Building a Culture of Coaching

Building a Culture of Coaching

Behind each successful executive is the contribution of many others. We would be lacking in humility if we attribute our success only to ourselves!  These others could be our families, friends, colleagues, and yes mentors and coaches too.  We have ample examples of these.

He was attributed his success to his coach Ramakant Achrekar. Even corporate coaching leaders like Steve Jobs, Alan Mullaly have had coaches who have helped them to accelerate their business success.
All the above examples are about coaches enabling people to succeed in their professions. We do know the power of One and that individual people can create impact. However significant impact only gets created when there is systemic change and transformation throughout the organization. This is why corporations today are talking not just about hiring executive coaches for top talent but also creating this systemic change through creating a culture of coaching in their organizations.

In today’s VUCA world, we are surrounded by a need to change. Both the external and internal business environment is experiencing rapid and exponential changes. Research has shown that 60% of Fortune 1000 companies will no longer be on the list after another 10 years. AI, New Business Models, Bio-technology, Cellular Agriculture are some trends that will and indeed already are impacting the way we are running our companies.

A study done by ICF and Human Institute (2014) shows that 77% of HR People state that their organizations are constantly under Change! Change is no longer something that happens once in a while. It’s a business constant now.”

In the light of all this, there is a stupendous opportunity for Business Leaders and Managers to make a difference to their organization in order to keep it agile and ready to adapt to change as it happens. The role of Leaders is to create a new outcome. How do we do this? We do this by enrolling people in new possibilities by enabling them to see things differently, changing their thinking and therefore behavior and actions.

This can happen through architecting coaching conversations which give space and time for people to reflect. When we say people, it does not refer to just Top Talent or High Performers. It refers to the entire human capital of the organization. Unless each person in the organization does not gear up to face the new constantly changing future, the organization will keep on relying on just a few stars. A cricket team for example needs each member to give their best for the common goal and vision. Each person needs to be encultured in the same purpose and build their capabilities. This is where coaching comes in.

While many organizations have realized the power of executive coaching, this gets restricted to some talent pools and some grades.

In order to realize the full unleashed power of coaching, organizations need to foster and create a culture of coaching. Culture refers to the way we do things. When coaching conversations happen as a matter of routine-as a way we do things-then organizations have indeed created a winning culture of coaching.

A coaching culture is a culture where there are opportunities at all levels for employees to grow their skills, enhance their values and reach their professional goals. A Coaching culture directly creates more engagement at work.

“65% of employees from companies with a strong coaching culture rates themselves as highly engaged.”

Coaching also has a direct co-relation to better financial results for employees.

“60% of respondents from organizations with a strong coaching culture reported their 2013 revenue to be above average compared to their peer group (ICF and Human Capital Institute Survey,2014).”

Coaching also enhances work performance and improves team effectiveness. Most importantly, we are creating future ready employees who are autonomous and empowered to take decisions for the good of the organization.

The International Coach Federation has identified some aspects that are predominant in companies with a strong Coaching Culture. These are: Employees value coaching, senior executives value coaching, coaching is a fixture in the organization with a dedicated line item in the budget, managers/leaders spend above average time on weekly coaching activities and Managers/Leaders have received accredited business coach training. In companies with a strong coaching culture, beyond hiring external coaches, the organization also invests in building the capabilities of managers and leaders to coach their internal teams and also having certified coaches internally.

There is a strong business case for developing the abilities of line managers to coach their teams. Line Managers need to balance the conversations with their teams between being performance oriented and development oriented. Being trained in the art of asking the right questions and creating an empowering work environment for their teams, they strengthen the culture and the capabilities of their team members to perform better. More importantly, they develop the capacities of their team to take decisions on their own and build a culture of conversations in the organization.  This then accelerates change thereby creating a new future.

Some metrics that can be used to measure whether truly a coaching culture has been created are: number of informal/formal leadership development coaching conversations held per team/manager/function, changes in the employee engagement scores, attrition levels, improved employee relations, capability enhancement etc. These are measurable and quantifiable. Other qualitative metrics would be the level of trust, speed of decision-making, sense of empowerment, work-place dynamics etc.

In today’s business context, building future ready organizations are possible by building a culture of coaching and conversations.