Developing a coaching culture turned out to be easier than I anticipated. When I started down this route, I had an intention and a fuzzy plan. Now with hindsight I can with clarity tell you how it was done.
Feel free to take these ideas and make them your own.
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1. Build up some coaching capability within your HR & leadership team.
Within business, there are many meanings of the term "coaching". For 20 years I have worked in Human Resources, and would often refer to my coaching of managers. Little did I realise that what I was doing was not true coaching. What I was doing was not true coaching.
For me, the turning point came when I invested in a coaching qualification. Having others in the organisation similarly trained meant we had a shared understanding and language. We could then use this to start creating something magical. For me the training was through The NeuroLeadership Group. I can also very much recommend Anna de Valk at Career Life.
2. Start having micro coaching conversations all the time.
The start of the coaching revolution started with small, frequent coaching conversations. If coaching is the down the ask end of the 'ask/tell continuum', then you can start by just asking more questions. Coaching is in essence about aiding someone come up with the solution right for them, and encouraging people to think in new ways. People got so sick of me saying "do you mind if I ask you a question?" - it was my way of starting a coaching micro-conversation.
You can start by just asking more questions.
3. Train your leaders in coaching essentials, especially listening.
There is no way that you will create a coaching culture without your leaders on board. And coaching does not come naturally to many. So pick a model and train it, role model it, reflect on its use. Get it out there. I taught leaders The Dance Of Insight, SCARF (David Rock) and IGROW. All easy to understand and apply with practice.
Of course you must iterate, or it will seem clunky at the start. Encourage people to persevere and support each other. The two hardest things for leaders were listening and not solving people's problems.
For active listening, we talked about:
Here is a tip that I have found useful in my own practice to cultivate listening skills.
Especially for those times when I find myself talking too much. Just ask 5 questions before you share anything of yourself. It works a treat, especially for a motor mouth like me :-)
For getting out of problem solving mode we talked about
The two hardest things for leaders are listening and not solving people's problems.
4. Weave a coaching style through your leadership development.
The leadership programme that I have developed has group coaching at it's core. That means that I model coaching every session. And participants get to practice asking meaningful questions. And have the lived experience of answering a thought provoking question.
This has not been difficult. In short:
5. Get your leadership team coaches.
A major part of developing a coaching culture has been to pair leaders at all levels with coaches. I created a network of external coaches with a shared understanding of a model that we would use. I chose men and women, people with different specialties and let the leaders choose. This has been transformative in developing people, and modelling to them personally the value of coaching.
All these steps taken over a 12 month period have created a definite shift towards a coaching culture. These have worked in my case, if you have other ways that work, I'd love to hear them too.
Meanwhile, if you want any further tips and tricks about how to make this happen, give Mel a call 021 885 651.
At Wisdom at Work we take a coaching approach to all that we do, We focus on doing things that work - using creativity, collaboration and a healthy dose of good old common sense.