Coaching can transform individuals. Building a sustainable coaching culture at the heart of your organisation can unlock potential and be a powerful driver of agility, innovation and development.
Coaching has become a familiar part of the business and organisational landscape. More and more individuals have experienced the benefits coaching can bring to their personal and professional development. More and more organisations include coaching as part of the support and development they provide to individuals and teams.
These are fantastic foundations.
But coaching has the power to deliver even more.
Transformational Coaching has the power to unlock the potential not just of individuals, but of entire organisations.
“With the right process and the energy to carry it through, the rewards for systematically developing a culture where coaching is part of everyday relationships can transform not only the performance but the value creation of the organisation.” Forbes
Transforming your organisation with coaching requires a few vital elements:
- Making coaching available to everyone – too often coaching is limited to a small group of senior managers. Coaching needs to be delivered at scale to individuals and team at all levels of the organisation. It’s the difference between an organisation that is led and creating a leadership organisation.
- Delivering genuinely transformational coaching – There is a lot of coaching available. All of it is supporting and aids development. Not all of it is genuinely transformational. Transformation is never easy. It requires self reflection and understanding that can be challenging, emotional or vulnerable. It requires protected, safe spaces in which the coaching relationship can emerge and change can occur. Bringing this to the heart of the organisation is hard. But leads to powerful step changes in organisational performance.
- Aspiring to coaching excellence – working with accredited, experienced coaches and coach trainers themselves dedicated to continual self development and self improvement is particularly important in an environment where coaching will exist throughout the organisation. Setting the highest standards from the start ensures strong foundations.
- Making coaching part of organisational culture – Putting coaching at the heart of organisational development means putting coaching at the heart of the business. It means creating a transformational “culture of coaching” that is understood by every single person in the business and begins to define behaviour, relationships and practice at every level.
So how can organisations do this?
Here’s our ten point pathway for creating a sustainable coaching culture:
1. Plan your strategy. Set aims and objectives of your coaching culture. Align these with your wider HR / L&D strategy and with your wider business goals. Use this to ensure that the leadership team are aligned around the organisational benefits of coaching.
2. Shape purpose. Establish the organisational definition for coaching and define the purpose and use within the organisation. What is coaching for and when will it be used? And when will it not be used. Be clear on the transformational goals for coaching for both individuals and the organisation.
3. Explore scenarios. Make decisions on when a coaching approach or style will or won’t be used. Discuss possible concerns and considerations and prepare answers to potential questions during the next stages.
4. Recruit sponsors – identify and involve 2-3 members of the executive team to be engaged and trained to standards of transformational coaching excellence. The intention is for them to sponsor coaching activity and to become role models for coaching behaviour as the whole organisation begins to adopt a coaching culture. They will be visibly present in being seen to coach others and incorporate coaching into their leadership style. Aim to include at least one senior figurehead from the highest levels of the organisation as “lead sponsor” and advocate of the programme.
5. Communicate – Develop a programme of communications to explain, inspire and involve. And establish a two way culture of communication based in the coaching model. Ensure that communication is an ongoing, back and forth process rather than just a “this is what’s happening” announcement.
6. Build your coaching delivery team. Identify potential ‘tiers’ of coaching resources – for example using external executive coaches at a senior and ‘capacity building’ level combined with a mix of internal and external resources throughout the wider organisation.
7. Develop and deliver robust skills development programmes for leaders and managers designed to create ‘super coaches’ who combine both transformational coaching expertise with a deep understanding of organisational culture and strategy. Align these programmes with wider team and management development programmes.
8. Align the coaching culture with other organisational processes – mentoring, development programmes, performance management, reward and talent management systems and processes become aligned and integrated to reinforce coaching activity.
9. With resources for managers and leaders using a coaching style in place the next stage of resources can be developed to enable internal coaches and leaders to effectively coach in the workplace and further develop their capabilities. Examples include supervision, refresher training and continuing professional development events.
10. Develop a rolling and ongoing process of measurement, evaluation and success sharing. This should combine hard business performance metrics alongside qualitative assessments of cultural impact and behavioural change.
If the above approach to creating a coaching culture seems daunting it needn’t be. It does require energy, commitment and a desire for the organisation to evolve in ways that fully unlock potential and performance. But it never ceases to amaze us how the committed involvement of a small group of people in first embarking on transformational coaching for themselves, can have a ripple effect that results in transformation across the entire organisation. In other words the small steps that this can begin with can have huge impact, often quite rapidly as it inspires the creation of a new culture within the organisation.
Want to take this further?
Do you want to gain insight into personal transformation? Do you want to learn how your own Mental Fitness can be the framework for understanding how you can develop greater self-awareness and grow in your own capability and resilience?
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