Coaching is an extremely valuable tool that can help you to train new leaders, balance weak points in skills and behavior, and bring new people into your company culture.

Coaching, or one-on-one training, typically through both example and advice, will help employees to build themselves at every level, and it is something that will benefit your organization.

At the same time, fostering a culture of coaching, where individuals automatically reach out and help others, automatically receive coaching on entering the organization, and are able to reach out for that support as needed, can be difficult.

Ultimately, investing in coaching skills will pay off across your organization.

Who Should Know Coaching?

While nearly everyone in your organization can benefit from learning coaching skills, it’s most important that your leaders and managers develop these skills.

Team leaders and project managers should be able to step up to help anyone who is struggling, should be able to respond to negative employee assessment, and should be able to help individuals improve weaknesses to meet expected or desired behavior/skills profiles.

Instilling a culture of coaching across a larger percentage of your organization is also beneficial. Peer coaching is extremely helpful, especially in one-on-one situations where feedback is beneficial (nearly all situations).

Here, you can consider coaching as including behavioral elements such as giving and receiving feedback, supporting and expanding on someone’s thinking, challenging performance and pushing for excellence, and engaging in short but impactful conversations. As you can probably guess, this is beneficial at every level of an organization.

Assessing Coaching Culture

The first step to determining how to create a culture of coaching is to simply determine what you already have. This can range from a great deal to very little and will often rely on other specific factors such as emotional intelligence, behavior, and introversion/extroversion of you workforce.

You can create a specific assessment for coaching or use existing employee assessment data alongside quick surveys asking for information.

  • How well is coaching understood?
  • Is coaching implemented in talent retention?
  • Is coaching actively used to develop competencies in-line with performance models/benchmarking?
  • Is coaching embedded into existing processes and policies?
  • How effective is existing coaching?
  • Do individuals have a mindset of helping and guiding others?

Once you know where you’re starting, you can create a training program to begin to tackle gaps and create your culture of coaching.

Introducing Change as a Positive

The largest barrier to introducing coaching as a culture is typically related to change management. If people think that they are too busy, the organization is too high-demand, or they simply don’t have time to adopt coaching, they won’t do so.

Address coaching as part of individual responsibilities, make it part of their role, and make time for it, even in top leaders.

Bring on External Coaches

Learning by example is one of the most important elements of coaching. Bring on quality external coaches to teach coaching to internal people. This means using selection criterion so that your hired coaches act as positive examples inside your organization, while teaching the skills you need.

Your coaches should be able to:

  • Utilize assessment tools to build on employee strengths and cover weaknesses
  • Help individuals achieve career goals
  • Build collaboration and emotional intelligence across teams
  • Address problems as they appear
  • Offer custom help and roadmaps to individuals in need of support

They should also be able to act as an example as you develop internal coaches and coaching skills across your organization.

Align Your Organization

When you introduce training and workshops or even mentoring and coaching to foster coaching across your organization, it’s important to ensure your organization is aligned with new information. This means creating policies and processes that support coaching.

  • Are coaching skills reviewed during performance review?
  • Are managers and leaders given support to be good coaches?
  • How are coaching skills embedded in needed competencies? Is coaching reflected in needed competencies?
  • Do you reward coaching?
  • Do job descriptions and roles include coaching? Do they make time for coaching?
  • Is coaching part of your onboarding process?
  • Is coaching part of your leadership pipeline?
  • Is coaching or are coaching skills included in leadership and promotion criterion?

Creating a support system to remind, reward, and promote coaching will help individuals to develop it. In addition, offering training, backed up by good examples and further coaching, will help individuals at every level to adopt coaching as part of their mindset. And, when leaders adopt coaching techniques as part of management, they will push that on to their teams.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick