Creating a Positive Coaching Culture in Organisations

Why have a Coaching Culture in the first place?


There has been a slow build over the last three decades of evidence that Coaching can produce results for the development of the individual. This has led to many large and small organisations exploring how Coaching may play a role in wider development.


Organisations such as Nestle, Deloitte and Accenture in more recent times have taken bold measures to scrap traditional performance management practices in favour of more fluid coaching based systems.


The benefits have included more effective drive of performance, the development of partnership and greatly enhanced staff engagement. In a recent interview Rhonda Howarth from Nestle reported that coaching initiatives had increased key measures on the engagement survey of about 4% up to almost 70%.


What can stop a Coaching Culture developing in a Positive way?


One of the biggest issues we see stems from how Coaching is viewed within the organisation. If care is not taken to address the image of Coaching there may be a resistance from all levels. For example, in some organisations there is a “myth” that coaching is used for remedial purposes or even as part of a pre-disciplinary process. We have also seen cultures where there is a distrust around the purpose and confidentiality of the coaching relationship.


In order to overcome such barriers there is a need to ‘reframe’ Coaching and to manage the narrative. Transparency is key and buy in from managers at all levels including board level essential. We need to create a positive buzz around the benefits of Coaching. Coaching needs to be seen as encouraging, nurturing and to feel more conversational.


Managers will in many organisations be the people delivering most of this coaching. They may have to unlearn old behaviours and develop a new reflex. Managers will also need to be reassured that this new approach will not be more time consuming than old approaches. Hopefully by making a Positive Coaching Culture more conversational we can remove a lot of the red tape and box ticking that does take up so much time. The greater engagement and partnership attitudes will result in higher commitment to the values and goals of the organisation.


To equip managers we need to ensure they receive a good level of training in coaching skills and have access Coaches of their own. Organisations building a Coaching Culture often consider training key staff who are already have some coaching experience to take on this role by training them in Coach Supervision.


What has been your experience of Coaching Cultures? What has worked and what has not worked?

Melody Cheal MSc MAPP
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