September 24, 2020

It’s time to build a culture of coaching at your company.

This year has sent us back to the drawing board on many things. Working from home while working tirelessly to keep our organizations afloat and moving forward, all amid several global crises, has forced us to rethink how we will define company culture and connectedness toward a more just future. 

This time of upheaval is inevitably turning the soil, creating the right conditions for lasting change if we can focus on our visions for the future. When we harness the power of this global moment, pay attention to the friction we’re experiencing and try something new—that’s when we’re actively evolving as people, as an organization, and as a world of work.

The time has never been better for companies to create a culture of coaching.

What is a “culture of coaching”? 

Coaching was once reserved for a company’s top executives, particularly when they were over-stretched or underperforming. For this reason, it was often done in secret, shrouded in shame. Over the last few years, HR as an industry has witnessed an encouraging shift in the attitude toward coaching, with a noticeable appetite for professional development from employees at every level. Managers and People leaders of all sorts are starting to focus on how they can coach their teams and demonstrate what coaching at every level can achieve. 

The changing understanding of what coaching is and who it’s for has been paralleled by the shifting definition of a manager’s role from authoritative to collaborative. In the new paradigm, managers see their role as similar to that of a coach: supporting development, providing actionable feedback, and helping their people to expand their own value to their organizations. 

In a culture of coaching, managers understand that they’re partners in the development of their direct reports.

[Read more: Coaching 101]

Such a culture supports a high-feedback environment, where a team is empowered and equipped to sharpen each other’s skills and bring more fresh ideas to the table. When colleagues get comfortable giving and receiving feedback, showing each other new, better ways of accomplishing their tasks and goals, the entire team benefits. 

A culture of coaching: 

  • Cultivates trust and camaraderie among your people 
  • Strengthens the individual, which strengthens your team, which strengthens your organization 
  • Decentralizes power 
  • Unlocks the potential of your people 
  • Adds diversity to the thought-pool of any brainstorm session 
  • Supports psychological safety 
  • Enables and empowers employees 

[Read more: How to know when your people don’t feel psychologically safe]

How do we implement a culture of coaching? 

A coach doesn’t give direct advice; instead, they guide you to your own best solution by asking the right questions. In that spirit, here are the questions to ask yourself in each phase of developing a culture of coaching. 

ASSESS where your team is today. 

  • How does coaching show itself in your culture as it is today? 
  • What are your dreams for the future? 
  • What are the obstacles in the way of that future? 
  • Does your team have the skills they need to coach each other? If not, where are the gaps? 
  • Is there psychological safety in place for coaching to be well-received? 

ALIGN with your team on a vision for the future. 

  • What can you tell your team about the benefits of a coaching culture at your company? What about the potential challenges and pitfalls in introducing a new way of thinking and working?
  • What change is your team eager and ready to make? 
  • Do you have a budget for external support? 

STRATEGIZE your approach and make adjustments.

  • Do your research and compare different coaching frameworks to determine what might work best for your team.
  • How will you roll out this new approach to your team in a way that gets everyone on board quickly? 
  • What role can external coaching play? 
  • Do you have the tools in place for effective communication? 

Embracing a culture of coaching centers your organization around the learner. A culture of coaching is the next organic step from building a culture of high feedback and fosters honesty, authenticity, and more connection among your team members. If we can share our knowledge with each other and invest in the success of the individual (and therefore the team), we are unstoppable.

[Read more: Your peer relationships at work can withstand tough feedback.]

Bravely provides access to professional, on-demand coaching to every employee across your organization, powered by our incredible and diverse team of coaches. External coaching is a powerful way to introduce coaching principles and a learning mindset to your internal practices.

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