In our last blog, we talked about how leaders can significantly expand their leadership toolkits by learning to use a coach approach with their staff. Learning when and how to use a professional coaching approach with your staff has the potential to epically change your leadership experience and the experience of those you lead.
So, what if you want those gains to cascade through the whole organization? Maybe you’re a senior leader with managers reporting to you who have managers reporting to them – and they have managers reporting to them. Or perhaps you’re an HR leader tasked with bringing these wins to the whole organization. Imagine if every tier of managers could see the wins from a coaching culture. We know first-hand that when an organization achieves a coaching culture, a few things happen:
Simply put, organizations with a coaching culture win BIG, achieving unbelievable success in their industry. Not just in terms of profit, but in creating a can-do culture, with a motivated workforce who buy-in to the company, decreased turnover and much stronger succession planning. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Hopefully you’re thinking, “How do I help my organization do that?”
Here are a few tips if you believe in this approach and want to roll it out more broadly:
- Link coaching outcomes to the success of the business. Flesh out for others a bit of a business case around a coach approach. Where have you seen a business succeed when a leader uses a coach approach? Search for examples online and, of course, reach out to us for some examples.
- Acknowledge concerns leaders may have. The concept of coaching and a coach approach can seem daunting to a leader who feels like they’ve managed well to date without having to learn some new leadership technique (old dog, new tricks). It can also feel like a fad for those who don’t know that coaching has been used by the world’s most successful firms for over two decades. And, of course, it can feel “touchy-feely” to those who have grown up in a structured command-and-control environment.
- Coach the senior leaders. Whether you’re starting with the organization’s executive committee to bring a coach approach to the whole company, or you’re starting with your own leadership team to roll it out in your division, start folks on the coaching journey by helping them experience professional coaching in action.
a. One option is to provide a professional coach to individual members of the leadership team so they can work on their own individual goals and see the power of coaching.
b. Another option is team coaching – engaging a professional coach to coach the leadership team together – possibly focusing on coaching the team around “creating culture change” or “developing a coaching culture.”
If you have certified professional coaches within the organization, engage them for option a or b. Be sure that internal coaches work with folks who are not also their “boss.” For example, if you’re starting with your leadership team, don’t coach them yourself (assuming you are a certified coach). If you want them to coach a whole team together, make sure they’re trained and experienced in group and team coaching – it can be more difficult than coaching an individual.
An important thing to remember, whether coaching individual leaders or the whole team, if you’re starting with the organization’s most senior executive committee, always hire external coaches since everyone in the organization ultimately reports to someone on that team.
4. Roll out a solid training program to make it easy for leaders to learn a coach approach. Whether it starts with our COACH Approach workshop, or something else, get started training leaders on the techniques so they can feel confident and know how to start.
5. Recognize and reward coaching behaviours. This probably seems obvious and yet very, very few organizations are good at rewarding behaviours they want to encourage. For example, most organizations want leaders to work collaboratively toward organizational goals. And yet, most organizations reward leaders for the outcomes of the division they lead, not the outcomes of the overall leadership team they’re on. So, reward folks for using good coaching as a leadership tool rather than always being “in control” — reward them for not always being right, for not holding a firm hand on the keel to make sure everyone does things ‘the right way’ (i.e., their way without creativity or exploration of others), for fostering ideas, for managing risks while trying creative new approaches.
Coach’s Questions about Professional Coaching Culture
Who do you think will be enthusiastic about trying a coach approach? Who might be resistant? What will it take to build confidence in a professional coaching approach in Canada and get your leaders and managers to try it?