Creating a coaching culture for success
On-the-job coaching helps drive performance, improves employee engagement and supports the development of a dynamic, agile workforce. Adopting a coaching culture is a way to ensure that performance outcomes are sustainable and that you’ll get long-term value from learning and development programs.
Read on as we explore the benefits of a coaching culture and give you practical steps so you can foster one within your organisation.
What is a coaching culture?
Let’s first step back and look at what employee coaching is. Employee coaching, delivered on the job, differs from traditional performance management (which is typically centred on annual reviews and off-site, one-off development programs) because it’s connected to the daily operational reality of an organisation. It promotes continuous learning through regular coaching conversations, goal setting and tracking. This makes it a powerful tool helping employees master new skills and change patterns of behaviour through regular interactions with their coach (leader).
A coaching culture is an organisational environment where leaders and team members work together to create a positive and motivating workplace culture that fosters development and growth. In a coaching culture:
- people are supported to achieve development goals
- people are recognised for achieving development goals
- team leaders make time for coaching conversations
- ongoing personal learning and development is an organisational priority.
Instead of one-off traditional development approaches, a coaching culture emphasises collaboration, goal setting, regular (and often informal) check-ins, trust, ongoing learning and self-motivation.
Coaching cultures are created when leadership adopts a coaching mindset with their people. This means having regular conversations and consultation with team members to promote trust, helping team members understand what needs to be done to improve performance, providing support to achieve goals and recognising when goals have been achieved.
How a coaching culture drives success
A coaching culture is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a powerful driver of organisational success. Strong coaching cultures help businesses unlock the potential of their greatest assets – their people.
By providing people with a roadmap to master new skills and behaviours, and letting them know that they’re supported to master those skills and behaviours, you’ll help people see their strengths, take on greater responsibility and gain satisfaction from their development.
This results in higher performance, happier teams, increased engagement and employee retention.
A coaching culture will also drive revenue growth by improving capability, which enhances productivity, while increased job satisfaction reduces employee attrition – a win-win situation.
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Ready to start creating a coaching culture?
So, we’ve explored why a coaching culture is important. Now let’s look at how you can start creating one in your organisation.
Creating a coaching culture involves a deliberate and systematic strategy. Transforming a company culture may require reviewing employee development strategies and looking at core values. It will rely on buy-in at all levels across the organisation with leadership taking a critical role in modelling behaviours and facilitating coaching.
Once you’ve got the leadership on board, it’s time to ensure you have a clear understanding of what your coaching initiatives will look like and to implement a structured coaching program across your entire organisation.
Make sure you define the scope of your coaching programs and outline the roles and responsibilities of managers as coaches. You might need to provide training to management who are acting as coaches and team members who will be coached. Outline clearly what the expectations are and what the coaching approach will look like.
Allow for a period of adjustment. This is especially important if you’re transforming from a traditional performance management approach. Give your workforce time to learn about coaching.
It’s also important to give people time to coach and be coached. This may mean stopping other operational tasks to prepare for coaching meetings or to make space for one-on-one meetings.
Encouraging open communication and active listening is a key component of successful coaching cultures. Inter-departmental collaboration provides opportunities to improve understanding of what’s involved in coaching and gives people the forum to share how they’ve overcome hurdles. Encourage knowledge sharing and expect coaches and team members to participate in meetings and forums where they can share expertise and learn from others. You might even find that people take on the role of internal coaches to managers who are new to coaching!
Even though a coaching culture starts from the top, it’s important to empower employees to take ownership of their growth journey – as coaches and as employees being coached!
7 tips for building coaching cultures
Creating a successful coaching culture requires deliberate and strategic efforts. You’ll need to involve leadership and their teams, empower employees and encourage a learning and knowledge-sharing environment.
Get leaders involved
Leaders play a crucial role in establishing and supporting successful coaching programs. Senior leadership can demonstrate their support of the process, while mid-level managers and team leaders should prioritise and commit to regular coaching.
Providing employees with the necessary coaching skills and knowledge is essential. This can be achieved by delegating tasks, providing resources, setting clear expectations, giving constructive feedback and recognising efforts.
Coach the coaches
Make sure you’re developing the right leadership skills. Give leaders the coaching skills they need. Team leaders may need training on negotiation, problem-solving, conflict resolution, delegation and how to give feedback.
Commit to regular coaching
Encouraging frequent coaching conversations is crucial to developing a strong coaching culture and achieving goals in your workplace. Leaders should lock in regular times to check in with their team members and block out time to prepare for team coaching sessions. Adopting this approach across an organisation will help to develop the coaching mindset and expectations regarding taking time to coach.
Be ready to STOP doing things
Leaders, for the most part, are not sitting around twiddling their thumbs looking for work to do. When an organisation commits to building a coaching culture, something may have to give. Be ready to find tasks leaders can stop doing to free up time and help them develop their team.
Track employee engagement
Monitoring employee engagement will help to assess the impact of a coaching culture on overall satisfaction. It will also help to identify areas for improvement and create strategies to ensure employees are feeling supported, valued and motivated.
Celebrate coaching success
Sharing and celebrating success stories can have a powerful impact on motivating and inspiring others. Recognising and rewarding employees who have achieved success through coaching and proudly sharing these stories with the rest of the organisation can help to celebrate their achievements and encourage others to embrace coaching.
This can also help to inspire employees to become coaches or be open to being coached. Celebrating achievements provides an opportunity to further strengthen a coaching culture.
Utilise technology to support your coaching culture
Software can give you visibility and insights into your organisation’s coaching activities, helping leaders and HR teams understand where capabilities are shifting and where improvements need to be made.
Employee coaching software that supports employee coaching also helps integrate coaching into the daily activity of your workforce, ensuring that goals are being tracked.
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YakTrak: a powerful tool for building a coaching culture
The benefits of creating a coaching culture are significant, so support your people with software that is made to unlock employee coaching success. YakTrak:
- helps hold managers accountable for coaching their people
- provides visibility over the quality of goals and tracks progress towards them
- includes reporting and review mechanisms that will help you understand the impact your coaching activity is having
- involves employees in the coaching process
- provides a central location for documenting employee behaviour and coaching activity.
Watch how YakTrak makes it easy to visualise your organisation’s coaching activities and provide bespoke coaching interactions for everyone in your organisation.