The Benefits Of A Coaching Culture: If I asked you today to give us a quick estimate of the 3 E’s, Engagement, Enthusiasm and Empowerment, what percentage of your staff would you cite as being over 80% on all 3? If you are thinking that you might not get near the 50% mark with the majority of your staff you are not alone – many organisations are struggling with these areas; and for a very important reason.
In today’s fast moving, competitive world organisations are constantly searching for ways to improve productivity and grow their business. For the majority of them, top of the wish list is having an engaged workforce – nowadays it is only a handful of companies that have not woken up to the need for empowerment and the benefits it creates. There is a big recognition that the 20th Century model of “business as usual, push for greater efficiency, centralised direction and a management of command and control” will not achieve the required growth. We are faced with many challenges in our businesses, new technology, digital strategies, and loss of resources due to one of the worst recessions the UK have ever seen, more demanding customers who have more choice of suppliers and the need for sustainability. All of these things require a work force who care, are creative, take responsibility and are prepared to challenge the status quo – which is why a coaching culture is important. We cannot simply tell people to be empowered and creative (although many have tried – with interesting results!) We need to create a culture which allows, encourages and rewards these behaviours, but most importantly organisations need to demonstrate that they truly live and breathe these values.
The model below demonstrates some of the critical components of empowerment – and as you can see, none of these are achieved by telling or directing staff.
The Institute of Leadership and Management published the results of their survey on Coaching Culture Strategy in May 2011 with some startling facts; they discovered that whilst most companies use coaching as a development tool only 52% of organisations make coaching available to all of their staff – imagine the increase in benefits to organisations who do make coaching available to all of their staff. The broad consensus in the report on the benefits of coaching were that 95% saw direct benefits to the organisation and 96% saw benefits to the individual. Now this was simply the results from direct coaching from either an external or an internal resource, so imagine the impact on an organisation where there is a broader implementation of a coaching culture including interventions such as action learning sets, knowledge management, fast track on-boarding and other coaching initiatives. Interestingly the survey found that most people still view coaching as a tool for correcting poor performance as opposed to “stretch” development, so the benefits of attaching coaching to talent management programmes remains unreported but we can assume that this would have a significant impact on the growth of an organisation.
But what exactly is a coaching culture? There are many definitions of coaching culture but below is the definition we use in our book How to Create a Coaching Culture which will be published by Kogan Page in June.
“A coaching culture is one where people are empowered and where coaching happens at every level. And, not only does it happen at every level, but it adds to bottom line performance. It is the recognised development tool that touches every part of the employee lifecycle.”
So when we are talking about a coaching culture strategy, in essence we are talking about the vehicle to empowerment. Current research shows the importance of autonomy, mastery and purpose and these factors are the foundation blocks of empowerment. Everything changes when organisations start to embed a coaching culture. It provides tools and strategies that will ensure that managers have truly engaged with the philosophy of managing through a coaching style. People are more motivated, retention improves, performance is enhanced, results improve and as an indirect result, direct costs, such as training, can be reduced.