The Importance of Developing a Coaching Culture

As described in the blog What is a Coaching Culture, when organisations have successfully invested in developing a coaching culture, a coaching mindset becomes the norm, coaching conversations become the default way of communicating and managing performance, and timely feedback happens at all levels of the organisation.


This becomes a way of operating not just for leaders with their team members, but between peers, in team and project meetings, with customers and prospective clients.


Why is developing a coaching culture important?


This isn’t just a nice thing to do to make employees feel good but is increasingly shown to be essential to drive high performance within the business.


A recent McKinsey report found that leaders in those companies that increased their business performance during the Covid pandemic spent more of their time in coaching conversations than in companies whose performance suffered during the last year. Leaders in the top-performing organisations used coaching to speed up decision-making, often having short (less than 15 minutes) meetings that resulted in clear actions or decisions that led to the empowerment of their teams.


As organisations begin to shift towards post-pandemic ways of working, that for many will include hybrid models of remote and office working, they have a rare opportunity to reconsider the culture of the organisation (2). As the McKinsey report implies, leaders need to be more intentional about their interactions with others and to increase their focus on coaching, as the traditional command and control style of leadership is no longer fit for purpose in this day and age.


As has been borne out in this last year like no other before, organisations need to be able to adapt quickly if they are to stay competitive. This requires employees to be able to think creatively to make decisions and solve problems. Empowering employees to identify their own solutions through coaching helps build their confidence and competence to manage a wider range of day-to-day situations, allowing leaders to focus more of their time on strategic activities that drive the business forwards.


When leaders coach their teams, they instil a mindset of possibility and implicitly communicate the message “I trust you”. As outlined in The Leadership Coaches blog ‘How Leadership Can Develop Trust Amongst Teams’, there are many benefits to building trust in teams and ultimately this enhances business performance. When leaders invest in building relationships and trust through coaching, they are not only likely to retain their high-performing employees but attract top talent too.


The generations entering the workforce now no longer want to be told what to do but are more interested in being empowered, working collaboratively, being valued for their contribution, and acknowledged for their ideas. The development of transferable skills is high on their agenda, as ‘jobs for life’ become a thing of the past. A desire to find purpose and meaning in professional pursuits is what drives them. This demands an approach to leadership that engages and motivates them to learn through experimentation, supports them to think for themselves about what solutions work and why, and encourages them to reflect on their behaviours as they develop skills to navigate the complexities of today’s workplace.


The pandemic has caused many employees to re-evaluate their relationship with work and

40% of workers globally are thought to be considering leaving their current employer by the end of this year. Never before has employee engagement been so essential, and coaching offers a way for leaders and organisations to work with their employees to establish what’s meaningful and engaging for them.


Many companies claim to have a great culture, with most having publicly declared value statements that employees are expected to align with. Embedded within these might be a quality that implies the practice of coaching by leaders to nurture and grow their teams. Having such value statements is not enough – the real test is how leaders enact these. If the behaviours displayed by leaders do not reflect the espoused values, the values are meaningless. When such gaps are evident, employees will question their relationship with the organisation and think about moving on.


Are you interested in developing a coaching culture?


As with all aspects of organisational culture, the mindset and behaviours adopted by the majority will define the culture of the organisation. When a coaching mindset and regular coaching conversations start to become the norm at all levels in an organisation, transformative change can happen.


How is your organisation doing with instilling a coaching mindset and building competence and confidence in having regular coaching conversations?


The Leadership Coaches have experienced coaches who can help you turn this vision into a reality for your organisation. Call us on 0800 345 7727 to discuss this further.


Written by Sue Gammons


Sources


Passmore, J & Jastrzebska, K. Building a coaching culture: A development journey for organisational development. Coaching Review, 2011, 4 (2): 123–7.


De Smet, A., Mysore, M., Reich, A., Sternfels, B. Return as a muscle: How lessons from COVID-19 can shape a robust operating model for hybrid and beyond, McKinsey & Company, July 2021. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/return-as-a-muscle-how-lessons-from-covid-19-can-shape-a-robust-operating-model-for-hybrid-and-beyond


The 2021 Work Trend Index: The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Microsoft, 2021. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work


Daimler, M. Why Great Employees Leave “Great Cultures”. Harvard Business Review, May 2018.