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COACHING Why create a coaching culture?


Tere are plenty of reasons why organisations benefit from a coaching culture. You will need to understand these drivers in order to create a strong business case. Let’s take a CEO’s eye view.


Fundamentally, a CEO would want to create a coaching culture because it supports the long term health and effectiveness of an organisation. Of course, it’s not a panacea. Tere


are other things that need to be in place too: strategy, finances, operations and people. No one’s focus will be on trying to change the culture if there are pressing, fundamental issues to address. But over the longer term, a coaching culture can give an organisation the edge over competitors and help its peo- ple to move the organisation forward. How does this happen? First,


through improved leadership and communication – leaders and managers having productive conversations with each other to solve business problems and capitalise on opportunities. Ten there’s greater agility in the





business. When people habitually use a coaching and mentoring approach, they are able to collaborate better to manage change and cope with complex, uncertain situations. And coaching and mentoring conversations often focus on developing people and tapping into the talent in the organisation so people with real potential are encouraged and supported to take on more senior roles,


Case study


One of the more unexpected benefits of a coaching culture is the impact on relationships with customers and stakeholders. While supporting a global top ten accountancy practice in their efforts to create a coaching culture, many of their partners were trained to have coaching and mentoring conversations. Over time they found that the trained partners and senior associates went on to deliver significantly improved sales numbers, client retention and client satisfaction ratings. And they performed much better than the partners and senior associates who didn’t attend the training.


the future. A healthy coaching culture is a challenging but stimulating place to work – but it’s not a soft option. Leaders get the best from their people over a sustained period without ‘sweating the assets’ too much for too long.


Are all coaching cultures the same?


A coaching culture in one place will look and feel quite different from another. Organisations have their own heritage, history, strategies and business models – and all of these impact on what a coaching culture looks like. To bring this to life, let’s


So, what’s the catch?


Like many things in coaching and mentoring, a coaching culture is a simple idea but it can be challenging to put into practice. Developing and sustaining a coaching culture requires effort over time, and it’s only sustained through support and a clear vision from senior leaders. Senior leaders need to give up a fair amount of power to leaders and employees who report to them. And they need to do this consistently. Efforts to create a coaching culture most often fail because senior leaders are not comfortable with the amount of respon- sibility they need to give to their teams. A coaching culture isn’t utopia. A coaching approach just isn’t right in all


Developing and sustaining a coaching culture requires effort over time, and it’s only sustained through support and a clear vision from senior leaders


ensuring there’s a good pipeline of talented people for mission-critical jobs. Tinking about the benefits for individual employees, the organisation will be a more stimulating, fun and rewarding place to be. People will be more engaged and good people are more likely to stay with the company. Of course, it’s not a paradise for


everyone – coaching and mentoring conversations are all about frank and open discussions about performance and potential, so consistently poor performers will be uncovered and exited.


28 | February 2017 |


situations. Organisations need to deliver results and there are times which demand 100 per cent focus on immediate delivery – where coaching isn’t the right thing to do. You don’t coach someone out of a burning building. Te most important aspect of


a coaching culture is that leaders have a good sense of when to coach others and when not to. Leaders balance the need to deliver results now with the need to build a healthy business that can deliver results for


consider an FMCG business and an engineering business. Tey have very different competitive environments, different levels of complexity in the manufacturing process; and crucially, one is business-to-consumer and the other is business-to-business. So the coaching cultures for each business must be quite different.


How to create a coaching culture


Te first step is to create clear vision for the culture. It doesn’t have to be a perfect picture but it does need to be inspiring. How will the culture help you deliver


your strategy? What’s in it for leaders – and for all employees? How will it benefit your customers/shareholders? What risks will your people need to cope with? In answering these questions and setting out your vision, it’s important to think about how the organisation will evolve over time and here there are four areas to consider:


Strategy – the overall scope and direction of the organisation, and how this might change over time.


People – the people and the jobs we’re asking them to do – and how these might change over time as the organisation evolves.


Money – over the next three to five years, revenue and cash position – and the impact that this will have on the culture needed.


Risk – the steps needed to mitigate the different risks: strategic, compliance, operational, financial and reputation.


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