How to create a coaching culture in your workplace

How to create a coaching culture in your workplace



What model of communication is built around empowering, encouraging, and enabling people, and at the same time holds them accountable for what they are responsible for?

What type of relationship allows those involved to check, reflect and adjust for the best way to go forward, at the same time allowing them to feel heard and important? A coaching relationship.

The coaching conversation is designed to challenge and provoke people to achieve more. Known as a “fierce” conversation because it cuts through the story–telling, the excuse–giving, and the game–playing, coaching gets right to the heart of the matter very quickly. The coach does this by “reading” a person’s context, exploring their beliefs and understandings, and challenging their interpretations and assumptions.

Whether the issue is big and important like negotiating a merger, or small and personal like dealing with staff who gossip, coaching is becoming the preferred way to lead and manage because of its collaborative and cooperative style; tough yet nurturing, ruthless yet compassionate.

The more we experience the gap between perspective, gender and generation, the wider the divide becomes between expectations, values and objectives. Coaching as a means to engage, connect, and reconcile is the most effective way to communicate for desired outcomes.

While training is about imparting knowledge, coaching is about taking that knowledge from the mind and putting it into our muscle. It is about connecting knowing to doing and about transforming doing to being. The real significance is seen when ordinary people achieve extraordinary results.

We have every reason to practise this type of communication in our workplace. To grow a coaching culture, we first need to teach the communication elements that make up the coaching conversation: listening, being present, being supportive, asking specific and relevant questions that address the cause of the issue, not the symptoms, facilitating resourcefulness, giving feedback that is designed to improve performance, and most importantly, encouraging truthfulness by creating an environment of openness, safety, and trust.

Modeling this culture requires a recipe and a unique skill that enables us to take a pattern that works and teach it to many without losing any quality in translation. They say, what we cannot measure, we cannot manage. For this purpose, we need a set of standards. We need a tried-and-tested coaching and mentoring programme with an established track record, one that delivers and will continue to deliver the desired outcome. The Neuro-Semantic System is one such standard.

Coaching is a structured conversation that involves goal-setting, project design, and project management. Think Tiger Woods. His coach has “altitude” over the game by watching Woods play. He understands Woods’ motivations, and by optimizing his resourcefulness, the coach can drive his best game.

Taking this “above and beyond” position enables checks on how we relate to ourselves (emotion, sense of limitation, ownership), how we relate to others (comparison, competition), and how our values translate to our ethos or personal style (Woods obviously failed here).

Perhaps you’ve been in conversations where leaders talk and tell. Remember what your level of engagement was then? Somewhere in your career you may have felt bypassed and unappreciated. Because there wasn’t a clear set of standards, it seemed as though you were unfairly evaluated. Imagine working in a company where managers keep secrets from each other, and people feel it’s “every man for himself”. You’d be excused for thinking those aren’t places high achievers come from.

Those who are really interested in growing champions know that certain prerequisites are necessary to build a coaching culture in your workplace where people are primed for growth:

1 Create an environment where people feel engaged and involved.

2 Create an environment where a sense of fairness and mutuality prevails.

3 Believe that people have what it takes to accomplish their highest and best.

4 Design a support structure that enables continuous breakthrough. Greatness comes from owning our failures, not trying to show others, “we’ve got it all figured out”.

5 Practice a communication style couched in appreciation and mutual respect.

6 Offer an environment where the motive for financial reward is through expressing oneself and finding our deepest meanings.

You know the tagline, “People first, performance now”? Well, while training is a function of process, coaching is about putting people first. Coaching speaks to the “gap” between our core values, passion and self-interest, self-responsibility and accountability in a way that reveals our potential to ourselves.


Source:, Saturday June 8, 2013