The traditional workplace culture is rapidly becoming outdated. Technological advances, employee expectations, and new ways of working and collaborating amid the pandemic have all impacted how we see the workplace and what we expect from it.
Companies that still follow the traditional approach are at a critical point and risk losing their employees to companies that adapt to the future. The ‘Great Resignation’ trend, while not as apparent in India as in the US, is still affecting some companies. They are struggling to find and retain top talent, putting themselves at risk of falling behind competition and becoming irrelevant in the long run.
How can organisations future proof themselves against this trend? Start by adopting a coaching culture.
What is coaching culture?
Leaders develop a coaching culture when they use coaching skills to facilitate daily conversations. Engaging in active listening, showing curiosity, asking questions that invite other perspectives, and providing feedback objectively and without judgment are examples of these skills.
Taken in isolation, these skills may not seem important at first glance. As a result, they are underestimated and often overlooked. At a deeper level, however, when leaders apply these practices consistently in all their interactions with the employees, they build a psychologically safe and trusting environment in the workplace.
Employees who feel safe at work are more engaged. Trust leads to teamwork and collaboration.
By adopting a coaching culture mindset, you can create a climate of psychological safety and trust that fosters transformation and growth both on personal and organisational levels.
Why is coaching culture important?
Traditional workplaces rely on clearly-defined roles, responsibilities and organisational structures, which feel rigid and siloed in today’s world.
Change is driven from the top down, and leaders are expected to know what is best for the organisation. Relationships are based on command and punishment/reward systems. Performance is measured through annual reviews that focus on the things that don’t go well and the areas that require improvement rather than the strengths each employee brings to the table.
This environment is no longer appealing to many employees today, especially the younger generations that enter the workforce. Nowadays, employees seek purpose, autonomy, opportunities for personal growth and work-life balance. It is these factors and the overall culture of the company that heavily influence their selection of employers. According to Korn Ferry’s 2017 Talent Forecast survey1, culture is the top reason great candidates choose a company.
Embracing a coaching culture can create a competitive advantage that attracts and retains the best employees.
Employees will benefit
Having a coaching culture signifies the corporate values to the present and future employees. It demonstrates that the organisation:
· respects other perspectives, opinions, ideas and experiences;
· encourages individuals, in a supportive way, to push the limits of their thinking
· promotes forward-thinking mindset by focusing on solutions;
· promotes creativity and experimentation;
· believes in a growth mindset;
· values, celebrates, and nurtures each individual’s unique strengths and talents.
The organisation will also benefit by creating an atmosphere of respect, support, continuous learning, and appreciation for the employees.
Adding value to your organisation
Embedding coaching in your organisation’s DNA is powerful for the following reasons:
Easier goal setting: Setting and achieving goals becomes easier. Providing your employees with the power to set and achieve their own goals will increase their sense of purpose, contribution, and autonomy, which will result in increased accountability, productivity, and performance.
Learning promotion: Learning, cited by Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report2 as one of the most critical attributes of modern workplaces, is actively encouraged. Employees who feel empowered to think creatively and experiment and learn outside their comfort zones are more likely to be engaged.
It is easier for employees to share ‘outside the box’ perspectives without feeling judged. New ideas are inspired, embraced, and implemented more readily. Coaching can boost a company’s performance in a fast-paced world by driving innovative thinking.
Current and future leaders can develop social and emotional intelligence skills to enhance their interaction with others inside and outside of their organisation, resulting in greater collaboration and stronger relationships.
A coaching culture can genuinely transform your organisation and create the platform for positive change, while actively supporting your vision and long-term strategy.
It’s time to shift to a coaching culture
The pandemic has further accelerated employee experience trends that have developed over the past few years. Offering substantial compensation packages to attract talent in your organisation may have been a good tactic in the past, but it is now unlikely to be as effective.
By adopting a coaching culture, you can become the employer of choice for top talent. As your culture shifts to a coaching approach, you will notice the benefits for your company and your employees.
Developing leadership skills and empowerment in the workplace contributes to increased performance, productivity, engagement and innovative thinking.
With a coaching culture, you send a clear message that your employees are at the heart of your business. In this way, you are creating a resilient organisation prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
But remember that a mindset shift from clearly-defined roles, rules, norms and expectations of a traditional workplace cannot be achieved overnight. Change requires time and effort.
When done correctly, it is a win-win situation for all parties involved.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 40,000-plus members located in more than 145 countries and territories work toward common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and maintaining the highest ethical standards. Through the work of its six unique family organisations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organisations, communities and the world through coaching.
In India, ICF is represented by six vibrant chapters, all led by volunteers — ICF Bengaluru, ICF Chennai, ICF Delhi NCR, ICF Hyderabad, ICF Mumbai, and ICF Pune.
The author, Olga Valadon is an ICF-accredited coach, a business strategist, and a change manager. During her 25-year career working with global organisations, she has found that alignment and cohesion between the three pillars of leadership, strategy, and culture is the key to long-term success and can be achieved through more profound knowledge and appreciation of human behaviour in the workplace. Olga is the founder of Change Aligned, a consulting and executive coaching business offering services on all three pillars. She helps leaders navigate change, generate momentum, and drive growth with innovative tools.