In our previous blog, 3 Pillars of a Coaching Culture , we looked at Carol Wilson’s experience at the Virgin Group with Richard Branson, who built many successful, unrelated yet profitable businesses by adding unique value to customers across several industries. One primary reason for Richard Branson’s success was incorporating a Coaching Culture at the Virgin Group. He was always willing to listen as he believed he didn’t know everything and was ready to trust experts and give people the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. That kind of leadership is based on creating three strong pillars on which the coaching culture is built at the Virgin Group. To recap, these are:

    1. Responsibility – Giving people the responsibility along with the freedom to decide and act.
    2. Self-belief – Encourage and motivate to try new ideas and learn through trial and error.
    3. Blame free – Treating mistakes as learning opportunities, rather than punishment cases.

As a leader, when you practice these values every day, it becomes a part of the organization’s DNA and inherent to the culture of the organization. These are very powerful in ensuring that coaching is pervasive and not superficial. It then becomes the way of working.

Launching a Coaching Culture

If your organization is convinced that coaching can significantly elevate the organization’s level of performance and add substantial value to the business, you would like to build a coaching culture, where to make a beginning is usually the first question. After the 3 Pillars above, which are critical values to practice for a coaching culture, you may refer to our previous blog, Where do you start when you want to build a coaching culture? These are:

  1. Begin at the top – When senior leaders lead by example, everyone follows.
  2. Train everyone – Through classroom or virtual sessions, make coaching training and development a regular activity.
  3. Put learning into practice – It’s critical to ensure that everyone applies what they have learned through regular follow-ups.
  4. Broaden Accountability for Results – This process supports employees in taking ownership of their performance and managers in taking ownership of how they coach their team members.

Having understood the above four elements of the approach to take when launching a coaching culture, it is time to get down to the brass-tacks and develop an action plan to build a coaching culture at your organization. So now we will get into the details of the step by step process for doing it.

For this, we can again refer to what Carol Wilson talks about, from her experience in leading Virgin Music and other music companies, on what you can do to build a coaching culture at your organization., in her blog post about the innovative 10 point plan for building a coaching culture.

10 Steps to creating a coaching culture

    1. Vision and purpose: Having a clear purpose for building a coaching culture. The goal may vary. Some organizations may want to be more innovative. Others may want to improve accountability and performance. Some others may be struggling to manage growth or the after-effects of downsizing.
    2. Organizational health check: What do we have and what do we need? What budget do we have? What is already covered in existing learning programs? What should we keep, and what should we replace with a coaching program?
    3. Identifying the stakeholders: The people who have an interest or are affected by the program. They may include:
      1. Influencers – Board members, HR & OD Head.
      2. Approvers – CEO, CFO, Function/Dept Heads.
      3. Users – Managers, Team Leaders.
      4. Shapers – L&D and HR Head.
    4. Getting buy-in: Not just from those who approve budgets like CEO/CFO but also other stakeholders.
    5.  Where to start: Discuss with experts, coach training providers, and research, then select who to partner with. Get the best you can.
    6. What to measure: Depending on building the coaching culture, you can come up with the right measures. It is essential to differentiate between benefits directly attributable to coaching versus those because of other actions by asking questions like:
      1. What benefits are attributable to coaching by how much (estimated percentage)?
      2. What tangible benefits are attributable to coaching? Increased sales, higher customer satisfaction, greater productivity, cost savings are examples.
    7. Implement pilots: It is safer to start with a small pilot project and resolve any issues that may come up before launching company-wide.
    8. Evaluation and forward planning: Budget time to take feedback from all stakeholders to make adjustments. This also increases with stakeholders.
    9. Implement the next phase: After the adjustments, you can roll them out across the company.
    10. Maintain the momentum: Coaching programs generate energy and enthusiasm. They are to be encouraged and motivated as managers and team leaders implement these coaching actions.

When coaching programs ‘go viral,’ people become happier, kinder, more aware of themselves and others. Organizational performance improves with reduced stress at work and freedom from fear.

Regal Unlimited can help organizations of the future to create, nurture and institutionalize the coaching culture through their exclusive program for corporate leaders – Leaders as Coaches . We have done this program globally for corporates, senior leaders and professionals.

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