Why now is the time to create a coaching culture

Trayton Vance on why your organisation needs a coaching culture… and needs it now.

Coaching culture isn’t just a buzz phrase. It’s the key to helping your organisation overcome the challenges of –­ and the transition to – new ways of working through and beyond Covid-19. If you’re to adapt and transition properly, you need to do this now, and here’s why.

No one can deny that 2020 has been a challenging year. Quite apart from the consequences of Covid-19 on global health, social structures and economies, the world of work has taken a serious body blow.

In this turmoil, both individuals and organisations must re-think how they work and re-invent themselves to be fit for purpose in the ‘new’ world; a world that has dramatically changed. The disruptive conditions of the pandemic mean that old rules and ways of working, leading and managing no longer apply.

What are the challenges that organisations face?

At the heart of these new ways of working will be resilience, adaptability and sustainability. Like a three-legged stool, these qualities depend on each other to ensure long-term organisational stability and success. However, we cannot assume that these qualities will emerge or evolve naturally. They will need to be learned and developed at an organisational, team and individual level.

Build resilience in your people

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly and to bounce back from difficulties or adverse conditions. It is the case that while some individuals are naturally more resilient than others, resilience skills can be learned and developed at work.

Managers will need to find fresh ways of placing more power, choice and responsibility in the hands of their people

Effective line management can further nurture resilience by creating the conditions for individual and team learning, openness and support. Organisations need to take the time and effort to develop resilience into working practices, systems and to help their staff develop resilience skills.

Help your systems and people adapt

Being able to adjust to new and emerging conditions has always been a key component of success, and adaptability applies both to organisational systems and processes as well as individuals. Since it is individuals who create the systems and processes in the first place, it follows that organisations must develop cultures that allow for creativity, curiosity, moderated risk-taking and no-blame learning if it is to be successful.

Make your culture change sustainable

In its broadest sense, sustainability is the ability to be able to maintain and grow over a period of time in a way that has little or no detrimental impact elsewhere in the system. For organisations this means having effective leadership and management practices that are values-led and which demonstrate care and consideration for employees, customers and the wider system or environment.

How do you create a culture for these qualities to emerge?

In a time of uncertainty, change and challenging objectives it might be tempting to revert to the ‘old’ world of command and control. But organisations need to realise it is too late for that. These old ways no longer work (even if it was ever a good idea) and new ways have to be found.

The flow of the new work wave is now quickly moving towards empowerment and staff engagement and the time to act is now. This is also an opportunity to take a lead on your competitors and lead by example.

As more and more people work from home and employment becomes further de-centralised, managers will need to find fresh ways of placing more power, choice and responsibility in the hands of their people. The great danger is that some staff embrace and respond well to the change – but that others struggle, leading to a two-tier workforce and conflicts that undermine an organisation’s strategic objectives.

The way to achieve balance is through coaching, a skill which, if given the right level of attention and focus, can be readily learnt and practiced with immediate application and impact.

If we build on the analogy of the three-legged stool, where resilience, adaptability and sustainability are the legs, coaching is the seat that pulls these legs together and enables the legs to support the organisation. Without the seat, the legs will fail.

A coaching culture, where people know how to coach and how to be coached, is at the heart of creating an organisation where resilience, adaptability and sustainability can evolve to become the norm.

And more than ever before, it will be those organisations with the foresight to develop a coaching culture that will succeed in riding the challenging waves of an emerging new world of work.

This means not only continuing to develop leadership and management practices that empower staff, unlock talent, encourage self-reliance and develop personal responsibility but introducing and developing coaching as a core skill and mindset.

Only this will ensure the organisation remains fit for purpose and continues to play its best game.


About the author

Trayton Vance is CEO at Coaching Focus



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