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Coaching Cultural Change

August 12, 2016

A healthy listening, learning, coaching culture may provide the best chance of overcoming the unsettling waves of change that businesses are facing. Businesses can adopt a more supportive, people-oriented culture, one in which coaching is commonplace, downwards, with peers and even upwards. In this way employee and staff’s needs are acknowledged and they are helped by coaching to clarify their direction for themselves, while at the same time the coach/manage learns a great deal about their wishes and hopes. If managers listen to their people and act on what they hear, employees will be happier and perform better and staff turnover will plummet. On the other hand if they only pay lip service to this, they will have raised expectations only to dash them again and will have made things worse than they were before.

In addition to this management style change, companies are likely to be called on to live up to the values and ethics they so boldly claim in their mission statements. If they don’t, they may be taken to task by their staff and their customers. Both are liable to vote with their feet. Companies providing products and services that make a genuine contribution to society offer meaningful employment by their very nature. Those whose products and services are questionable or downright harmful are most likely to fall short as staff seek more meaning and purpose in their work.
So why is coaching important at work? Because a value based future cannot be prescribed by some outside authority. Performance will always be at its best when staff, shareholders, directors and even customers share the same values, but before that can happen; staff need to be encouraged to find out what their own values are.

Once we accept that we need to change the culture of our business to incorporate a coaching ethos, where do we start? With the people or with the company? The answer must be both. Imposing democracy and demanding cooperation are unacceptable contradictions. Here are some guidelines:

• We must first help staff develop themselves and through coaching experiment with some of the attitudes and behaviours that we expect in the new organisation.
• Executives and senior management must, set an example and model the ideal attitudes and behaviours authentically and consistently.
• Staff cannot be forced to change, but need the opportunity to choose how to change.
• Without a collective vision change cannot succeed, but without vision at the top it will not even start.

When coaching the board members of a company going through culture change, we must first help them to become clear about what they require from the change and what it involves, and ensure that they are fully committed to seeing it through. This is likely to require an investment of time that board members are often reluctant to make because of short term pressures. However, lasting and effective change is only a pipe dream without the commitment of the board, or at the very least of one key member of it who acts as a champion and leader. The willingness to see change through is vital to avoid staff becoming disillusioned if grand plans come to nothing.

The approach we take at high performance coaching and training is to institute a very thorough professional development plan of development and reinforcement from the beginning to support managers’ initial exposure to coaching and the accompanying management style changes expected of them. Every member of staff in any supervisory role must go through a basic coaching skills course to ensure that a new common language is quickly established. The rest of the staff will also need at least an explanation and some exposure to the principles of coaching so as that they are not confused or suspicious of any behavioural change on the part of the managers.

Other components of culture change include regular updates, supervision, buddy sharing, feedback, assessment, appraisals and support of many kinds. The more these are internally designed and staffed the better. We p[refer to train ‘master coaches’ within the organisation to do this rather than undertaking it ourselves because then ownership lies where it needs to be – within the company.

High Performance Coaching and Training currently runs a yearly leadership membership program that develops and supports managers and leaders within their business or company. We also will come into your company and specific design your own staff development and leadership programs that are specific to the goals and current challenges within your company.

Imagine having a team of high performers that are engaged and the culture that supports continual learning and development. Become the employer of choice and invest in your people.

I hope you have found this article interesting and implement some of the points raised throughout the article.

People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!”

Lee Stemm – PCC

High performance coaching and Training

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