How to enable a Coaching Culture ?

coaching culture
Natascha Speets
Natascha Speets

Natascha is always on the looking for opportunities to help her clients become the best version of themselves. She does this by integrating her professional coaching skills in everything she does.

What is a Coaching Culture and how can it help drive Agile transformations?

Initially used as a development tool for senior executives, access to coaching has gradually expanded to individuals of all ages, at all stages of their career. Applied to the entire organization, coaching allows for the infusion of behaviors at all levels that will enable the organization to reinvent itself. More and more companies are recognizing the value of a coaching culture that allows employees to develop their skills, knowledge, and ability to act, live and work together for the benefit of sustainable and responsible performance.

What is the link with Agility?

Agile coaching is a support service whose field of expertise is agility, for a determined period of time, of an organization, a team, a person in their journey towards agility for observable results.

At the level of Agility in companies this brings many benefits such as:

-Improved team performance

-Increased employee engagement

-Improved staff collaboration

-Faster leadership development

-Improved creativity and agility

-Improved ability to respond to change

«The work of an agile coach consists of accompanying an organization, a team or an individual in their journey towards or within agility for a determined period of time, with concrete and measurable results. He accompanies the transformation on an organizational and human level.»  Jean-Claude Grosjean

What is needed for a coaching culture to start growing?

To develop a coaching culture, leaders need to keep these three essential qualities in mind to create the conditions for new ideas to emerge and for employees to remain trusted and engaged:

Leadership: 

Leaders who embrace a coaching culture have a completely different approach to conversations and relationships. They resist the temptation to tell people exactly what to do and how to do it. Conversely, a coaching culture allows everyone to play a role in finding solutions. This builds trust and commitment.
 
In a coaching culture, leaders act as role models by sharing their personal stories about the challenges they face and emphasizing the importance of getting advice and support to ultimately improve. Leaders who share their own experiences help embed the values of a coaching culture into the very fabric of the organization.
 
It is also essential that senior management champion the coaching approach. The executive team must explicitly state why it is important for the organization to adopt this new mindset and clearly define its expectations for leaders to learn and implement the new skills.
 
Setting up a learning architecture for the coaching culture:
 
While you want all leaders to have some understanding of the coaching culture, that doesn’t mean you should expect every leader to achieve the same level of coaching competency. So you need to put a learning architecture in place so that coaching skills can be matched to leadership positions to ensure that people who need to gain skills can do so.
 
The learning architecture should also provide regular opportunities for leaders to practice their coaching skills. Practice can take the form of leaders meeting regularly to discuss their coaching challenges, peer coaching, or allowing leaders to work collaboratively with external coaches.
 
Creating a community to solidify a coaching culture:
 
Creating a community focused on coaching and continuous skill improvement will ensure that coaching is fully integrated into the organization’s operations. Technology platforms can help leaders communicate together and share experiences on how to handle specific coaching scenarios. They can also allow them to track and report on specific coaching engagements with internal and external coaches.
 
In addition, the importance of coaching can be reinforced and its effects celebrated by rewarding and recognizing coaching behavior internally. 

What can Agile Coaches do to drive the transformation towards a coaching culture in the organization?

Company transformation is a voluntary choice by strategic management to make the company evolve in accordance with the strategic objectives defined for the future. These change initiatives involve the efforts of everyone, from employees to senior management, to modify, to a greater or lesser extent, the structuring elements of the existing organization. Business transformation allows the company to update its organization and associated knowledge, and to anticipate the needs of its customers and employees. Change management becomes continuous.

The vision, the strategic plan, can be the starting point of a transformation, or an awareness as the dynamic spiral in a visualization of the structuring evolutions of the organization tends to show. When related to a company, major changes show a social fracture between the power and its employees, or between the company and its competitors.

Ultimately, the coaching culture is about taking a different approach to our daily challenges. In other words, when faced with insurmountable challenges, we must quickly turn to new strategies and solutions. A coaching culture is one of the best ways to create the conditions for new ideas to emerge while maintaining employee trust and commitment.

Developing a coaching culture will take a lot of work. It requires investment in training and external coaching. It also requires trust and commitment at the organizational level. The intimate details of coaching conversations must remain confidential. 

That said, organizations that choose to invest in a coaching culture will see a very high return: employees will be more engaged, more productive and more innovative.