Creating a coaching culture means a significant change in the way you do business. Shifting the cultural tides of your organization to encompass coaching can be beneficial across all business units. With coaching, individuals can improve their performance while organizations can experience greater productivity. And, coaches can help individuals develop resilience in the face of major marketplace shifts.
70% of employees who participated in coaching improved their performance, according to the International Coaching Federation’s 2019 report, Building Strong Coaching Cultures for the Future. The same study also indicated that 86% of companies that incorporated coaching not only recouped their investment but profited from it.
But, instilling a coaching culture amongst your workforce can feel daunting. Any cultural change takes immense amounts of commitment from HR leaders to implement successfully. Partnering with the best external platforms and resources can help ease the burden on leaders and ensure the best possible outcomes when it comes to prioritizing workplace wellbeing. Here’s how you can rethink your people development strategy to leverage the benefits of coaching.
What Is a Coaching Culture?
A coaching culture is when organizations use coaching regularly and to its fullest extent to collaborate more effectively, grow the skills of each individual, and co-create a more successful business.
Before we talk about the how of creating a coaching culture, it’s important to understand the what. We know that coaching cultures feature widespread use of coaching, but what does that mean? At its best, coaching is specific. Pupils learn particular skills or tasks so they can eventually repeat them on their own. For these reasons, in a productive coaching culture, these types of interactions are baked into daily work. For example, when colleagues collaborate on a project, there’s an element of coaching involved. Or, when individuals plan out their workweek, coach and coachee interactions are always included. In a coaching culture, coaching interactions are a priority.
Implementing a Coaching Culture
Organizations with a strong coaching culture perform better, which leads to business gains such as increased customer satisfaction, ability to attract talent, and ultimately, increased profits.
Here’s how to get started implementing a coaching culture in your organization.
Step 1: Democratize coaching
Coaching is often reserved for executives. However, those early in their careers, working to build the skills that will make them successful professionals, must be included in every organization’s coaching program. While executives and managers should not be excluded from coaching, neither should individual contributors. When you provide high-quality coaching to everyone, the positive effects will reverberate throughout your organization.
- Prioritize coaching for individual contributors: Coaching helps people identify and leverage their strengths, while also building new skills. This is particularly important for early-career professionals.
- Utilize manager coaching: Managers do much to shape organizations. A survey conducted in 2020 by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 84% of American workers believe unskilled managers create unnecessary work and stress. What is more, the same study showed that 50% of workers believed their own performance would improve if their manager had additional training. Given the pivotal role managers play in organizational success, it’s important to ensure that they are among the first to be paired with coaches in any program.
- Emphasize coaching for people from underrepresented groups: By ensuring that women, people of color, and first-generation professionals have access to coaching, you can make significant gains toward improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organization.
Step 2: Determine how you’ll measure success
Place science at the heart of your coaching strategy. Treat your coaching efforts like a research study by collecting data before, during, and after implementing your program. In doing so, you’ll understand if you’ve successfully created a coaching culture in your organization. More importantly, before you even begin your coaching efforts, you’ll know that your organization is aligned on its priorities and that you’ve designed your program in a way that will equip you to meet your goals.
- Set specific KPIs: Setting and measuring KPIs can help you measure the effectiveness of coaching through coachee engagement and satisfaction. They can also help you measure business outcomes such as employee retention and productivity, quality of services or products, and cost savings. Be sure that your KPIs are specific enough that there is no ambiguity on the part of survey participants. For example, asking participants “are you happy with your coaching experience?” is too ambiguous to yield helpful results. A better approach may be to identify building new, relevant skills as a KPI. In this case, you could ask participants to strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: Coaching allowed me to build new skills that are relevant to my job.
- Set a timeline: It’s a good idea to make a plan so participants know what to expect and so you can plan for the future work of assessment. Set a date for when specific KPIs will be assessed and reviewed.
- Partner with a science-forward platform: With science at the heart of your coaching initiative, you can take an evidence-based approach that will yield results. CoachHub’s team of behavioral scientists and learning engineers at our global Coaching Lab guide the development of our digital coaching platform.
Step 3: Use coaching to forge connections throughout your organization
Connection is a critical component to business success as it contributes to increased employee retention and performance. While 85% of HR professionals believe employee connection is critical to success, just 38% of employees agree their organization helps them build authentic relationships with coworkers and managers, according to The State of Workplace Connection 2022 report by Blueboard. For HR leaders, closing this gap and inspiring more unity amongst teams is essential.
That’s where coaching can help. One of the greatest benefits of a coaching culture is that it cements connections between individuals. When you have a coaching culture, your people build trusting and productive relationships that have positive ripple effects across your organization, driving employee engagement. There’s a tangible benefit to this. Organizations that build trust and engagement among employees are 23% more profitable, according to Gallup’s 2020 study, The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes.
- Find the best external coaches: In order to fully benefit from coaching, your team needs a voice from the outside to guide them. Find a digital coaching platform that will work for you, and help people at all levels of your organization build the skills they need to succeed. You’ll want to prioritize coaches that have diverse work experiences and cultural backgrounds. It’s also ideal if your employees have the opportunity to receive coaching in the language they feel most comfortable in, and at a time that works best for their schedule. This can be a tall task for HR leaders, which is why partnering with a coaching platform that can do the heavy lifting when it comes to vetting and onboarding coaches is ideal.
- For greater flexibility, find a digital coaching partner: Digital coaching allows you to provide coaching for your employees at scale. With the right partner, you can provide coaching to everyone in your organization in a way that’s sustainable, helping you establish a coaching culture.
Bottom Line: A Coaching Culture Benefits Employees at Every Level
Now that you can confidently answer the question, “What is a coaching culture?” and you have a better idea of how you can implement a coaching culture in your organization, it’s time to get started.
Coaching can benefit all employees, from executives to early-career individuals. When your organization develops a coaching culture, leaders get the support they need while individuals can develop the skills that will help them improve and upskill in their work.