Take a moment and ask yourself these 2 questions:
One, do you believe you have more potential than your current performance level?
And two, if yes, what’s the cost of opportunity of not using that potential more often?
If you think like the overwhelming majority of the 200 senior executives I spoke to at a recent conference, then you answered yes to the first question, and a lot of money and time for the second.
This is problematic on a variety of fronts, and coaching has proved to be one of the best means of addressing this. Coaching is a business imperative, not a nice perk. It helps leaders and talent achieve their personal best, to swiftly adjust to the demands of their environment, and to expand their personal level of impact.
If you lead a human resources department, you need to think about how you can create a culture of coaching that will better enable your organization to reach its potential.
Coaching cultures enable radical transformation by fostering certain types of conversations on a daily basis. It creates a climate where people learn how to:
- Give and receive feedback;
- Support and stretch someone’s thinking;
- Challenge people’s performance plateau; and
- Engage in development conversations that are short in length but strong in impact.
Here are 3 phases to consider for deploying this type of coaching culture:
Phase 1: Make the case for coaching by allowing key influencers to experience its power.
Don’t assert the value of coaching. Instead, demonstrate its value, particularly in situations that are painful for the business’ leaders. You want the influencer to be able to say something to the effect of: “I’ve been struggling with this for the last 3 weeks. It is amazing that in only 30 minutes with you, I’ve found alternative ways of handling this. I have new-found confidence!”
Phase 2: Integrate coaching as a core element of your talent and leadership development strategy.
Before trying to embed coaching in your culture, start by integrating coaching in your leadership and talent development framework. Embed coaching in some of your leadership programs for targeted populations, like high potentials, senior managers, and senior experts. It’s equivalent to learning how to walk before you run. It also exposes your organization to a critical mass of adopters.
Phase 3: Equip HR professionals with coaching skills.
The ideal situation arises when business leaders and HR professionals exhibit coaching skills and a coaching mindset on their own. Contrary to popular belief, coaching is not exclusively for development purposes — it’s also for the everyday challenges.
The performance of your organization will always be determined by the effectiveness of every single employee. In this context, coaching can address 80% of routine obstacles in less than 20 minutes, as opposed to other forms of management that may force people to do things that feel unnatural or leave them pondering for weeks. The more that your HR department can experience this and exemplify the benefits, the better it will be for the entire organization.
I saw first-hand how one of our clients in the banking sector benefited from deploying some of these 3 phases. The chief human resources officer set out to introduce coaching throughout the organization, particularly responding to feedback in a recent survey that revealed issues around engagement, motivation, and a general malaise in the organization stemming from a transition in leadership.
Some 500 managers spent two hours, by increments of 30 minutes over a three-month period, addressing their particular needs with a coach over the phone: preparing for a big meeting, thinking through a tricky situation, and finding emotional balance in a supportive partnership.
A follow-up survey showed this initiative’s success. The 500 managers reported collectively that simple coaching conversations were worth the equivalent of 3 million euros based on an aggregated value of time spared, decisions made, actions taken, proposals won, and conflicts managed.
This was the lever the chief human resources officer was waiting for to formally present a coaching curriculum that the leaders could use with their team members in order to increase the overall performance of the organization.
Coaching culture delivers a great promise: a high performance environment that holds people accountable for delivering results, while fostering a climate of full engagement, personal development, and mutual support. If you take the steps necessary to make it happen in your organization, the dividends could be exponential.