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Building a Coaching Culture in the Workplace

How we define ‘coaching’ makes all the difference to how we interpret the definition of a coaching culture. Primarily this is because different definitions of a coaching culture may focus on different aspects of whatever we define as ‘coaching’.

Building a Coaching Culture

Under most definitions,  a ‘coaching culture’ is generally said to be present when all members of an organisation are able to engage in candid and respectful coaching conversations about how they can improve their working relationships encompassing both individual and collective workplace performance. When the coaching culture is present, everyone in the organisation strives to effectively use feedback as a learning tool to enhance personal and professional development, build high-trust working relationships, and continually improve job performance.

WhyteCo recently conducted research into the coaching culture present in the Australian workforce. The results of their research found:

  • It is not sufficient to coach senior executives alone
  • Enhancing the quality of dialogue within an organisation is a key enabler of cultural change
  • Skills training alone doesn’t lead to the emergence of a coaching culture
  • Pre-planned, linear approaches to culture change and skills training are unlikely to succeed
  • A purpose for the program must be agreed that clearly relates to the strategy of the organisation

It is no surprise to learn that any change intervention within an organisation will be more likely to succeed if it is able to engage its employees in the process from the onset. If leaders and managers are able to show what coaching can do, this will allow employees to buy into the process and help initiate a coaching culture which will permeate throughout the organisation.  With every change initiative, it is also important for the change managers to track, and of course, celebrate successes with the team.

Effective coaching can help to create more empowered staff, which will in turn lead to better communication, enhanced performances and increased productivity. The process of coaching, when learned by teams, creates more equal, high-trust relationships that shift beyond traditional dynamics, and moves people toward a more collaborative working relationship.

About the Author: Fiona Lang

Fiona Lang
Fiona Lang is an experienced human resources consultant, line manager and financial controller. She has designed and delivered feedback, training and development programs for organisations in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. She has worked across Australia in management positions for ANZ bank, Citibank and the National Australia Bank Group. She holds a B.A. (Psychology) and Dip.FP.

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