Why your organization needs a coaching culture

Coaching isn’t just for elite athletes. It’s becoming a popular way for organizations to develop their people with the qualities needed to succeed in an evolving business landscape.


The ‘do as I say’ style of leadership won’t cut it anymore. Today’s employees are more concerned with self-development than following orders. They want their leaders to guide them, support them and give them the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge. A coaching culture can offer all this and more.

What is a coaching culture?

What is a coaching culture?

A coaching culture at work is when an organization prioritizes employee growth and development to maximizes each individual’s potential. It’s an environment where people can play to their strengths while also broadening each other’s thinking.

With this type of approach, collaboration replaces the traditional hierarchy and honest feedback replaces blame culture.

Common characteristics of a coaching culture in organizations include:

  • Transparent, honest and open communication

  • Supportive and empathetic leaders who listen without judgement

  • Leaders being open to giving and receiving constructive feedback

  • Every employee contributing ideas for improvement

  • Empowering employees to be accountable for their work

  • Having a growth mindset where people believe in themselves

  • Inspirational managers with a high level of emotional intelligence

  • Personalized coaching programs being made available to everyone

You can provide coaching in a variety of ways, whether it’s through leaders, managers, peers or external sources. Ultimately, to achieve a strong coaching culture, everyone will need to be equipped with core coaching skills. Then coaching becomes ingrained in your entire organization.


While coaching shares similarities with forms of training, like mentoring and consulting, there are subtle differences.

Training is more to do with teaching employees about specific procedures, processes and technical aspects of their job. A mentor is usually someone with more experience who shares their knowledge of how to handle a particular task or situation.

Coaching, on the other hand, is more about guiding employees in the right direction to grow their careers. A coach may ask how they can support you, but they won’t tell you what to do or take away your responsibilities. They’ll help you understand yourself better so you can find your own way forward.

The aim is that your employees become greater assets by becoming more confident, rounded individuals. The overall result is a more successful and agile business fit for today’s fast-moving economic climate.

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How can a coaching culture benefit your organization?

How can a coaching culture benefit your organization?

Building a coaching culture in your workplace can unlock some valuable benefits to help you stay competitive and relevant. These include:

  • Higher productivity levels

    If you have new hires who aren’t performing to expectations, or long-serving employees who need a lift, coaching could be the answer.

    Everyone can suffer drops in performance occasionally, but you need to make sure this doesn’t become a permanent trait. This starts by acknowledging and appreciating what your employees do. According to Bonusly, some 65% of workers say they would work harder if they felt their contributions were noticed by management.

  • Improved collaboration and teamwork

    A coaching culture breaks down barriers between managers and employees through open dialogue and collaboration.

    Communication skills learned through coaching enable teams to work together more effectively. Embedding a coaching culture means discovering how to build trust, give and receive feedback and resolve conflicts.

  • Reduced staff turnover

    Employees want to be around people who are keen to see them flourish. They don’t want to feel used and taken for granted. Providing coaching can significantly boost retention rates. In fact, 77% of employees who’ve received coaching say they feel more loyal to their company, according to a survey by Ezra.

    Given that it can often take months to recruit, interview and train a new employee – and then there’s the time taken to get the new starter fully up to speed – coaching can go a long way to retaining the talent you already have.

  • Improved morale and engagement

    By focusing on employee development, you’re creating a positive environment where workers feel happy in their roles. When you keep engagement levels high, employees will be more motivated, enthusiastic and less likely to want to leave.

    Gallup found that companies with actively engaged employees are 23% more profitable than those without.

  • Building resilience

    Effective coaching can help employees become mentally stronger, resilient and self-aware. This can be invaluable when people experience setbacks or difficult situations, not only at work but in their personal lives too.

  • Helping employees reach their full potential

    Coaching gives employees the help and support they need to achieve their goals and grow as people. It focuses on strengths as well as weaknesses to encourage more of the good and less of the bad. According to Randstad research, 84% of people would be interested in speaking to a professional career coach to aid their development if given the chance.

    Coaching also builds future leaders. By investing in employees from the start, you’ll be developing the crucial skills they’ll need when they eventually become team leaders or supervisors.

6-step framework for creating a coaching culture

6-step framework for creating a coaching culture

Developing an effective coaching style across all levels of your organization won’t happen overnight, and you’ll likely face many challenges along the way. But with strong communication and a little patience, your efforts should pay off if you follow these steps:

1. Set out a clear vision for your coaching model

Start by outlining what you want your coaching strategy to achieve. Identify specific problems within your current culture and how these can be addressed. Think about how coaching will help you deliver both your short-term and long-term strategies, and how it will benefit you and your employees.

You might want to develop your own coaching initiative, or perhaps you’d rather keep it simple to begin with by using a popular coaching model such as GROW or OSKAR. These can take your employees through the process of setting goals and exploring their options for moving forward. Your strategy doesn’t have to be perfect at this point as it can be shaped along the way, but you should at least have a good idea of the challenges you want to overcome.

2. Start from the top down

Everyone can grow from being coached, so give all employees access to high-quality coaching, from senior leaders and managers to junior team members and new starters. At present, 20% of Gen Z and Millennials are self-funding their coaching experiences, which shows that organizations can do more to create an environment where coaching is used as the main method of management.

Coaching can be used in one-to-ones, performance reviews and daily work to develop talent. Empower each team member to control their own workload and wellbeing. Rather than punishing employees for poor performance, coach them to understand where they’re going wrong so they can solve the issue themselves.

3. Practice key coaching skills

If you’re planning to use any form of in-house coaching, your internal coaches will need to practice core skills like giving and receiving feedback and having tough conversations.

VR and chatbots can be helpful tools for this as they allow users to train in realistic simulated and interactive environments where it’s okay to fail. Developing a coaching culture could mean providing extra resources and a range of different communication methods, especially if you have remote workers.

4. Personalize learning through digital coaching

Avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to coaching. Allow every person in your organization to explore their individual strengths, weaknesses and barriers to growth through customized coaching sessions. Coaching delivers more meaningful results when it’s targeted to the needs of each individual employee.

Using a digital coaching platform is an easy way to give employees access to coaches anywhere, anytime.

5. Build a coaching routine

Athletes don’t win the Olympics without putting in the training. Equally, you won’t successfully implement a coaching culture in the workplace without establishing a coaching routine.

Consider setting aside time each week for personal development sessions. Also try to make coaching a relatable experience by baking elements of it into your normal working day so it becomes embedded in your workplace culture. For example, when colleagues collaborate on a new project, make sure there’s some coaching involved.

6. Establish how to measure the success of your coaching strategy

For coaching to work, you’ll need some way of measuring success. Collect data before, during and after implementing your program, and set specific KPIs – just as you would for things like productivity and cost savings.

For example, you could send out pulse surveys to employees asking how strongly they agree with the following statements: “The coaching sessions are meeting my expectations” or “Coaching helps me build skills that are relevant to my job”.

In these uncertain times, businesses need their people to be resilient and adaptable. The old-style barking out orders kind of leadership won’t develop this type of employee. A coaching culture can because it creates a safe space for people to flourish by unlocking creativity and giving people the tools they need to solve their own problems.

While each organization’s approach to coaching will be different based on their needs, goals and methods, the companies that go above and beyond to implement this type of learning will reap the rewards for years to come. When your employees reach their full potential, so too does your business.

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