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.” – HBR
Introduction – what does coaching culture mean
A coaching culture is about delivering results, improving performance and making the most of people’s potential. The emphasis is on making each other (and the wider organisation) stronger and more capable.A coaching culture improves employee engagement, empowers people to excel at their tasks, emphasizes the importance of personal and professional development, rewards creativity, and helps people take pride in their responsibilities.
Building a coaching culture in the workplace better positions companies to grow and nurture talent. But what exactly is a “coaching culture,” and how can leaders make this part of their everyday environment?
A coaching culture simply means supporting your employees so that they learn new skills and become greater assets to the company. A management culture that emphasizes training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth creates a more engaged and energized workforce.
How does one Lead by Business Coaching?
Part of good leadership means seeing yourself as a coach, not as a king or queen who sits idly by and lifts the odd finger to command.
Employees don’t need a pat on the head once a year, nor do they need hand-holding every step of the way. Successful businesses achieve their goals through regular and effective feedback, communication, drive and support.
Give More Frequent Feedback
Every year you sit down employees for their annual review, addressing positive contributions and constructive areas of improvement. You realize that putting down your employees isn’t the right way to lift them up or grow productive and talented team members.
Coaches give frequent feedback to their teams. Soon, millennials will make up the largest generation of the workforce, and they want regular feedback at work. More positive and constructive feedback for all creates a culture of openness in the office. Employees will keep better track of their productivity and feel more empowered to successfully achieve a work-life balance.
Flow, as an aspect of positive psychology, involves focused and intense concentration through personal control in which you feel highly and positively engaged in the activity conducted. Taking in negative feedback provides the opportunity to implement personal control through analysis of one’s external and internal goals. While employers provide external rewards, like bonuses, employees are driven by internal goals as well — seeing the success of a project through or having more time with family.
CEOs and employees must look at their goals alongside external and internal drives to make the most of feedback. Providing regular feedback allows employees to grow the additional 364 days of the year.
Be open and responsive when an employee offers positive and constructive feedback as well. All professionals, whether entry-level or CEO, always have the opportunity to grow and become better at what they do.
Communication Builds Trust and Empowers
What is your day-to-day communication like with your team? Effective communication builds a sense of mutual trust and respect while empowering the employee. Every coach knows this.
Typically, the traditional boss sees themselves in a higher position and takes a tone that reinforces this perspective. A disciplinary tone makes the employee feel like a child, especially if this reprimand takes place in front of other staff or customers. Use active listening to hear your employee out and understand the situation more thoroughly, communicating the employee’s perspective back to them in your own words. Follow up with helpful questions. Employers who are effective listeners become sound strategists.
Remember, failure presents opportunity, and employees need that reminder, too. A coach empowers the team to transform areas of weakness into lessons learned, and as with all lessons in life and business, it takes time to learn. To give optimal feedback, respond in a timely and practical manner, and be specific with details, describing observations of what rather than why to avoid miscommunication and negativity.
Finally, respond with empathy and work toward solutions when an employee communicates they feel overwhelmed at work or in life. If you do not see the person behind the employee, what do you see them as other than a worker bee?
Encourage Innovation and Experimentation
Coaching necessitates the empowerment of your team to innovate and experiment to grow. Stagnancy curses progress.
Leaders and direct supervisors provide the primary example and outlet of learning for employees, who don’t expect to sit back and wait forever for opportunities to develop. Push employees to grow outside of their comfort zones, to experiment and innovate. Give them opportunities to present you with new ideas and risk-taking, especially if they back up their claims with valid points and evidence.
How is an employee to grow if a leader refuses to coach the team there? Encouraging employees in this way will help you retain, empower and grow your talented staff.
What does being a boss mean to you? How do you lead your employees to victory and empower them on the way?
Being an effective and successful leader means coaching your employees. Provide frequent feedback. Communicate and actively listen to build trust and empower your staff. Encourage innovation and experimentation to grow employee talents beyond comfort zones. Focus less on quantity and more on the quality of the exchange between you and each employee, and the returns on investment will multiply fruitfully.
Practical steps to build a coaching culture at workplace –
According to members of the Forbes Coaches Council , you can build a coaching culture in an organization by doing the following:
- Lead By Example
If you think your team could benefit from coaching, engage a coach for yourself. Find someone who delivers exactly what you are hoping to provide for your team. If you achieve the desired results, then share your experiences with your team. Leading by example will change the paradigm of “you need assistance, but I’m just fine,” to “I have benefited, and now I want you to experience this.” – Elle Ingalls, Pressure-Free Living LLC
- Ask Your Employees The Right Questions
A coaching culture encourages employees to learn from their experience by exploring the right questions rather than telling them what to do and how to do it. Next time an employee has a challenge ask them open-ended questions that begin with “how” or “what.” For instance, “What would you have done differently? and “How can I support you?” This way you empower employees to come up with meaningful solutions. – Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC, MGC Coaching
- Ditch Coaching; Build A Learn/Do Culture Where Teams Self-Coach
The days of sitting in three-day courses designed to “fix” skill deficiencies are done. Time-consuming weekly one-on-one meetings tocoach and coax are done. The new model for high performance is to implement hands-on, learn/do programs related to specific business outcomes, where teams receive on the job training and mentoring from an expert, and hold themselves accountable to perform at a high level. – Anne Graham, The Legendary Value Institute
- Start At The Top
Start by teaching senior leaders a few coaching basics — listening, asking questions, encouraging others to reflect and develop insights before taking action. Then guide them to coach their most respected team members. As these “influencers” gain traction from beingcoached, they will be open to learning and modeling the same coaching behaviors. Over time, a coaching culture will emerge. – Carolyn Esposito, Talent Pathways, Inc.
- Bring In Training
If you are going to successfully integrate coaching into your workplace culture, you must engage expert coaches to train individuals at all levels of the organization in coaching practice. Too often, companies try to bring what they call “coaching” in, which is not actualcoaching, but more like mentoring or advising. You need to ensure there is alignment at all levels and evaluate effectiveness. – Janet Zaretsky, The Zenith Business
- Just Do It
Coaching is a way of being, and as such, you can’t simply integrate it. You just have to understand what it is and do it. It’s not the same as adding carrots to your stew. So the key is to educate teams about what coaching is and then have them do it — coach each other. Have a weekly group coaching session with a coach to help answer questions and demonstrate. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC
- Build A Coaching Routine
You can’t be a runner without putting in weekly miles, and you can’t have a coaching culture without a coaching routine. One high-performing sales manager at Salesforce creates a coaching culture by allocating an entire day each week to coaching. On Tuesdays her 10+ direct reports get 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching — time completely dedicated to their developmental needs. – Taylor Jacobson, TeamPossible: Achieve more of what matters
- Make Managers Accountable For Developing Employees
Create a coaching culture by tying this activity to the company’s mission, and hold every manager accountable for coaching employees to help them master their jobs and learn new skills. Create a structured process with clear goals for coaching employees. Be sure to make time and resources available to guarantee success. Reward managers who meet or exceed these goals and reevaluate those who don’t. – Barbara Safani, Career Solvers
- Ask More Questions Than You Answer
When someone asks you what to do, ask them what they think will work. Ask how they came to that conclusion. Ask what alternatives they’ve considered. Show them that you value their input, and empower them to make decisions and be ready to defend them. Over time, you’ll find that people will begin to bring you solutions instead of problems, and they’ll encourage their teams to do the same. – Tanya Ezekiel, CareerCoach.com
- Be Clear And Strategic
If you don’t already have a clear definition of what coaching is, you need to have one so everyone in the organization is in sync with what it means, especially compared to mentoring, training, consulting, etc. Then, ensure coaching is not an “ad hoc” activity, but is truly integrated into your overall talent management strategy. How does it fit with all other aspects of your employee lifecycle? – Lisa Downs, DevelopmentWise Consulting
- Live What You Claim
Ever joined a company that claimed they had an open-door policy but that door was always closed? To cultivate a coaching culture you need to create a workplace that walks the walk. Training, regular feedback and evaluation schedules, valuing different voices, rotating team leadership opportunities, and mentorship programs will create an interdependent and energized workplace. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors international
- Have Lunch Bite Drop-In Sessions
Teach people how to be with one another and listen through short introductory coaching lunch drop-in sessions. Many people say they listen when in fact they just wait their turn to speak. Coaching skills teach people how to deeply listen, stay curious, and locate the root of an issue fast. – Magdalena Bak-Maier, Make Time Count Ltd
- Gain Buy-In And Practice
Coaching is real-time development by all team members to all team members. It’s about practice, not perfection. Start asking questions to help individuals gain more insight on what happened and how they can handle it next time versus just telling them what to do. This gains buy-in and puts them in the driver seat. They will take on more ownership and know they have you for support and resources. – AnuMandapati, IMPACT Leadership for Women
(Source – Forbes Coaches Council: 13 Ways Leaders Can Build A ‘Coaching Culture’ At Work)