What is meant by a coaching-based organizational culture?
A coaching-based organizational culture is a description of an operating culture composed of strong self-direction, accountability, agility and solution-orientation. Further, joint goals, continuous learning, collaboration, and outspokenly handling contradictions are integral parts of a coaching-based culture.
Why a coaching-based culture?
The constant pressure and need for change, combined with the global competitive environment requires a flexible and continuous reform-oriented organizational culture. A coaching-based culture is useful e.g., for these following reasons:
Developing how we learn – together
In addition to knowledge and skills, living in a constant pressure of change requires employees to have the ability and desire to learn more all the time. Thus, by utilizing a coaching-based culture, the organization is curious about what it truly means to develop together as a team, instead of just focusing on individual learning. What does it mean to develop the team, its activities, and what does it mean to be a team?
New generations have different approaches to working life than what we may be used to. These days, it is okay to contest ideas, to demand that work is inspiring, to expect that management is fair and cooperative. Both leaders and colleagues are expected to have the ability to discuss, listen, encourage, and provide feedback.
Community-centered thinking and the need to belong to a group rise to a new dimension as we do not meet very often face to face any more. As a result, skills such as interaction, collaboration and technical virtual skills gain more emphasis. Since we cannot succeed alone, leadership and all activities must be involving, and conducted with a coaching-based mindset.
5 tips on how to build a coaching-based culture
- Management commitment and reason for change
The very first task is to define why a coaching-based culture is desired. If the reasons are not clear, neither the actions of the management nor anyone else’s will change. Cultural change usually starts with the commitment and example set by the management. Goals for the change for each organizational level must be set and written down. Of course there have been cases where cultural innovations have been made from down to up. However, even in those cases, the need for the senior management to commit will soon arise, as the entire corporate culture will not change if management does not change its own operations and set an example.
- Management change
Quite often a coaching mindset or a coaching-based leadership is written in the organization’s strategy. This will, however, not change action if cultural change is not really taken as the lead principle. Building a coaching-based culture requires the participation from and solidarity of all levels of the organization. It is not only the result of the adoption of coaching-based interaction techniques, but it also requires a review of beliefs, structures and practices and, most likely, their modification. Change must be led in a coaching-based way!
- Adequate support
Cultural change requires time. It is not a sprint but rather a marathon that needs support troops. Managers play a key role. However, without the support and example of senior management, they may be caught between two fires. The middle management needs practical support from their managers to change their operations. HR, in turn, can support the managers through a variety of activities, such as coaching, mentoring, and group coaching.
Remember communication! Communicating the coaching-based leadership strategy and mindset to the entire organization is crucial. It is also a good idea to involve staff in a joint discussion to understand the need for change in their own thinking and actions. A coaching-based culture / approach is not just about managers, but it changes the way all members of the organization act.
Learning how to interact in a coaching-based way, and internalizing the role of the coach do not happen fast, but they require perseverance and work: experimentation, reflection, and feedback to change the actions of individuals, teams, and with them the entire organization. A wise man once said that the duration of an organizational culture change depends on how active the staff are in managing that change. And because each of us learns little by little in our own way, it is worth taking advantage of many ways of learning, and asking for outside help if needed.