The beating heart of any organisation is its culture – the way that underlying assumptions, beliefs, and values shape how people behave and interact with each other. An ICF survey of over 500 of the largest companies in the USA found that companies with a strong and consistent coaching culture tended to have much higher employee engagement and better revenue growth compared to those without a coaching culture. In other words, a coaching culture helps drive organisational performance.
How does having a coaching culture help to drive better organisational performance and higher overall customer satisfaction? Here are seven reasons why the evolution of coaching is now so rapid in the workplace:
- In organisations with a consistent coaching culture, all leaders at every level in the organisation are role models. They are good listeners, show empathy and understanding, are clear on standards and performance expectations, and encourage staff to think for themselves. This develops a high level of colleague trust and personal responsibility, and decision making is made nearer the client/customer interface. This frees up management time and enables front-line staff to respond to customer needs with more speed and agility.
- Coaching cultures are inherently learning cultures, so development and learning are always at the top of the agenda. This gives a focus on developing team and individual skills which means they can be more responsive to market forces, customer feedback, and unforeseen events.
- When individuals and teams are trusted and engaged in their work, they are more prepared to take calculated risks and learn from the experience. This develops an enthusiasm for creativity and innovation for new and improved products and processes and encourages the sharing of new ideas across the organisation.
- In a coaching culture, employees work together collaboratively in an atmosphere of trust and respect where everyone is learning. This leads to more motivated and engaged staff which always translates into more effective relationships.
- Word gets round when a particular organisation is good to work for. Right now, in the post-Covid world, staff recruitment and retention is a big issue. Those organisations which have track record of being ‘good employers’ (which almost always equates to those organisations with a consistent coaching culture) find it easier to recruit and retain staff. This is good for staff morale and makes it easier to build consistent teams.
- Organisations with a consistent coaching culture tend to be far more adaptable and agile due to far more responsive individual and team capabilities. It can flex to meet changes quickly and in a volatile and uncertain world, the capacity for agility is a critical success factor for any successful organisation.
All six factors mentioned above inevitably lead to more effective staff communication, more empowered and responsive staff, and better relationships with colleagues, suppliers, and customers. The power of a coaching culture in the business environment is self-evident when you see it in action.
There’s an old joke about two people hiking in the woods when they disturb a bear who starts to chase them. One of them stops and gets out a pair of running shoes from their rucksack. With the bear closing in on them, the other shouts ‘What are you doing, you can’t outrun that bear!’ to which the other replies ‘I don’t have to, I just need to outrun you!’
A consistent coaching culture is the organisational equivalent of those running shoes. You never know what’s around the next corner, and being smart, agile, and fit for purpose are organisational essentials in a VUCA world. Driving organisational performance effectively can only be done ultimately with the consent, buy-in, and discretionary effort of every employee. Maximising that critical human resource is the key reason why coaching can give you the edge – and the running shoes – over your competitors.