Building a Coaching Culture

By Ganpy

How can leaders help build an effective coaching culture?

“The amount of time that people waste on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. I have fun running the Virgin businesses, so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”
– Sir Richard Branson.

In an earlier article, we talked about the hidden powers of corporate coaching. In this article, we are going to talk a little about how to go about building a coaching culture in your organization.

    What exactly is a coaching culture?

A coaching culture means creating an environment where you provide not only opportunities but also actively support your employees to learn new skills, thereby enabling them to become greater assets to the company. It also means such an organization emphasizes on its management why training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth for its employees creates a more engaged and a more energized workforce.

Developing a coaching culture is not just about having a performance coaching resource available within the organization for a specific period of time. It is one of the more significant investment decisions that need to be made to build a sustainable coaching infrastructure.

    What does coaching culture enable you to do?

A well developed corporate coaching culture allows employees to:

1) Take responsibility for their own actions
2) Take risks and contribute their own creative ideas
3) Treat mistakes and setbacks as valuable learning experiences
4 Speak up, challenge and express conflicting views
5) Offer constructive and motivating feedback
6) Feel appreciated and that their contribution matters
7) Raise motivation and performance to achieve better results
8) Form cohesive and high achieving teams

    How do you go about building a coaching culture?

A coaching culture is a collective representation of the behavior of the employees in your organization, behavior which is driven by each individual’s beliefs, values, motivations, ethics, objectives and aspirations. However, as we all know, changing those influencing factors to drive new behaviors can take time. It is also a challenge to decide whether to invest in developing an internal stable of coaches or whether to invest in external coaches or whether a mix is the most appropriate.

If you are deciding to develop an internal stable of coaches, then consideration must be given to who is eligible to apply and how would the successful applicants be selected. This must be based upon the individual’s passion for coaching and not necessarily as the individual’s next development opportunity. It is not recommended to take a hierarchical approach and start at the top and work your way down through the organization for coaching. Also if internal coaches are being developed, then consideration must be given to the hierarchical perceptions e.g. could a professional trained coach who happens to be in a lower position (hierarchically) in the organization, reasonably coach someone in a higher position?

There will be issues around boundaries if the coaches are entirely from an in-house stable. That is where organizations can often find entering a partnership with another organization or a group of organizations can be useful so that coaches can be swapped into the other organizations. The practicalities of having an internal coaching stable also surround the availability and time off requirements to allow coaches to prepare and undertake their coaching in the right environment.

1. Lead By Example

Start with You, the Leader.
Engage a coach for yourself. Find someone who delivers exactly what you are hoping to provide for your team. If you achieve the desired results, then share your experiences with your team.

2. Ask the Right Questions

A coaching culture encourages employees to learn from their experience by exploring the right questions rather than telling them what to do and how to do it. Next time an employee has a challenge ask them open-ended questions that begin with “how” or “what.” For instance, “What would you have done differently? and “How can I support you?” This way you empower employees to come up with meaningful solutions. – Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC, MGC Coaching

3. Start at the Top

Start by teaching senior leaders a few coaching basics — listening, asking questions, encouraging others to reflect and develop insights before taking action. Then guide them to coach their most respected team members. As these “influencers” gain traction from beingcoached, they will be open to learning and modeling the same coaching behaviors. Over time, a coaching culture will emerge. – Carolyn Esposito, Talent Pathways, Inc.

4. Just Do It

Coaching is a way of being, and as such, you can’t simply integrate it. You just have to understand what it is and do it. It’s not the same as adding carrots to your stew. So the key is to educate teams about what coaching is and then have them do it — coach each other. Have a weekly group coaching session with a coach to help answer questions and demonstrate. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC

5. Build A Coaching Routine

You can’t be a runner without putting in weekly miles, and you can’t have a coaching culture without a coaching routine. One high-performing sales manager at Salesforce creates a coaching culture by allocating an entire day each week to coaching. On Tuesdays her 10+ direct reports get 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching — time completely dedicated to their developmental needs. – Taylor Jacobson, TeamPossible: Achieve more of what matters

6. Make Managers Accountable For Developing Employees

Create a coaching culture by tying this activity to the company’s mission, and hold every manager accountable for coaching employees to help them master their jobs and learn new skills. Create a structured process with clear goals for coaching employees. Be sure to make time and resources available to guarantee success. Reward managers who meet or exceed these goals and reevaluate those who don’t. – Barbara Safani, Career Solvers

You may agree by now how much employee engagement is directly related to employee motivation. And what kind of critical role coaching plays in increasing your employee motivation.

So, if you haven’t done it yet, as a leader, it’s perhaps time for you to start putting together a plan for building a coaching culture for your organization.

You may already be behind the curve…

The Hidden Powers Of Coaching

By Ganpy

Corporate Coaching is highly under utilized. Why is it important?


If you look around, you will see how the role of coaches is very well understood in the world of sports. Athletes recognize the significance of the roles played by their coaches at various stages of their careers. A great coach is needed in order to help you reach your maximum potential, no matter which sport you are in. And in the process, the athlete not only strives to reach his/her maximum potential but also gains self-confidence and ends up improving overall performance.

But when it comes to the corporate world, why is it hard for us to find similar examples of organizations having come to similar realizations? There are some companies that have understood the value of coaching, but even where the value of coaching is understood, it is often provided only at certain levels. Executive coaching and Leadership coaching are the two most commonly invested coaching functions in corporations. However, this is a flawed understanding of the role of coaches in the corporate world.

Coaching is essentially a conversation or exchange of thoughts/ideas, structured in a formal way in order to focus on what really matters to the employee and to the employee’s relevance to the organization. This is why coaching should happen at all levels, and not just at the executive or leadership levels. Coaching is supposed to get down to the deep end of the problem, i.e. to the core of the issue.

Coaching sessions can be built in many ways:

1) Manager -> Employee
2) Peer -> Peer
3) Peer -> Peer (across departments)
4) External -> CEO

Coaching programs should be well structured and scheduled. In many ways, Coaching can be considered a new way of employee training, but with an individual focus.

Unlike the executive coaching sessions, which were originally designed to deliver specific measurable results through specific targets and goals, it is important to note that corporate coaching has been shown to have a much bigger ROI than the regular corporate training.

What Is Corporate Coaching?

Corporate coaching is not a form of classroom learning like typical training programs. Corporate coaching is motivational, and it strives to inspire employees to reach specific goals. This type of coaching focuses on the individual, their happiness, and what they can do to help the company be successful.

A good corporate coaching session teaches employees to maximize productivity (hence profits), without being too forceful on any other people who may work with them. An ideal structure of corporate coaching results in top-down absorption. When it works from the top-level, it changes the way an organization operates. Once executive leaders of the organization start acting differently, then the changes from the top work their way down. Needless to say, this results in organization changes.

What Corporate Coaching Is Not

Corporate coaching is not life coaching, however close it may sound like. Corporate coaching teaches strategies and tactics geared towards tangible improvements/goals. Since every organization is different, the coaching structure is never set in stone. Corporate coaching methods are not a one size fits all solution for problems. Everyone is different, and so are the answers to the problems each organization tries to solve.

Why Executive Coaching is important?

Corporate coaches help executives reach high levels of excellence. And typically the coaches for executives are external coaches. The most effective way of coaching starts from the top and it should work its way down, for transformation to start from the top and migrate to the bottom. Corporate coaching can transform an organization’s performance by strengthening executive talent. Improving executive talent improves performance by enhancing leadership strengths that coincide with business goals.

Team Development

Best successes are attained when team development starts from within – inside out. Corporate coaches believe that members of a team intrinsically know the problems a team is facing, and hence they often are the best suited to offer solutions and ideas.

A corporate coach tries to bring these problems to light by encouraging team members to speak up about problems and creating a safe environment where differences can be discussed. These can be achieved through various means. Personal meetings, workshops, seminars, webinars, online tools, etc. Corporate coaches design and administer surveys/feedback lists to analyze team data for strengths and weaknesses to identify where developments need to happen. A corporate coach will teach leadership, corporate culture, communication and working relationship management.

As it is hopefully clear by now, corporate coaching has always remained important, but it’s just that more and more people are beginning to identify with it and understand the significance of it, of late.

We will talk in detail about how to go about building a strong and an effective coaching culture in another blog post.