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4 Ways to Build a Coaching Culture Inside Organizations

  • POSTED ON OCTOBER 13, 2021
Coaching Culture

For the past 26 years, I have been delivering Co-Active skills training in both the private and public sectors. As a result, I can personally attest to how Co-Active coaching transforms, activates, and innovates employees — while also allowing them to be honest and raw with one another.

At the center of all my training workshops is the goal to instill a coaching culture within organizations. Some organizations expressly request this, while others do not. But they all require it. Why? Because a coaching culture improves your organization’s ability to set goals and achieve satisfying results by aiding employees in finding and capitalizing on their natural skills through peer and leadership mentoring. A coaching culture prioritizes training, regular feedback, and opportunities for promotion. It also fosters more company loyalty and love.

Coaching culture increases your organization’s capacity to set goals and achieve satisfactory results.

In all of my years of coaching, I have yet to meet an organizational leader who has said, “I am not interested in my people loving my organization.” According to my observations, management expects employees to regard the company as if it were their own. To achieve this, the first stage is for the organization to embrace a coaching culture by fostering a coaching leadership style.

Read on and find out how you can build a coaching culture inside your organizations.

What Is a Coaching Culture?

Around five years ago, I was in a room full of high-level C-suite corporate decision makers for the final training in the Co-Active coaching series. While we were in the open forum section of our design, the conversation shifted to this specific topic: “How do we instill a desire for these incredible Co-Active coaching skills to become ingrained in our organization’s daily life?”

This was a question I’d heard many times before. What I liked best about it was that it encouraged everyone in the room to take a leadership role in this important work. They realized at that point that in order for this good work to continue, each of them had to take personal responsibility for its advancement. We were not allowed, nor was it our job, as Co-Active coaches, to inform them that encouraging them to achieve this realization had always been our goal.

Isn’t that the ultimate goal of effective coaching: to motivate people to take greater ownership of the world they want to build?

The coaching they had all received had resulted in a consensus of personal responsibility. I was delighted. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of effective coaching: to motivate people to take greater ownership of the world they want to build?

But what exactly is a coaching culture? A coaching culture is one in which authentic leaders and managers promote people’s growth, development, and performance through effective communication and feedback based on trust. A coaching culture encourages employees to listen actively, views people as resourceful and imaginative, and values individual curiosity.

4 Ways to Build a Coaching Culture

With my “mostly mentor” hat on, I shared my insights with my group of C-suite decision makers on how to communicate the value of coaching and persuade people to want to be better coaches in their busy lives. I’m sharing some of those responses with you because I know that if you’re reading this blog, you, too, have a plan for your team, organization, or company, or even your family. Let’s get started!

1. Train Leaders to Develop Other Leaders

Great leaders, I believe, develop others in order for them to become great leaders as well. You can accomplish this by coaching more and managing less. People, or perhaps more accurately the majority of people, want to be developed and have a personal desire to increase their own capacity to solve problems, motivate others, and be an inspiring visionary.

Great leaders, I believe, develop others in order for them to become great leaders as well.

Remember that the majority of people do not want to be directed and managed. According to a recent survey, 79% of people have experienced micromanagement in the workplace, and 69% are considering leaving their job as a result of it. The key point here is that coaching, not micromanagement, is a core leadership competency that must be learned, developed, and practiced on a daily basis.

Simply put, the first step in developing a coaching culture is to associate coaching with core leadership competencies. The organization I coached did exactly that, and within months, it had become an internal initiative to train as many people as possible in Co-Active Coaching skills.

2. Follow the 3 Coaching Culture Phases

Adhering to the three coaching culture phases is another effective strategy for cultivating a coaching culture. It is a strategic approach to culture creation at the highest level.

Phase One

The initial phase is what I refer to as the Perk Coaching Phase. This is the stage at which a business begins to offer coaching as a perk to its employees. Coaching is framed not as a “deficiency conversation,” but as a “enhancement and expansion conversation.” The critical component of this phase is the incredible one-on-one coaching provided: not simply pleasant conversations, but truly transformative insight-filled forward movement sessions.

Phase Two

The second phase is what I refer to as the Training Coaching Phase. This is the point at which enough people who have benefited from coaching are activated and motivated to become better coaches themselves, as a result of the difference it is making in their own work and personal lives, which are inextricably linked, as we all know.

Coach-like behavior is observed, valued, emphasized, embraced, and celebrated.

Phase Three

The third phase is dubbed the Sustainable Coaching Phase. This is when coaching has become ingrained in the culture. Coaching is viewed as a way of being, as opposed to a series of pre-planned conversations. Coach-like behavior is observed, valued, emphasized, embraced, and celebrated, and there is a desire throughout the culture for more coaching conversations in the daily experience of a business. At this moment, the organization is eager to acquire new coaching skills, tools, concepts, and ideas, and it hopes to accomplish this through advanced training.

3. Embrace Diversity

The third point I’d like to make in support of developing a coach-like culture is that the people in the coach training rooms represent the many voices of the system. These people will collaborate with you to co-create this movement. Co-creation is a space where you collaborate with someone else, where you exchange creative energy that drives co-creation rather than just individual creation. To do this, I advise against using roles to determine who attends those initial training workshops. The greater the variety of attendees, the better. Each viewpoint will contribute to the discussion of the “why” and “how” of developing a coaching culture. This ensures that, in a similar way to how we coach individuals, the system is leading this initiate from within. Coaching then instills in everyone the desire, power, and hunger to live the life they want.

4. Create a Safe Space

Creating a safe space will give way to establishing a coaching culture. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about providing safe spaces in the workplace. The workplace should be a great place for openness and honesty. Discourse groups can be an effective way to generate new ideas and brainstorm. Create a system that allows for the free expression of all ideas and opinions in order to create a safe and positive work environment for the entire team.

A safe space protects your employees from judgment and bias.

A safe space protects your employees from judgment and bias. Making your company a safe haven for employees can boost morale and enhance overall life-work balance. A coaching culture will encourage a safe environment because it will establish a culture of trust. Employees who feel comfortable at work are more creative and passionate about their jobs.

Supporting People Through Coaching

Adapting a coaching culture is the best option for your organization if you want to establish a company culture that leads to stronger employee engagement, improved workforce cooperation, people and performance development, more creativity and agility, and increased employee accountability. And who wouldn’t want that?!

Reshaping your people, your team, and your entire organization toward a more coach-like culture is not for the faint of heart; it is for the full of heart — which I’m sure you are, given your continued reading of this post. I personally thank you, and I’m sure your coaching clients do as well, because this work is critical and “makes things matter more.” I dare to say that as co-coaches, we are in the “mattering business.”

Coach-like culture is not for the faint of heart; it is for the full of heart.

We assist individuals in identifying what matters and then being accountable and responsive enough to create and manifest what matters. Because that, my friends, is true leadership! And what organization would want to be excluded from that larger picture?

Coach on!

Written By

Rick Tamlyn

Rick is a trusted advisor for Fortune 100 companies, small businesses, nonprofits and churches, and has engaged audiences both small and large in 22 countries and counting. In 2001, Rick co-created The Bigger Game: a tool that inspires people from all walks of life to get out of their comfort zones and invent the lives they want. He is the author of Play Your Bigger Game: 9 Minutes to Learn, a Lifetime to Live.

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