Coaching has become an important tool used to motivate and empower individuals to accomplish their goals and to provide continued career growth. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Many organizations have recognized the benefits of coaching and have begun implementing a coaching culture. So, what exactly is a coaching culture?

A coaching culture exists when an organization understands, appreciates and embraces a coaching approach as a key aspect of its leadership and development strategy. Leaders, managers and employees use coaching skills and techniques to motivate and accelerate growth, creating a supportive high-performance environment.

A coaching culture supports and empowers employees to learn and grow in a safe place, thus creating psychological safety, which in turn improves productivity and performance and helps with employee retention.

Leaders that demonstrate high emotional intelligence (EQ) skills inspire and motivate their employees. With this, the employee displays a high discretionary effort toward their leader. Discretionary effort is a term used in connection with employee engagement; highly engaged employees tend to contribute high discretionary effort. They tend to routinely give more than the minimum required by the job; they go the extra mile.

To demonstrate this concept, think about a good leader that had a very positive impact on your career. How did you typically feel when you were around this person? This is the impact they had on you. Now think about a bad leader you have encountered in your career, someone who was particularly difficult or challenging. How did you typically feel when you were around that person? What discretionary effort did you have for each leader? The impact each leader had on you more than likely determined how motivated you were to work for this person and stay at that organization.

The way we impact someone emotionally is not a fleeting thing. That impact can last a lifetime, and that is how reputations are built – for better or worse. We all get to choose what our reputation or legacy will be: Each one of us gets to choose how we show up.

A 4-step Framework

Organizations that adopt a successful coaching culture show up for their employees, and their employees have a strong sense of loyalty to the company as a result. Consider this four-step framework for creating a coaching culture in your organization:

Step 1.) Start at the Top

Creating a coaching culture starts at the top with the C-suite. Senior leaders can collaborate and create a vision for the company around what is needed to create a culture shift and how to maintain it once established. Further, when senior leaders experience coaching first hand, not only do they reap the benefits themselves and understand it better, they also showcase their dedication and coaching’s importance to the rest of the staff.

Step 2.) Trickle Down

After senior leaders have established what culture shift is needed, mid-level leaders take the ball. Directors and managers are involved in the day-to-day activities and have a true pulse of what is working and not working within the organization. With the support of the senior leaders, mid-level executives can unlock their creativity through coaching and discover the most effective ways to start implementing the needed changes and improvements.

Mid-level leaders can then identify high-performing individual contributors that would be great candidates for coaching to help them grow their careers and get on the path to leadership.

Step 3.) Implement a Coaching Model

As leaders and individuals experience coaching, they can begin implementing certain practices one-on-one meetings, team meetings and performance conversations, including:

  • Asking questions.
  • Practicing active listening.
  • Giving and receiving feedback.
  • Creating goals and action plans.

Step 4.) Establish Accountability

Once goals and actions plans have been formulated, create fun and thoughtful ways to assist each person in working towards these goals. Is there an employee recognition program in place at your organization? Establishing one fosters an environment of appreciation and recognition. Find out what motivates your employees and reward them. When teams work together and support each other with their goals, not only are they building a coaching culture, but they are also building stronger, more resilient teams.

Often, organizations with coaching cultures in place experience:

  • Increased productivity.
  • Reduction of employee attrition.
  • Increased employee engagement.
  • Revenue growth.
  • Strong belonging and inclusive environment.
  • Creation of a pipeline of great leaders.

Creating a coaching culture does not happen overnight; it takes time and dedication. When each leader in the organization is dedicated and committed to building a positive, strong, and trustworthy coaching culture, stronger relationships will evolve. Maintaining a coaching culture will continue to produce strong, empowered, and successful leaders, who in turn strengthen and empower the organization to continue to grow and prosper.

If you are ready to transform your organization for the better, consider adopting this four-step framework to invest in your current and future leaders through coaching.