posted on June 01, 2010 14:16
One of my key professional passions is to help leaders of organizations create a culture of coaching. What are the key distinctions of such a culture?
First, every leader at every level is viewed as a coach. While supervision and processes are necessary ingredients for both management and leadership to a certain degree, coaching is the yeast that holds the entire recipe together. Coaching others toward fresh insights that lead to behavioral changes and better results is at the heart of being entrusted with a group of people of any size, in any setting. The most effective leaders think “coach first” and job title second.
Next, coaching is a strategy for organizational effectiveness and not just a low-level, reactionary tactic for fixing problems or attacking disengagement. The best leaders don’t “give coaching a shot” after they have exhausted all other traditional means for driving performance and “holding people accountable” (whatever that means!). They view coaching as the high-level “how” a business unit or organization will achieve its big picture goals, understanding that coaching truly builds talent and bench strength with more speed and sustainability.
Finally, coaching is a partnership between two career-minded professionals who each view themselves as serving the success of the other. Each person plays different roles in the partnership (boss, direct report, etc.), but they share the same goals and hence—ideally—the same level of excitement toward reaching these goals. Neither is willing to let the other down, and therefore there is both an eagerness to coach and be coached.
Reflect now on your own organization. What elements are in place that constitute the current or future realization of a culture of coaching? This could also be a good time to examine whether you see yourself as a coach, and to realize that a whistle and baseball cap are not necessarily required!