According to Forbes, building a coaching culture in the workplace better positions companies to grow and nurture talent. But what exactly is a “coaching culture,” and how can leaders make this part of their everyday environment?
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.
Below, are the 6 Key Steps to follow:
1. Have A Coaching Strategy
Have a clear definition of what coaching is, so everyone in the organization is in sync with what it means, especially compared to mentoring, training, consulting, etc. Then, ensure coaching is not an “ad hoc” activity, but is truly integrated into your overall talent management strategy and all other aspects of your employees’ lifecycle. Ad coaching to your company’s mission,
2. Start At The Top: Use A Bottom Down Approach
Start by teaching senior leaders a few coaching basics — listening, asking questions, encouraging others to reflect and develop insights before taking action. Then guide them to coach their most respected team members. As these “influencers” gain traction from being coached, they will be open to learning and modeling the same coaching behaviors. Over time, a coaching culture will emerge.
3. Lead By Example and Walk The Talk
Leading by example changes the paradigm of “I’m just perfect, it’s you who needs help” to “I have greatly benefited, and now I want you to experience this too.” So engage a coach for yourself and when you achieve the desired results, then share your experience with your team. To cultivate a coaching culture you need to create a workplace that walks the talk. Training, regular feedback and evaluation schedules, valuing different voices, rotating team leadership opportunities, and mentorship programs will create an interdependent and energized workplace.
4. Manager As Coach
When someone asks you what to do, ask them what they think will work. Ask how they came to that conclusion. Ask what alternatives they’ve considered. Show them that you value their input, and empower them to make decisions and be ready to defend them. Over time, you’ll find that people will begin to bring you solutions instead of problems, and they’ll encourage their teams to do the same.
Coaching is real-time development by all team members to all team members. It’s about practice, not perfection. Start asking questions to help individuals gain more insight on what happened and how they can handle it next time versus just telling them what to do. This gains buy-in and puts them in the driver seat. They will take on more ownership and know they have you for support and resources.
So next time an employee has a challenge ask them open-ended questions that begin with “how” or “what.”
- “What would you have done differently?
- “How can I support you?”
This empowers employees to come with meaningful solutions. A coaching culture encourages employees to learn from their experience by exploring the right questions rather than telling them what to do and how to do it.
5. Incorporate Coaching In The Performance Appraisal Process
What gets measured, gets done so hold every manager accountable for developing employees by coaching them to help them master their jobs and learn new skills. Create a structured process with clear goals for coaching employees. Be sure to make time and resources available to guarantee success. Reward managers who meet or exceed these goals and reevaluate those who don’t.
As a manager, you can’t be a runner without putting in weekly miles, and you can’t have a coaching culture without a coaching routine. Try allocating 20% of your time to coaching.
6. Bring In Training
The days of sitting in two-day courses designed to “fix” skill deficiencies are done. The new model for high performance is to implement hands-on, learn/do programs related to specific business outcomes, where teams receive on the job training and mentoring from an expert, and hold themselves accountable to perform at a high level.
To successfully integrate coaching into your workplace culture, you must engage expert certified coaches to train individuals at all levels of the organization in coaching practice. This should not be confused with mentoring or advising which is not actual coaching. You need to ensure there is alignment at all levels and evaluate effectiveness.
Coaching is a way of being, and as such, you can’t simply integrate it. You just have to understand what it is and do it. So the key is to educate teams about what coaching is and then have them do it — coach each other. Have a weekly group coaching session with a coach to help answer questions and demonstrate.