The key to coaching is to foster a culture of learning

Coaching is essential to the success of any organization. Yet as business cycles accelerate, many struggle to deliver it. As Patrick Brigger, co-founder of knowledge provider getAbstract, explains, the answer is to develop a learning culture

Coaching – both receiving and delivering it – has never been so important. According to the Institute of Coaching, 80% of those who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, while more than 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills. Meanwhile, 86% of companies claim they more than recouped their investment.

Providing coaching to employees helps ensure that everyone performs at their best and that teams work as cohesive units. It can also enhance the leadership and interpersonal skills of business leaders. Once they recognise the value of coaching, they begin to incorporate it into their organisational framework. Empowering your employees to deliver coaching can increase their self-awareness and help them develop a more entrepreneurial mindset. Overall, this can improve the working environment and, ultimately, company performance.

Boosting the self-reliance of staff

Coaching can enhance employees’ self-reliance and their ability to take the initiative. They are more likely to find answers to problems and to solve challenges themselves as they make more of their own decisions. They will feel safe asking questions and expressing their ideas freely in a supportive environment. All of this improves productivity and alignment.

Yet despite the manifold benefits it offers, coaching is often seen as the responsibility of specific individuals. Many of these are senior managers who struggle to find the time in their busy working lives to actually do it. Yet a growing number of organisations are starting to recognise that coaching can be applied across all areas and through all levels of management, from senior executives to middle managers, and from face-to-face teams to remote workers. Whoever delivers it, coaching should be personalised to meet individuals’ needs and reflect their evolving roles and responsibilities.

The key to delivering coaching effectively and reaping its extensive rewards in today’s fast-moving corporate world is to create a learning culture. This means fostering a curiosity-driven environment that supports a growth mindset. Organisations benefit from improved employee engagement and talent retention. Employees, in turn, benefit from development opportunities that can support vertical or lateral growth, as well as the chance to pursue new and relevant skills. Organisations that base coaching on a learning culture adapt better to change, suffer lower staff turnover rates and experience higher employee satisfaction – a particularly important consideration as companies struggle in the current climate to recruit and retain talent.

Lifelong learning

Coaching that is based on a learning culture motivates employees to become lifelong learners who can adapt to change quickly and effectively. This type of learning requires easy access to relevant information and a culture that promotes information sharing. Coaching thereby reinforces a company-wide quest for knowledge. Learners need access to pertinent information at the point and time of need. Online platforms, meanwhile, foster knowledge sharing and collaboration. ‘People are our greatest asset’ is the proud boast of many organisations. Today, with talent in greater demand than ever, organisations that encourage coaching based on shared learning experiences will be best placed to make that aspiration a reality – and to benefit from it.

Coaching and a learning culture

  • Coaching empowers decision-making and problem-solving
  • An accessible, relevant learning tool can help support these skills
  • Coaching supports a leadership pipeline and extends to skills beyond technical and professional capabilities. The can include soft skills, company culture values
  • Coaching doesn’t need to be hierarchical. It can include cross-functional and reverse mentorship

Learn, develop, inspire - the best content on coaching

Book: The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way you Lead Forever by Michael Stanier

Nearly 75% of managers have received training in how to coach their employees, yet 73% of employees never receive coaching and when they do that coaching usually doesn’t help them. Coaching involves much more than just talking to people; it requires posing intelligent questions that inspire employees to talk about their thoughts, their work and their concerns. Michael Bungay Stanier, the first person honoured as Coach of the Year in Canada, uses the construct of seven essential coaching questions to teach managers how to coach effectively.

Podcast: Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead: episode on Reverse Mentorship with Patrice Gordon

What comes to mind when you think of a workplace mentor? It’s probably someone older, with years of managerial experience. But junior employees – particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds – have a lot to teach their supervisors. Leaders, after all, must understand the challenges their employees face before making executive decisions.

In this episode of Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast, Patrice Gordon, a personal development advocate specialising in inclusive leadership, reverse mentoring and women’s development programmes, discusses how to use reverse mentoring to build trust and foster inclusion in an organisation.

Book: Coach the Person, Not the Problem – A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry by Marcia Reynolds

Marcia Reynolds helps coaches and leaders work with clients to create transformative conversations. In this book she promises the key to transformational coaching: being fully present. She teaches readers to focus on individuals rather than their problems to draw out their coaching clients’ true feelings and get to the root of their concerns. Packed with easy-to-grasp tips and case studies, Reynold’s book includes the five techniques of reflective inquiry to help coaches expand their clients’ perspectives and help them gain
the power and confidence to
move forward.

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