How to build a resilient organization by creating a strong coaching culture
● Understand how coaching can play a role in attracting and retaining talent.
● Use coaching as a tool to address attrition, burnout, and languishing in your workforce.
● Help managers strengthen and model skills and mindsets to improve flourishing.
With so much turmoil in the talent and business landscape, many employers are looking for any competitive edge they can get. Here, coaching can help. Research shows that coaching cultures can help organizations drive an increase in year-on-year growth even if they’re only making minor improvements to their coaching agenda.
In fact, it is coaching cultures that can help businesses withstand uncertainty and equip employees of all seniorities with the skills and behaviors they need to succeed. To understand more, Kate Graham, Head of Content Labs and Insights at UNLEASH is joined by Michaela Schoberova, Worldwide Director, People, Organization and Leadership Development at Colgate-Palmolive, and Alissa Manolescu, Senior People Insights Consultant at BetterUp to talk through everything on this important agenda.
Watch on-demand to:
- Get more insight into the techniques that can empower employees to be resilient.
- Understand more about the role of leaders in modeling successful behaviors and thus driving organizational success.
- Hear about the ROI of coaching cultures.
Building a coaching culture improves individual wellbeing and performance.” – Alissa Manolescu, Senior People Insights Consultant at BetterUp
The what and why of a coaching culture
Graham kicked off the webinar by polling the audience on where attendees thought their organization was regards their coaching culture. Over half said they had a good coaching culture but still over a third haven’t but are keen to get started. Manolescu said this was a good thing as it was obvious that organizations were potentially understanding the benefits a coaching culture can bring.
But, what is a coaching culture? With culture being a general sense of how a workplace operates, a coaching culture, explained Manolescu, is one where good coaching practices — such as deep listening, asking questions, safety, trust, accountability, and feedback — are integrated into the formal and informal processes of an organization, where there is an environment of feedback, and coaching is seen as a valuable practice at all levels.
The reason this might be useful now, said Manolescu, is because ongoing disruption since 2020 (pandemic, technology, economic) is creating more burnout and more uncertainty. Yet, coaching could empower people to better deal with ongoing change. In fact, BetterUp research has shown that coaching cultures can give people better resilience and agility in the face of uncertainty, driving better retention, performance, and engagement, and boosting innovation and financial goals, too. It can also improve individual wellbeing, social connection, cognitive agility, and strategic planning — boosting goal attainment, a sense of purpose and meaning, and resilience along the way.
This all works to drive better overall business performance with high coaching culture organizations, according to that BetterUp research, having a significantly higher year-on-year growth when compared to low coaching culture organizations.
How to move towards a coaching culture
Cultural change can be difficult. Therefore, explained Colgate-Palmolive’s Schoberova, understanding why you want to move towards a coaching culture is important. Colgate-Palmolive’s CHRO spawned the idea of their move towards better coaching, thinking it might improve their performance management enablement processes. It was kept to this area at first, but after a few years, they decided to work to rework their business strategy and reconceptualize what kind of organization they wanted to become: one that was more agile, more inclusive, more wellbeing-centric, and more ready to perform well in modern work. Here, building a coaching culture was seen as a way to ensure all of this was met as well as a way to attract and retain key talent and become more innovative too.
Training managers was seen as central to the success of a new coaching culture. Therefore, Colgate-Palmolive partnered with experts to improve the type of conversations managers have with their reports and to better model what good coaching looks like, understanding it as key as it is managers that have an outsized impact on organizational culture and are the ones on the frontline of employee listening, questioning, and accountability. Understanding that moving to this model can be difficult, Colgate-Palmolive also created learning content to help managers have difficult conversations and also remind them to regularly practice their skills.
Yet, it’s not just the managers they focussed on. They also want to coaching to be between peers and up and down the hierarchy, too. This was part of a focus on ensuring that good coaching behaviors were widely adopted. Connecting to the business strategy and leadership support was seen as key to this adoption, as was continuous communication and engagement on this agenda. This was wrapped up in a wider performance and development scheme, #evenbetter, that was key to ensuring that people were focussed on improving their own skills and performance in a sustainable way. Managers were also given feedback on their coaching skills, too.
Key reminders about coaching culture
There might be blockers: Moving to a coaching culture might involve overcoming some blockers. To overcome these, linking coaching to the business context is key to getting buy-in as is understanding the coaching skills right for you and partnering with the right vendor. With so much happening, it can also be a grind to ensure coaching is focussed on — linking it to other agendas, such as wellbeing, can be useful when doing this.
Understanding what success looks like: Some of the markers of a successful coaching culture can be more qualitative. Are managers asking more questions? Are they listening? However, collecting data from employees about their managers can also help in an understanding if the organization is moving to where it wants to be i.e. becoming more agile or flexible.
Break the HR silo: Understanding that business buy-in and alignment with the business strategy is key to success. A project team that involves HR and business leaders can be useful in ensuring a move toward a coaching culture is a move toward business success. It can also help with getting coaching culture champions.
Be patient: Because a move towards a coaching culture can be difficult — it is cultural change after all — understanding it is a long-term benefit is key. It can take years to get right and thus just getting started and an iterable approach is a key to success. Role modeling from leaders can also be useful.
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