Because coaching targets high performance and improvement at work, and usually focus on developing skills and achieving goals, the creation of a coaching culture within your organisation can bring considerable business benefits. It can result in higher employee engagement, improved communication and increased innovation, as well as helping to attract, retain and develop top talent.
Here are our six tips on how to implement and sustain a culture in which a coaching approach is used as the basis of all on-going people management.
- Start at the top
As with any cultural change, it will require support, commitment and buy-in from senior leaders. Has your senior leadership team had direct experience of being coached themselves? Experiencing the benefits of coaching first hand is the best way to fully appreciate the benefits it can bring. Consider starting with the introduction of Executive coaching, which has the added benefit of supporting leaders to shape business strategies as well as developing a leadership team dedicated to championing coaching within the organisation.
- Equip managers with coaching skills
Managers are well placed to embed coaching into day-to-day business life. Invest in supporting managers to develop coaching skills and empower them to adopt the approach of supporting team members to develop their own strategies rather than telling them what to do. Coaching can be used in one-to-ones, performance reviews and day-to-day interaction to develop and progress talent. It can also be used to tackle any elements of poor performance, by coaching employees to understand and solve performance problems.
- Involve everyone in the journey
Despite the logical approach of starting from the top, it’s still important to consider how everyone can be involved from the outset. Openly share the ambition to develop a coaching culture with all employees. Explain how coaching works and how it will help them to fulfil their potential as well as bringing wider benefits to the business. Otherwise, it could be extremely confusing for team members if their manager suddenly starts responding differently to the communication style they’ve always known!
- Integrate coaching into inductions
Including coaching within employee inductions not only reinforces a coaching culture from the outset, it can also have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the individual in their new role. We provide coaching for candidates we’ve placed into new organisations and it can really help them to explore the ways things work, build more effective relationships and prioritise tasks and actions. It also means new colleagues share the responsibility for their own learning rather than feeling like they are waiting for information to be passed to them.
- Look for external coaching opportunities
Coaching from outside of the business can further enhance a coaching culture by providing fresh perspectives, objectivity and different experiences. Actively support and encourage employees to become part of any local business or industry networks which offer coaching opportunities. For example, many of the initiatives we’ve put in place to help support businesses in our region, such as our Women’s Leadership Programme, feature career coaching and forums where like-minded professionals can get together to share experiences.
- Embed and reward
Finally, consider how you can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to sustaining a coaching culture. Champion it within your organisation’s values and business plans. Look for ways to reinforce the development of the culture you are working to achieve by recognising and rewarding people’s contribution and their involvement in activities designed to share knowledge and coach others.
Gill is a founding Director of Pure and has worked in recruitment since 1988, including eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international specialist recruitment company and five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia. Gill’s approach is to provide clients and candidates with the highest quality of service. She has a consultative style which has led to her building long-term relationships with both clients and candidates.