Leadership is defined as the art of encouraging and motivating a team of individuals to work toward achieving a common goal. A key leadership action is coaching your team—and even more powerful is creating a culture of coaching throughout an organization. “A coaching culture simply means supporting your employees so that they learn new skills and become greater assets to the company. A management culture that emphasizes training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth creates a more engaged and energized workforce,” (Forbes Coaches Council, 2016).
It is important to consider why establishing a coaching culture is imperative in an organization. The Human Capital Institute and the International Coach Federation conducted a study in which, “organizations with strong coaching cultures report revenue growth well above their industry peer group (51% compared with only 38%) and significantly higher engagement (62% compared with 50%),” (Bennett, 2019). Revenue and employee engagement are two of the most important metrics a successful organization should track using a balanced scorecard approach.
As you may have heard me say in the past, LEADERS SET THE TONE. When creating a culture within any organization, keep in mind, it starts at the top. As leaders coach, it serves to cascade a commitment to coach down through the organization and underscores the value of coaching. In different training events I have conducted in organizations, often the first question I receive is, “Will upper management be attending this course?” Employees want to know that management is learning and growing with them.
Another key component of building the coaching culture involves fostering learning amongst your team members. Specifically, what is a coach? What are the coaching skills? How does a coach apply them? Teaching management and team leaders how to coach will equip them with the skills to coach, which is essential to building a coaching culture.
As managers begin to coach, are there goals? For example, managers might coach direct reports through developing plans that support company initiatives or goals be they culture, performance, or sales-oriented. With metrics in place, management can see the extent to which the coaching is moving different units toward accomplishing goals. It is important to recognize and celebrate coaching successes. Doing so supports developing a coaching culture.
These concrete actions will help create a culture of coaching to help build the high performing organization you desire. There are other actions that are important for culture building such as being transparent building a coaching culture, addressing culture in performance reviews, focusing on career development for team members, and highlight stories of coaching successes. Remember the saying that energy flows where attention goes. If you put your attention and focus on coaching and development the energy of the entire organization flows in that direction and everyone will reap the benefits.
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For the Faith-based:
Jesus’ ministry created an environment of coachability. His coaching approach often involved asking people open-ended questions in order to help them think for themselves. He listened intently to their responses and often followed up with more questions. The Gospels are full of parables in which Jesus often asked open-ended questions to help His followers gain a fresh perspective, realign their beliefs, and motivate them to refocus on their original mission. In fact, I counted more than sixty questions that Jesus asked in the Book of Mark and two-thirds of them were open-ended.
One of my favorite coaching accounts is found in the Gospel of Matthew 16:13-18. Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?” In verse 14, the disciples respond. In the next verse, Jesus asks them, “But who do you say that I am?” Notice that the first question was broader and easy for them to answer. The second question was more probing and asked for them to personally respond as to who they thought Jesus was. This is a powerful example of asking coaching questions to help people explore their thoughts. Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Wow, what a response! In Matthew 16:19 when Jesus told Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah…And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church…” This and other interactions with Jesus helped develop Peter into the leader he became in the early church.
We all have the ability to influence others but it’s the way we go about cultivating those coachable moments. Coaching is a powerful way to help others in the transformation process by asking questions, but also by helping them develop action steps to move forward. Consider Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformation is a process that can be enhanced by cultivating a culture of coaching.
Bennett, B. (2019, June 11). The Four Steps to Building a Coaching Culture. Retrieved from https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2019/06/13/the-four-steps-to-building-a-coaching-culture/
Forbes Coaches Council (2016, October 7). 13 Ways Leaders Can Build A ‘Coaching Culture’ At Work. Retrieved February 27, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/10/07/13-ways-leaders-can-build-a-coaching-culture-at-work/#21865d6544b6