WHAT IS A COACHING CULTURE?
When we think about a culture within an organisation, it is typically defined as ‘the way we do things around here.’
Culture (the way we do things around here) + Coaching = Coaching Culture.
We define coaching culture as ‘the majority of people in the organisation using coaching techniques and principles, including strong listening and questioning skills, to bring out the best in individuals and teams, and that this is the common way of engaging in conversations, rather than telling people what to do, giving advice, mentoring and other techniques.’
Coaching is not the only technique or methodology used in the organisation and it is not the only methodology or management/leadership tool appropriate in all situations. However, with a normal functioning individual, team or organisation who have adopted a coaching culture, the coaching principles and coaching tools are actively used.
Developing coaching skills in the workplace has become increasingly important because:
- Old styles don’t work with the new generation
- Organisations are calling on people to deliver more with less resources, and they need to tap the potential of people (rather than stifle it)
- Managers have great technical skills but are lacking in the people skills and this can lead to an increase in bullying and complaints
- There are way too many people walk around saying “what can’t be done” rather that “what’s possible”
- We spend all our time at work, why not have a workplace that we actually enjoy!
“We’ve had the GFC, we’ve got too many managers without strong people skills, we’ve got large companies going out of business, baby boomers retiring from the workplace in their thousands when they could be coaching and mentoring and a misunderstood Y-generation! So never has there been a time in corporate history when the need has been so important, to take responsibility and accountability for our actions; to think about ourselves and how we show up and how we go about getting our results; to lead people rather than manage them.”
Many Australian leaders are introducing coaching culture in the workplace and transforming their organisations.
WHAT IS THE TREND?
There are a number of leaders in Australia who are inspiring and transforming their organisations using coaching methodology, embarking on the journey to implement coaching into their organisations and creating a culture where coaching is normal, accepted and the preferred way of having conversations. That word ‘preferred’ is a really important one! When it is a person’s preference to use coaching skills, to ask questions rather than giving solutions, to hold back and listen, and to prefer to coach and grow people rather than simply making them do what you want – that’s when you start to see a coaching culture in place.
Whether you are an internal coach within your workplace or an external coach acting as a service provider, coaching culture is without a doubt the number one topic in corporate coaching today. So in this article I’d like to share with you the key tips for assisting organisations to think about and move towards implementing a coaching culture. And it is a journey – it’s not a quick fix!
The organisations that I have worked with can take six months to get approval to start and most take 12 – 18 months before enough people are equipped with skills to see a change in culture.
From a coaches point of view, this means we have to be focused on partnerships and relationships and longer term strategies with our clients. It’s a great space to be working!
WHAT WILL BE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF COACHING CULTURE?
In my experience, and from my research with great Australian organisations and leaders, here are the key tips for introducing a coaching culture into your organisation:
- Engage the leaders in coaching to achieve a clear mandate for coaching in the organisation
- Link coaching to business strategy and ensure it is included in leadership competency frameworks and development programs, job descriptions and plans of individuals
- Decide the clear methodology or set of coaching tools and the language of coaching to be used in everyday speak
- Roll coaching programs in the the organisation – from one-day introduction to internal people becoming qualified and accredited in coaching qualifications, such as a Certificate IV and Diploma in Workplace and Business Coaching
- Encourage formal coaching – for example, executive coaching assignments and sitting down to do a performance review or feedback discussion – and informal coaching such as ‘water cooler conversations’
- Create visible signs of coaching – for example, posters, mouse mats, screen savers and other memory joggers
- Implement and encourage coaching across hierarchical boundaries; so, for example, I coach my peers, my team members and my manager and this is common and expected
- The workplace looks, feels and sounds like a great place to work – there’s a positive solutions-focused vibe; people feel valued and encouraged and support each other; they take time to celebrate results and work through challenges together; collaboration is a focus (rather than competition); people are doing jobs based on their strengths and what they enjoy doing.
Are you wondering whether this all sounds possible? Well, for the organisations interviewed in my book Bring Out Their Best, and many others around Australia, the answer is: Yes, it is possible!
This type of culture is something that many organisations are increasingly working towards, are focusing on achieving, and will continue to achieve as people leave the organisation and others join.