I have spoken previously about the benefits of a coaching culture and how it can potentially transform the way an organisation functions. But what is it that forms the basis of a good coaching culture in an organisation? It always starts with the manager. You cannot nurture a coaching culture if the manager (leader) has not imbibed the values of coaching or doesn’t actively utilise coaching elements when working with her team on a day-to-day basis. If managers have the right mindset towards coaching, then the entire manner in which the organisation functions can transform.
Here are six key characteristics I believe every manager needs to have to enable an organisation to have an exemplary coaching culture.
1. The managers are keen to see their employees do better
A good manager is invested & interested in her own growth and that of her team. A manager must be very keen on seeing that those working under her are doing better today than yesterday. Employees shouldn’t be seen simply fulfilling tasks assigned but instead as full individuals who need to develop both independently and in a team. Managers should be keen to see everyone become the best version of themselves and not look at people merely as ‘resources’ to do certain jobs.
2. They listen, learn, and then act
An essential skill for any manager is listening to employees and learning from feedback. And then acting on it. Here I’d like to bring in the ‘Multiplier Effect’, wherein, for instance, the manager may get feedback from one employee, but when she learns and acts on it, the entire team will feel the impact.
3. They have tolerance for mistakes
A manager who expects 100% correct outcomes for every task cannot even achieve it with the help of a robot! Thus, one of the significant factors in enabling a good coaching culture in an organisation is to have a certain tolerance to let people make mistakes and learn from them. While not condoning the same errors, a certain allowance can be given to make fresh mistakes.
4. They encourage curiosity
In an organisation with a strong coaching culture, employees showcase an attitude of curiosity. So, work is not fully defined by user manuals with detailed processes. A manager doesn’t dictate what every employee will do every minute of the day. The attitude that is usually adopted (or encouraged) by such organisations gives employees the freedom to ask questions and clear their doubts before moving towards action.
5. They understand that coaching is essential for achieving organisational goals
While it may seem like the focus of coaching is to help people get better and become better versions of themselves, the primary reason a coaching culture is encouraged is to move towards achieving the organisation’s goals. When talent does better, the organisational goals will get positively impacted as a result.
6. Every manager is also a coach
When organisations start on this journey of building a coaching culture, there are often external coaches involved in the process, and some people are also trained to coach internally. But in a steady-state, ideally, every manager should also function as a coach. Of course, in specific scenarios, they may continue using external coaches, but the managers will be constantly trained to ensure that they act as good coaches for the team. And as the entire organisation gets on to this page, each individual is continually coaching and simultaneously getting coached by others in the organisation. So essentially, every employee is a coach and a coachee.
These are my experiences in organisations with an established coaching culture that have shown superior results. What are your thoughts?
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