Culture forms the DNA of an organization; creates its identity and personality. Culture is now accorded greater emphasis than ever before. One of the findings of a Deloitte study shows that 94% of executives and 88% of employees consider a distinct workplace culture important to workplace success.

In one of our previous article we discussed, Why You Should Create a Coaching Culture?  In that we covered: why we think culture is the most critical element of any workplace; what is a coaching culture; what do we see being done differently in organizations with a coaching culture; who does the coaching; the benefits of creating a coaching culture; how does coaching strengthen change management capabilities; and that coaching is an integral element of the changing trend of leading people. Therefore, investing in building a coaching culture is now a strategically important priority for all organizations. In this article we will cover where do you start when you want to build a coaching culture.

Why culture is important for coaching to succeed?

Many organizations are investing time and resources on developing coaching competency, expecting that over a period of time, it would become a part of its DNA, and improve employee engagement and productivity. Yet, that does not happen. The culture that does not support coaching, is usually is the roadblock for coaching to become a part of the way of working.

For coaching to succeed at the workplace and deliver business outcomes, it must become the way of working across the organization. Every level must experience it and it needs to be ingrained in every conversation. Here are four steps to do enable this.

1. Begin at the top

Senior leaders in strong coaching cultures are 60% more likely to be involved in coaching programs. Leaders must “Be the change,” for coaching to become an integral part of the culture. It must become a topic discussed at every meeting, discussion of strategy, and informal conversation. Leaders must communicate the benefits of coaching not just by talking about it, but performing it every day to set the right example.

When senior leaders, lead by example, everyone follows. To ensure that it does not become a passing fad, the leaders must motivate their teams through demonstrating how coaching can engage employees, improve team productivity, strengthen leadership skills, and be more innovative. Employees soon see that coaching adds value to them.

2. Train every one

Train every employee, regardless of role or level, on the process of coaching for performance improvement. Organizations with pervasive coaching cultures, when compared to those that were less successful, were found to be 40% more likely to provide coaching training to every employee. Through the use of classroom or virtual sessions, make coaching training and development a regular activity. Follow through, with ensuring that the learning is being practiced often to help build and strengthen coaching skills, all across.

3. Put learning into practice

To create a coaching culture, you need to put together and implement a plan to support the transition to coaching, as a way of working. It is important to have a follow up plan that works in synch with the organization’s business review cadence. Some organizations deliver a coaching training followed up by small group discussions. Some use a reporting systems, coaching platforms and even apps. Either way, it’s critical to ensure that everyone applies what they have learnt through regular follow ups.

4. Broaden Accountability for Results

Organizations often put the responsibility to be accountable, on managers. However, when coaching is put into practice, the situation can change completely. Coaching develops employees that are encouraged to take decisions and own their choices. This process supports employees in taking ownership of their performance and managers to take ownership of how they coach their team members.

How does that happen?

First, ensure that coaching conversations  are being experienced by all employees. Second, track and publish the data about all the coaching conversations in the organization and the success being achieved by each coach. This data will help the senior management decide on changes that may be required to the program.

Finally, if your organization is already investing in developing coaches, don’t stop there. Make it a part of every conversation, being experienced by employees all across. You can then see greater engagement, better productivity, and improved performance across the organization.

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