Long used to enhance executive leadership development, coaching has become a vital tool within organizations for overall employee development in recent years. More and more, organizations are realizing the benefits of coaching. According to the Building a Coaching Culture Report by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Human Capital Institute (HCI) a robust coaching culture has been linked to higher employee engagement: 65% of employees are highly engaged in strong coaching culture organizations compared to 52% of employees in other organizations. Organizations with a strong coaching culture also report greater financial performance: 60% report being above their industry peer group in 2013 revenue compared to 41% of all others.
The motivation for offering coaching is the same, regardless of whether the organization uses external coaches, internal coaches or managers/leaders using coaching skills. Coaching is used in organizations as a leadership development strategy, to increase employee engagement, to improve communication and teamwork skills, and to increase productivity. With more organizations recognizing the importance of coaching, 80% report that, within the next five years, they expect that managers/leaders will expand their use of coaching skills. While most organizations report that senior-level (80%) and high-potential employees (87%) receive coaching, more than 60% report that entry-level employees receive some amount of coaching as well.
In the Building a Coaching Culture report, organizations with a strong coaching culture shared a number of attributes, including:
Although most organizations recognize the advantages of a strong coaching culture, many struggle with establishing and implementing one and, in turn, are challenged with articulating the importance of coaching and its value to the organization. By implementing the following recommendations, organizations can better position themselves to establish a strong coaching culture.
How to Design a Coaching Culture
Establish organizational support: Position coaching as an invaluable initiative by identifying respected leaders to act as its champion. Give managers/leaders the tools, information and guidance they need to explain coaching and its value to employees.
Use a variety of modalities: External coaches often come with more experience but could, at times, lack in-depth knowledge of a company’s culture. Internal coaches and managers/ leaders using coaching skills often have less coach training and coaching experience but have a better understanding of the organizational system. Companies benefit most when a combination of modalities is employed.
Offer coaching for everyone: Coaching should be provided across all levels of an organization, to individuals of all ages and experience levels.
Deliver coaching regularly: With a variety of modalities in use, coaching can and should be accomplished at regular intervals. Managers/leaders using coaching skills can engage with employees on a daily basis, while internal and external coaches can interact daily, weekly or monthly with a coachee as the situation dictates.
Clearly define roles: For each modality, the roles should be clearly defined, especially the differences between managers/leaders using coaching skills, internal coaches and external coaches ( external coaches are typically used for Senior Level Managers and C-level Executives)
Finding and Training Coaches
Set up managers for success: Empower managers and leaders with training and peer coaching to help develop better coaching skills. Relationship building and soft skills, such as empathy, should be emphasized, and opportunities for accredited coach training should be made available.
Provide training: Establish a training track that allows for internal coaches and managers/leaders to participate in continuous coaching education. According to research, the ideal number of coach- training hours for managers/leaders would be between 30 and 60 hours.
Establish a community of practice: One way to support the development of managers/leaders and internal coaches is by creating a coaching community that provides ongoing training, guidance and opportunities
to explore innovative practices. This group would also strengthen the partnership with HR and foster an environment of continuous development and feedback.
Executing and Evaluating
Break down barriers: Combat the top barriers of lack of time, funding and accountability by ensuring that everyone—from senior executives to entry-level employees—understands the value of coaching to the organization. Build in coaching as a regular activity and competency for managers and internal coaches.
Fund coaching adequately: Ensure that the importance the organization places on coaching is in the annual operating budget. Organizations with a strong coaching culture typically have a dedicated line item for coaching and coach training.
Set goals for return on investment/return on expectations: Establish clear expectations for the outcomes of the coaching initiative within the organization and ensure the goals are communicated across all levels of the organization.
By being intentional about creating a strong coaching culture, an organization can reap many benefits, from enhanced employee engagement to improved business performance. While each organization’s approach to coaching will take a different path based on its distinctive organizational needs, business goals and talent management initiatives, any company can begin to build a coaching culture by utilizing these recommendations.
The information in this blog is from the ‘Building a Coaching Culture Report” by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Human Capital Institute (HCI)