A Coaching Culture Matters & Here’s Why

In 2020, the evidence is clear that coaching positively impacts the workplace. When coaching is embedded in the organization it is a game changer that shifts the way managers and leaders work together and develop others.

Why build a coaching culture?

Coaching improves performance, increases retention, creates higher levels of engagement and provides tools and proven processes for developing leaders both in-the-moment and in the longer-term coaching engagement.

According to Korn Ferry’s 2017 Talent Forecast survey, the number one reason why great candidates chose a company is because of the culture. Culture is molded by the practices and modeling of the leaders inside the organization and a coaching approach to leadership development cultivates a culture where great leaders want to work.

In the HCI – ICF 2014 Study on Coaching Cultures, of those organizations self-described with successful coaching cultures “nearly two-thirds rate their organizations as being ‘highly engaged,’ compared to only about half for organizations without strong coaching cultures. In terms of financial impact, 60% of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures report their 2013 revenue to be above their peer group, compared to 41% from all other companies. Based on these results, it becomes clear that coaching is more than just a way to increase employees’ skills and competencies; it can have a long-lasting systemic impact on an organization’s ability to retain talent and on its financial sustainability.

What is a coaching culture?

Culture shapes behaviors inside the organization and a coaching culture is one deliberately focused on growing and nurturing talent in order to deliver key results, strengthen leadership capacities, increase retention and deepen engagement. A culture that has cultivated a coaching approach to development often demonstrates the following characteristics:

  • Giving and receiving feedback in the service of being at one’s best
  • Focusing on opportunities to help members of one’s team grow
  • Operating in teams with clear goals and roles
  • Developing others when it matters most
  • Asking and empowering more than telling and fixing
When coaching is embedded through all levels of an organization it creates a culture of employees who work and lead together with a common goal of building a best-in-class organization.

How does a coaching culture evolve?

Every organization will find a unique path to building out a culture that emphasizes a coaching approach. For some, it begins with using a few external executive coaches to work with specific leaders where high-stakes issues are at hand. In others, a single sponsor will instill coaching at the managerial level or others build out a small internal cadre of coaches to provide short-term coaching opportunities for mid-level leaders. As the impact of coaching is evidenced, organizations begin to develop a coordinated strategy across business units.

Ideally, a culture that fosters a coaching approach to developing people will utilize coaching at all levels of the organization— from the early manager to the senior leader. The spokes of the wheel of a strong coaching culture include a traditional, external cadre of coaches for predominantly C-Suite leaders, internal coach cadres for mid- to senior-level leaders, Spot Coaching skills for managers—and a coaching mindset that permeates the entire organization.

About Author
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Hudson Institute of Coaching

One of the early leaders in the field of coaching, Hudson Institute of Coaching has been providing developmentally based coach training for leaders for more than 30 years. We set the standard for experiential learning programs that lead organizations and people to reach for their best as leaders and human beings in our global world.