The Foundations of a Coaching Culture – what is it and what are its benefits?
A coaching culture is a management culture in which the soft skills of a coach are applied collectively and competently in an organization. The prevalence of this culture is determined by the number of people using these skills, whereas its quality depends on the level on which these skills are mastered and applied. The need for organizations to build a coaching culture stems from problems currently present in companies, hope for a better future, and research confirming that this culture is highly effective in achieving results for enterprises.
Another name for this culture is leadership culture, but the concept of a coaching culture is more specific. In other words, everyone should aim to become a leader, by mastering skills that lead to the highest level of awareness and responsibility (i.e. coach-leader skills). The quality of an organization’s coaching culture is determined by how effectively these skills are used in the company every day – not necessarily by the amount of coaching an organization provides for their employees.
What kind of skills are we talking about and what scope do they encompass?
- Focus on permanent, personal development (learning culture)
- Awareness of one’s behavior, attitude, convictions, and habits
- Taking advantage of one’s strengths and talents for the sake of the organization
- Socially intelligent managing of others, including teams
- Creating long-term partnerships for the sake of business
- Building trust and a positive atmosphere in any situation
- Open communication between all levels of the organization
- Systems and synergistic thinking: changing the focus from Me to Us
- Dominance of a coaching style in management: coach-leader managers
Every skill above demands mastery of a set of competencies and acquisition of a coach-leader attitude. It renders the implementation of the process difficult, as it requires extensive substantive knowledge and discretion in dealing with people. In spite of these difficulties, organizations that have undergone this process experience a range of benefits on both a personal level and in business, which entails better results.
The main benefits of implementing a coaching culture
- Better focus on what is happening – increase of awareness
- Better relationships: 1 on 1 and between organizational units – synergy
- Switching from negative to positive attitudes – improved energy in the organization
- Stronger focus on what is important – strategic thinking
- Early detection of problems and threats – conflict prevention
What are the risks for companies that do not implement a coaching culture?
1. These companies will be less innovative because they will depend upon individual people (the managers) searching for effective strategies to develop the company, and will not engage the creativity of all of their employees. Coaching culture creates an environment where everyone can systematically perfect and implement their ideas.
2. These companies will not take advantage of their workers’ full potential. Given the current development rate and market challenges, a company that does not use 100% of its workers’ talents will lose against companies that create working conditions by coaching culture.
3. These companies will lose their best employees, as the latter will not feel motivated by this type of management. It regards knowledge workers, in particular, who have higher expectations regarding working conditions and growth opportunities continually. They will readily transfer to employers who will know how to appreciate them fully and will create favorable circumstances for their personal & professional development.
As you can see, implementing a coaching culture is no longer a luxury, but a requirement if a company wants to be competitive on the market and wants to survive and develop effectively. An organization’s culture always affects its employee’s motivation, the effectiveness of its managers and its results.
with assistance from Elżbieta Krokosz
AfT leadership & strategy