Introducing a coaching culture

In a previous entry, this blog explored the many benefits introducing a coaching culture can bring to an organization. After your organization has decided on the need for change, and appointed a "change leader" in charge of getting team members to subscribe to the value of coaching, the next step is to clearly define roles and determine who will give and receive coaching, and when.

Depending on the nature of your organization, external coaches, such as program management consultants, can be beneficial. These external experts often have significant industry experience and knowledge of the techniques and habits of top-performing professionals in the field. They can bring important outside perspective and help identify leadership candidates that may have been overlooked because of a lack of internal coordination. However, these professionals can often lack in-depth knowledge of the company's existing culture. While this may be not be a major issue for companies looking to pursue organizational change management, for those that want retain existing core values, a mix of internal and external coaches is probably the best solution. 

Internal coaches are cost-effective and have significant knowledge of the organization's culture and processes, but often lack coaching experience. This can hold back change efforts, especially if internal leaders are themselves resistant to the new direction of the company. Training internal coaches before arranging the internal coaching structure can help avoid problems down the road. Coaches need to allowed the resources necessary to be set up for success, and an opportunity to build the characteristics key in effective coaching, namely empathy and other relationship-building skills.

Coaches should also meet regularly to discuss their progress and most effective techniques. Coaches can offer one another guidance and support, as well as opportunities to practice innovative techniques. This helps to develop two-way feedback, so that both coaches and their charges are continually improving.

The next step is to determine a coaching "schedule," or when coaching is expected to take place. Managers and other internal coaches can seize opportunities to engage with their teams members on a daily basis, but in some cases, a more formal arrangement is effective to ensure that both parties are invested.  Depending what the situation at your organization dictates, coaching sessions can be arranged on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. The important element is that coaching takes place regularly, so it has an opportunity to be engrained in the culture, and that both coaches and their employees have an opportunity to look forward to and consider topics for their next session.

Changing organization culture requires the dedication of leadership and sufficient time and resources. However, having a culture that celebrates development and inspires team members to consistently improve their performance will soon begin delivering its own benefits. Change management consulting can be a key in getting both employees and management to buy into the advantages of change, and reduce resistance that could hamper progress.