Based on the work of Peter Hawkins in his book, Creating a
Coaching Culture, there are six steps to move towards embedding a
coaching culture in an organization.
Step 1: Create a coaching strategy aligned to the business
goals and wider organizational culture change. This is important
since defining what the end results are for each coaching
engagement needs to be aligned with the wider organizational key
performance indicators (KPI’s) and goals. Otherwise, the coaching
program will not gain traction in the organization.
Step 2: Gain the buy-in of the organization’s leaders to
actively support coaching. Coaching is not counselling and it is
different than performance management. Organizational leaders
need to experience working with a certified coach to understand
the insights that can be gleaned and how coaching works to motivate
performance. Coaches need to be trained, carefully selected
and matched with their coachees. There are many unqualified
coaches in the market that do not follow a proven coaching
method, so the selection process needs to be rigorous.
Step 3: Develop an effective bench of external and internal
coaches. There are benefits to using a blend of external and
internal coaches. The external coaches have no political internal
interests and can create a safe environment, while internal coaches
better understand the internal environment, culture and key internal
Step 4: Shift coaching to become the predominant management
style. As senior leaders become comfortable with coaching
and it is embedded into the culture, coaching will naturally become
how management leads and motivates the team.
Step 5: Embed coaching in HR and performance management
processes. With organizations moving away from the
traditional formal performance reviews in favour of real-time
feedback, it is a natural progression to emphasize coaching as a
development tool. Coaching can also be embedded into other HR
programs such as recruitment and selection, conflict resolution,
succession planning and career transition support, for example.
Step 6: Measure results and collect team evaluation feedback
at each step of the coaching culture journey. It is important
to measure the results delivered by a coaching program. This
often involves 360-degree feedback both before and after the
coaching engagement to track the coachee’s behaviour and competency
improvements. For external coaches, the value the coach
is delivering can be measured by having the coachee and other key
stakeholders (e.g. CHRO, CEO, direct supervisor) complete an
evaluation at the mid-point of the coaching engagement and after
the final coaching session. Similarly, certain organizational KPI’s
should improve as well, including a reduced turnover rate, a higher
engagement rate and a greater per cent of high potentials.
By starting with a Coaching Pilot Project, an organization can
introduce coaching and gain buy-in and understanding of how the
process works. The process is similar to how a professional athlete
works with a sports psychologist to build mental resilience
and change thinking patterns. Business professionals can equally
benefit from coaching to deal with change and create new thinking
patterns to propel them to take positive action, optimize their
interpersonal skills and increase self-awareness.
Our thinking patterns create neural circuits in the brain. The
more sustained one’s focus is on something, the more hardwired
that habit or mental interpretation will become. Jeffrey M.
Schwartz coined the term “self-directed neuroplasticity.” Many
people falsely believe that once a person reaches a certain age they
cannot change their thinking patterns to radically change behaviours.
With neuroplasticity, fortunately, this is not the case. The
existing roads or neural pathways will still be there, and a new
pathway can be created and strengthened into a habit with practice.
This new pathway operates as a type of neural shortcut to
build a new thinking pattern in the brain and drive more productive
behaviours based on new beliefs. The challenge is without a
coach asking you the right questions to glean insights, the rate of
development is much slower.
One of Shopify’s co-founders, Daniel Weinand sums up the
value Shopify has experienced with coaching: “I met my coach
at a time when I didn’t think I needed coaching at all. My team
was doing well, and I was regarded as a good manager. Little did
I know that working with a coach can catapult your capacities to
new levels; ones you didn’t know existed before. After this experience
I was convinced that we needed to bring coaches in-house to
aid the team with their development.” n
Susan Power is the owner and CEO of Power HR Inc.
Coaches can help emerging leaders with leadership
development, career planning and setting strategies
to reach their personal and professional goals
AN EFFECTIVE COACH
AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
34 ❚ APRIL 2019 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL