Creating a Coaching Culture within your business has transformational power.

Gone are the days where the traditional ‘command and control’ leadership style is king. We’re starting to realise that applying a servant leadership approach where we lead with empathy and create autonomy for our people and teams is where the magic truly lies.

And it’s not just great for your people, it’s great for you as a Business Owner too. Fostering such an environment within your business will transform the way your people show up, engage and perform. Happy employees leads to better performance, which means better profits and results.

The world of work as we know is changing, and as a result the expectations of employees has changed too. No one wants to work in an environment where they turn up, get told what to do and are micromanaged within an inch of their lives. They want to be asked their opinion, be treated like an adult, and be empowered to do purposeful work that makes a difference.

Employers that don’t address these needs will notice their people become demotivated, disengaged, and ultimately leave. They’ll have no chance of recruiting top talent, and anyone that does come into the business won’t stay long. This costs significant time, money and not to mention heartache and headache on both sides.

There is a better way to do things.

So, what exactly is a Coaching Culture? In essence, a Coaching Culture is ‘a place where authentic leaders and managers help people to grow, thrive and perform through effective conversations and honest feedback underpinned by trust’ (source: CoachingCulture.com).

There’s a lot of great stuff in there, so let’s unpick it to understand the things we must do to embed this new way of working.

Here’s our Top 10 things you can do to create a Coaching Culture within your business:

1.    Create a ‘growth mindset’ environment

Having a growth mindset means you believe that your abilities can be developed; you see failures as opportunities for growth; you take on new challenges and persist when obstacles arise, and you actively seek ways in which you can expand your knowledge and skills. This takes dedication, effort and continuous learning, but the pay-off’s within a business are huge as people are more resilient, open-minded and constantly learning.

2.    Appreciate differences

Human beings are complicated things. We all have different beliefs, motivations, strengths and development areas. Instead of trying to make everyone in your business act the same way, take time to get to know them so you become aware of what makes them unique . Celebrate the diversity that this brings to your operation and this will forge greater trust amongst the team.

3.    Encourage accountability

Taking ownership is key to any business, but in order for this to work, everyone must understand what they are accountable for and be measured accordingly. Contrary to popular belief, people like being held to account – it provides clarity, focus, and makes it easy to celebrate a job well done. If you ask someone to do something, make sure you follow up. And if it’s not done, don’t immediately criticise – instead, seek to understand the reasons why and offer support.

4.    Practice active Listening

So many people think they are great listeners, but active listening is an art form. It means that you’re truly present, listening to understand and not to respond, and allowing a person to finish what they are saying without interruption. Think about this next time you’re in a meeting and observe how often people interrupt each other. People that feel they aren’t heard will eventually stop contributing and become disengaged.

5.    Ask powerful questions (how or what, not why)

Asking powerful questions is the backbone of great coaching, and is essential to encourage self-learning and growth for our people. Ask your team for their perspective and opinion on things, don’t assume you already know the best way to do it. Don’t automatically jump to the solution when someone comes to you with a problem, ask them what they think will solve it. Get curious if someone has a new idea to share and help them get clearer on it by becoming a thinking partner.

6.    Create space for a feedback loop

Many people shy away from giving feedback as it can feel uncomfortable. But clarity is kindness, and continuous feed-back is vital for individual development. Feedback should be given constantly – to recognise a job well done, and constructively when something needs to change. Be mindful of your language and don’t make it personal.

7.    Call it out – healthy challenge is a good thing

Conflict is often seen as a dirty word but healthy conflict is essential for your business to thrive. If you create an environment where everyone trusts each other, you can have open, honest debate and challenge one another effectively without it being taken personally. Avoiding difficult conversations creates a toxic environment which stifles growth and people leave.

8.    Recognise and reward great behaviour as well as great work

Great work should of course be recognised and rewarded, but so should great behaviour. So often we focus on ‘what’ a person delivers instead of ‘how’ they deliver it. Celebrating when people demonstrate your Company Values and go above and beyond is crucial to foster an environment where the way things are done is just as important as getting the thing itself done.

9.    Make time for reflection & lessons learned 

Reflection is essential on all levels for a business to understand areas for improvement. This should be done on an individual, team and company level. Make the time to reflect when a deal is won or lost, after a project has been completed, or when a key milestone has been hit. Ask what went well, what didn’t go so well, what the biggest lessons are and what will be done differently knowing what you know now. Focusing on the marginal gains is how you will take your business to the next level.

10.  Lead by example – it’s a case of practice not perfection

Leadership is seen as a dark art but it is a skill that can be learnt. The key is to understand that no one is perfect, and the most inspiring leaders are transparent and authentic even when they don’t have the answer or when things go wrong. Don’t try to be the perfect leader, because that doesn’t exist. What’s important is that you are consistent, authentic and honest in your communications and you lead by example.

Final note

If you were to score yourself out of 10 for each of these points, which areas need your attention the most?

If you invest in adapting the way you do things and truly embed a Coaching Culture, your people’s engagement will increase, which means better productivity, less risk of attrition, and you’ll start attracting new talent to join you.

So what are you waiting for? The impact you will achieve for you and your people will be remarkable.

#PeopleFirstAlways