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Do you have a coaching culture in your business?

A survey from the Institute of Leadership & Management a couple of years ago showed that coaching is an accepted performance and development strategy in 80% of organisations. In our blog post last month – Are your managers coachers or instructors? – we looked at what coaching is and asked the question, Do you have a coaching culture? Whatever the answer, if you see the value of coaching to your business, then you need some strategies to either develop or strengthen your coaching culture. In other words, to make it second nature to your organisation.

How to encourage a coaching culture

The following simple-but-effective actions are all aimed at creating a working environment in which coaching is seen as not only effective but also perfectly normal:

  • Whatever written policies or procedures you have around training and development, make sure that coaching is mentioned as a valued option. In fact, do more than mention it. If you have a formal appraisal or performance management process, the word ‘coaching’ should run through it like ‘Blackpool’ through a stick of rock.
  • Start at the top. Often, coaching is seen as an executive thing. But as a starting point, selling your board or senior managers on it can go a long way – like or not, they’re role models for the rest of your workforce.
  • When you talk to employees about personal goals, make sure they have decisive input. The manager can have the final say-so, of course, but people are definitely more committed to hitting targets that they have set themselves.
  • Extend that principle of personal responsibility to other areas, such as training and learning new skills.
  • Set up a staff suggestion scheme and from that starting point, encourage everyone to suggest ideas for ways in which the goods or services they deliver could be improved.
  • Communicate – start mentioning coaching wherever it’s relevant. If people start reading about it in emails or hearing about it in a positive way in meetings, interest in the benefits of coaching will increase. Curiosity is a powerful motivator!

The benefits of coaching

Finally, just to emphasise why coaching is a good idea … businesses that use coaching as a regular part of managing their people tend to see:

  • Goal-oriented attitudes
  • Increased self-reliance
  • Improved job and life satisfaction
  • More effective contributions from the team
  • Greater responsibility and accountability
  • More productive collaboration; and
  • Enhanced communication

Add to that list, reduced employee turnover, increased overall productivity, and improved job satisfaction, and coaching becomes a must-have for any business. To quote Jack Welch, “In the future, people who are not coaches will not be promoted. Managers who are coaches will be the norm.”

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