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Foster Collaboration with a Coaching Culture

Global impacts have brought about many changes in recent years and with it, emerging trends that we expect to continue. Among rapidly changing conditions, we have had to pivot, adjusting many deep-rooted norms, behaviors, and practices. These experiences have brought to light a recognition that now, more than ever, we need to nurture a sense of adaptability and make changes to traditional mindsets.

Employers need to combat high turnover rates and employee burnout and are striving for happier employees. In turn, employees are becoming increasingly interested in having access to personal development opportunities at work and finding improved work/life balance. Their growing interest speaks to a larger shift in business environments that can’t be ignored.

A traditional hierarchical environment is no longer as effective as it once was and is giving way to the more collaboratively based approach of a coaching culture.

“Now more than ever as we start living and working in a post-pandemic work world, the emphasis on mental health is vital. Coaching provides a great way for companies to shift attitudes around mental health to be more about “prehab” and not just rehab… Better people make better cultures.” (Tim Simons, Executive Coach)

This shift aims to leverage coaching practices and create a learning environment for employees at every level of an organization. Coaching itself is more than a skill, it’s a leadership style focused on the growth and nurturing of talent to bring out the best in individuals.

What is a Coaching Culture?

A coaching culture refers to the experience of a work environment that impacts the synergy and performance of its workforce by promoting intentional, productive interactions. In an organization with a coaching culture. employees are developed, their skills and strengths nurtured, and individuals are empowered to take responsibility and face new challenges.

According to Deloitte’s 5th 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 83% of executives agree that it’s critical to “provide learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly and easily.” The importance of fostering the adaptability of a workforce is evidently clear following the COVID-19 pandemic where so many changes were seen in a very short timeframe.

Does Your Company Have What It Takes?

Notably, the Human Capital Institute (HCI) has partnered with the International Coach Federation (ICF) to explore the components of a successful coaching culture. Their criterion for creating a strong coaching culture is the ability to meet at least five of the following six criteria:

  1. Senior executives value coaching.
  2. Employees value coaching.
  3. Managers, leaders, or internal coaches received accredited training on how to be a coach.
  4. Coaching is a part of the organizations’ culture with a dedicated line item in the budget.
  5. Opportunities for coaching, either by a manager or professional coach practitioner, are available to all employees.
  6. All three coaching modalities (internal coach practitioners, external coach practitioners, and managers/leaders using coaching skills) are present within the organization.

Additional characteristics of the coaching culture mindset include being clear on goals, having a formalized plan for processes, allowing frequent feedback from employees, creating an environment of innovation where employees are encouraged to share their thoughts and solutions.

Embracing the Benefits of a Coaching Culture

One of the biggest mistakes frequently seen is the assumption that coaching is a top-down initiative that should be limited only to upper management. To realize the full benefit of a coaching culture, it shouldn’t be considered a training tool for only a few. Instead, building a strong coaching culture requires intentional effort at every level of employment, boosting the collaboration and personal development of everyone.

It often requires a shift in attitudes and behaviors to uplift your workforce and empower them to expand their talents for the betterment of the organization. Other benefits frequently attributed to a coaching culture include:

  • Improved communication and collaboration between employees
  • Improved interaction between employees and customers or potential customers
  • Heightened company engagement (also leading to increased job satisfaction and increased productivity)
  • Elevated performance with increased workforce creativity and agility
  • Better financial achievement as employees take ownership of their responsibilities and take on new initiatives
  • And more.

Adding the use of external coaching resources can also provide a level of objectivity without the concern of organizational politics as well as insight into how other company leaders may have dealt with any similar challenges as you may be facing.

What type of culture do you strive to create at your organization?

Courtney Vandeburg

Courtney Vandeburg


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