How to Develop a Coaching Culture

"Coaching culture is a buzzword that has been thrown around for the past couple of years and many people have mixed feelings about coaching. Some believe coaching is not worth it and others think coaching should be available to everyone in every organization. Statistics have proven that companies that have successful workplace coaching practices see increased ROI on their investment, better productivity, more engagement, and more. This article will help you understand what coaching culture is, why coaching can be an important part of any workplace, and how to build a coaching culture at your company.

Your organization’s leaders might feel frustrated at this point. They know employee engagement is important and believe they’re doing everything right, yet multiple surveys indicate the engagement needle is stuck on “low.” Therein lies the rub, to paraphrase Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet. Focusing on engagement numbers, rather than identifying the unique strategies and effective communication processes to empower your employees, can lead to a disconnected workforce.

Coaching culture can be defined as a coaching approach to leadership, which helps leaders develop their employees. This coaching method is used by managers and executives who are proactive in developing their team members so they can reach their full potential. There are many benefits of coaching your company's workforce including increased productivity, better morale, more creativity within the organization, and coaching can help employees feel happier, fulfilled and satisfied with their jobs.

The Importance of a Coaching Culture

Studies have shown that coaching is a powerful tool for leaders to use when developing their team members. Coaching culture has been proven to be highly effective in helping people reach their goals faster because it allows them to ask questions, get feedback on how they are doing, and coaching allows leaders to understand what's going on in the trenches. Many companies have coaching programs that include coaching calls, online coaching courses, and face-to-face coaching sessions that are available for employees at any time without being limited by their work schedule or location.

If you want your company to be a leader in innovation, then it is important you develop coaching culture. Coaching will help your team members in their job, helping them reach goals faster and coaching can be a powerful tool for leaders to use when developing their employees.

Coaching culture is a coaching approach to leadership which helps leaders develop their employees. It has been proven to be highly effective in helping people reach their goals faster because it allows them to ask questions, get feedback on how they are doing, and coaching allows leaders to understand what's going on in the trenches. Implementing coaching can help increase productivity, help employees feel happier, fulfilled and satisfied with their jobs. Coaching is one of the most important leadership skills your managers and supervisors can learn. It is a critical piece of leadership development that cannot be downplayed. If you want to build a strong coaching culture in your workplace, that has positive impact that affects your entire organization, here are some tips to get you started

Giving Feedback That Matters

Research finds that organizations are spending billions on engagement, and yet 63 percent of U.S. employees are not fully engaged and find themselves lacking the support they need to be high performers. One-off seminars and “employee appreciation days” have limited impact, because people return to their jobs without feeling any more engaged in the business mission and without new insights into how their particular efforts contribute to business success. It’s business as usual until you give them a new perk that produces excitement for a short while and then wears off. It's critical to instead, seek to understand what sort of ways your employees receive appreciation. Some employees prefer public praise that the entire workplace can acknowledge, while some want to be recognized for their hard work on a specific project, and others would like regular feedback to continue improving along their professional development journey.

Research finds that organizations are spending billions on engagement, and yet 63 percent of U.S. employees are not fully engaged and find themselves lacking the support they need. #coachingculture #leadershipdevelopment

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One way to improve this is to develop a coaching culture in your organization. In this type of environment, providing employees with effective communication, training and development, and leader feedback is an ongoing, disciplined method. Your employees regularly collaborate with each other to explore their full capabilities and competencies. Your leaders routinely interact with employees, giving them productive feedback that helps them develop new skills, innovate, and grow their careers. Annual performance reviews are going by the wayside because they’re backward-looking and usually fail to incentivize higher performance. A coaching culture energizes your workforce throughout the year, ensuring employees have every opportunity to pursue personal and organizational goals and can be as high-performing as they desire. It includes ongoing dialogue and opportunities for feedback, rather than a one-and-done annual review that doesn't allow for improving performance.

In this type of culture, people take the initiative. They thrive on leadership feedback and run with it to achieve higher performance. A finite two-day course on skill development may be a nice perk, but it has a limited impact. Employees who can learn on a regular basis through teamwork and goal-oriented leadership direction will be more engaged, more productive, and more committed.

building a coaching culture

Energizing Your Workforce

The first step is developing the coaching skills in your leaders. Managers need to understand how to deliver useful feedback, opportunities for collaborative teamwork, stretch assignments, and so on. They also need to be consistent communicators during the entire employee experience — from conveying the organizational vision to onboarding new employees to layoffs — addressing employee issues concerning the organization rather than ignoring them. Your employees get a solid and common foundation that prevents many of the issues that attract unions. In a coaching culture, your leaders ensure employees are always informed and have a voice, making your business union proof. Unions become irrelevant in an issue-free workplace where employees are engaged and feel free to discuss opportunities and challenges with management.

Building and maintaining a strong coaching culture strong can include communication tools like customized video, websites, e-learning, interactive and experiential training, social media, and face-to-face communication between managers and employees. Leaders know how to listen and respond to employees, whether via personal communication or technology, in a way that maintains alignment between employee efforts and the organizational mission. In a successful coaching culture, leaders coach other leaders, and your leadership team coaches employees who also coach each other.

Conveying Positive Energy

An employee watches a training video and asks their manager what they should do next. Command-and-control leaders respond with detailed instructions. In a coaching culture, your leader says, “What do you think is the best next step, and how will you approach your project?” Great leaders convey their positive energy to employees who convert that energy into personal motivation. Strong coaching cultures can transform your workforce into a collaborative, innovative, empowered, and more engaged group of people. Engagement data becomes only a guide for determining how to strengthen the coaching culture because your focus is on your people and not on numbers.

The Benefits of Building a Coaching Culture

Now that you're aware of some of the ways that your leaders can implement a company culture that has successful coaching, it's time to discuss a few of the impacts that this can have on your organization. Not only will your teams feel supported by managers, supervisors, and even senior leaders, but you will notice a behavior change among employees as well. It's a win-win situation. Of course, you are developing leaders who are building the necessary coaching skills to connect with their teams. Furthermore, they are able to dig deeper with their employees to help them achieve shared organizational goals - which leads to performance improvement and higher employee engagement. This positively benefits the entire organization.

develop a coaching culture

Team members understand that you're investing time in their professional and personal development, and the regular feedback and positive dialogue that comes with performance coaching conversations significantly impacts the trust and relationships between manager and employee. Some of the additional benefits that successful coaching cultures will see include:

  • Higher, better productivity that leads to high performance and overall revenue growth.
  • Improved collaboration between teams of all levels, including HR professionals and senior business leaders, managers, and employees. The whole organization can be on the same page when there is communication between senior leadership and team members at every level.
  • Leadership development - managers and supervisors learn to adopt a coaching mindset that supports the organization and gives them the necessary skills to connect with their teams.
  • Increased employee engagement - employees are motivated and engaged when they have more opportunities to learn, and there is a workplace culture of trust, transparency, and regular feedback that allows them to improve.
  • Positive organizational culture where team members can have more responsibility, have opportunities for more training, and develop the skills they need to advance their careers.
  • The ability to successfully navigate organizational change.
  • Improved communication and consistent feedback encourages managers to become more self aware. When they are coaching successfully, they are learning exactly what their teams need to feel supported and what types of recognition will keep things running smoothly.

Developing Leaders Who Successfully Coach Employees

The list of positive impacts that will naturally follow when companies develop a successful coaching culture is limitless. HR Professionals and senior leaders involved in leadership development training and talent management should consider the implications of a corporate culture that does not properly invest in coaching efforts. You can implement training for your organization that starts building a coaching culture today.

At IRI Consultants, along with our teams at Projections and A Better Leader, we are here to help you bridge the gap and overcome your employee engagement struggles while developing internal coaching systems that support your positive employee relations strategy. You can chat with our team of experts to discuss a custom solution, or check out one of the many effective leadership training modules that hundreds of companies have used to develop their leaders and become employers of choice

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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