A coaching culture is a learning culture—a place where everyone is free to fail, learn, receive feedback, and be coached. This kind of culture is a goal for HR and talent development professionals, but developing it in an organization that is used to strict hierarchy, perfectionism, or micromanagement can be tricky.
Here are three things you can start doing today to put your organization on the path to a healthier, more productive culture.
1. Get a Coach
Coaching is regarded by many employees as a punitive or corrective measure, not a growth opportunity. These views may change when they see you engage with a coach and talk about the insights you gained through coaching. This influence works both up and down the org chart, and it’s one way HR professionals can encourage other leaders in the organization to be coached.
Coaching is a highly skilled profession, and you will want your professional (external or in-house) coaches to have ICF (International Coach Federation) certification in coaching competencies.
2. Train the Whole Organization in Coaching Skills
While not everyone can be a professional coach, everyone can learn some of the basic coaching skills: active listening, asking open-ended thinking questions, building the relationship, and providing structure and certainty in a conversation. The added benefit of these competencies is that they are helpful in all relationships and bring employees immediate value at work and at home. With common understanding and language around coaching skills, employees become more coachable and more willing to instruct instead of criticize or avoid conflict. It is vital that leaders demonstrate the importance of this learning by attending training and practice sessions in coaching skills.
Mentoring is another way to make the best use of coaching skills. Both mentor and mentee can grow and excel.
3. Foster Mindfulness
Coaching cultures blossom when people are self-aware, and mindfulness can help develop that skill. There is a lot of hype about meditation at work, which has led to a misunderstanding of the power of mindful practices. Mindfulness is simply the coaching competency of being present and of noticing what you are doing.
Meditation is a practice that can help improve mindfulness; but simply slowing down and thinking before reacting, listening before answering, reflecting before deciding, and monotasking instead of multitasking can bring a sense of peace to you and those who work with you.