Coaching culture: what does it mean?
A coaching culture means supporting the personal development of every single employee. It's about empowering each team member to better deal with stress and take action toward their workload and well-being. As they learn new skills, the overall productivity, performance, and retention levels rise. On a leadership level, as coaching propels managers to better motivate their teams (and themselves) on a daily basis, a coaching culture starts developing within the company. This means:
- Teams are open to giving and receiving productive feedback
- Improved communication and support amongst team members
- Fostering a supportive environment and open to testing ideas
- Challenging each other with integrity and empathy
Fostering a strong coaching culture can have a deeply positive influence on a company. According to Bersin & Associate study reports, managers with coaching skills increased business performance by 130%. The Association for Talent Development also noticed that 80% of employees reported higher performance at work, more productivity, and improved communication and well-being. But these are not all the benefits a strong coaching culture can bring to your organization.
Coaching has an impact in a broad range of areas but its measurability is not always clear. Read our guide to learn how to measure the impact of coaching in your organization.
What’s the impact of having a coaching culture?
The impact of a coaching culture is two-folded: on the organizational and individual levels. Company-wise, it drives changes in key areas such as organizational transformation, digitalization, high performance, cultural shifts, and diversity and inclusion. On the people side, a coaching culture supports an employee's full journey within your organization – from onboarding to rejoining after prolonged absences; throughout the full scope of leadership development; adjusting to remote and hybrid work; learning and development opportunities, or even an internal lateral career pivoting.
Furthermore, if followed up correctly with small, achievable steps, the coaching on an individual level should reflect a more robust and happier company culture in general. Not only that, but, when employees are satisfied and productive, we can also expect better products (or services) and stronger customer loyalty. To put numbers behind these claims, a research project by Gallup revealed in 2017, studying management processes in companies that had incorporated a coaching culture, found an:
- Increase in sales (10% to 19%)
- Increase in profit (14% to 29%)
- Higher customer engagement (3% to 7%)
- Increase in engaged employees (9% to 15%)
- Fewer safety incidents (22% to 59%)
In addition to higher engagement levels, productivity, and performance (both for the employee and the business sides), a coaching culture will also reflect in:
- Stronger relationships
- Better conflict-resolution skills
- Motivation and resilience levels in general
- Increase in employee retention
Key steps to building a coaching culture
1. Establish measurable goals
Building a strong, long-lasting coaching culture takes effort and coaching shouldn’t be perceived as a buzzwordy program, brought in if and only there’s remaining budget, or without a strategy in place. To ensure that the changes are measurable, it's crucial to clearly define the expected outcomes (for instance, through OKRs). Your organization needs an action plan, otherwise the results might be harder – if not too subjective – to recognize. And don’t forget that tailored follow-ups are necessary to see continuous improvement.
2. Make it about your employees
As mentioned, in order to succeed, your company’s coaching culture must be all about your workforce. To get them excited about coaching, lead by example. This is how managers can inspire their team to understand how much value coaching can provide them. On the other hand, employees are also welcome to show managers how their team performance has increased or how their leadership skills have improved. Coaching is a top-bottom, bottom-up experience. Everyone has something to learn from it.
3. Customize the coaching experience
The logic is simple: to allow every person to explore their individual strengths, weaknesses, and challenges, thus gaining the most from each session. The more personalized the coaching, the more meaningful and impactful are the results. Focusing on each individual's needs and executing micro tasks that are personal to each employee, leads to more accountability (not to mention a positive impact on mental health), individual growth and a higher impact on the organization as a whole.
4. Keep it accessible and available
The perfect method for achieving this step is via digital coaching, since it generates real-time insights that can be followed-up on accomplished goals and overall progress. Digital coaching:
- Allows employees to access coaches anywhere and anytime
- Provides the coaching experience to everyone easily
- Scales the coaching program to more than just leadership
- Builds stronger teams in the long-term
Moreover, as the need for measurability indicates, coaching shouldn't be a one-time training event – it needs day-to-day workflows and small steps. Continued learning brings the best habits, and digital coaching helps each employee to:
- Be more aware of things that are blocking them
- Continue to work in their individual needs
- Contribute to better team performance and higher growth
- Create new habits that influence a long-term change to behavior
By impacting employee's engagement and experiences, coaching leads to practical innovation, better customer experience and, ultimately, revenue growth. Therefore, fostering a great coaching culture will ensure that your organization thrives.