Why senior management buy-in and integration with strategic HR processes are critical to driving long-term success and developing a high performance coaching culture. By Full Potential Group
Over the past few years, the value of coaching has become increasingly accepted. Many fortune 500 companies now have a better understanding of the role that coaching can play in fast-tracking leadership development and organizational growth. Indeed, coaching can drive the business forward providing you avoid the common traps, have the right people on board and the processes in place to steer it.
In the past, leaders and managers perceived coaching to be something for the elite. All too often it was confined to the boardroom and carried out on a one-to-one basis. Typically managers were only exposed to coaching through ad-hoc skills workshops. According to Gaskell, that’s changing thanks to the fact that today’s HR and business leaders are putting their faith in coaching. “For many organizations, coaching is becoming a fundamental part of their HR strategy,” she says. “People are recognizing that it’s not a soft option or a quick fix. Expanding an individual’s or an organization’s potential for growth is challenging and takes time. It requires honesty, a willingness to confront obstacles and difficult issues and the courage to stick with changes when the going gets tough.”
For those willing to embark on the journey though, the rewards can be great. “Coaching can have a dramatic impact on your culture, your people and your company’s bottom line. When successfully woven within the fabric of an organization and help companies achieve competitive advantage,” adds Gaskell.
Six essential steps to successfully embracing a high performance culture Experience has shown that for an organization to reap the genuine bottom-line benefits of a high-performance coaching culture, coaching needs to become engrained in the DNA of the business. Evolving a new culture, however, does present its own challenges.
Creating a high performance environment where people feel challenged, excited and trusted, are able and willing to take risks and are rewarded for improvements, and know that results are celebrated, often means letting go of established working practices and changing behavior. This can be scary, even for the most open-minded of professionals.
So where do you begin? The evidence is clear – coaches, HR professionals and senior executives have a key role to play in getting an enterprise-wide initiative off the ground and ensuring it delivers long-term success. Indeed, there are two essential elements to creating success that often get overlooked – senior sponsorship and sustainability. Gaining buy-in and sponsorship from the top at the outset of the program is key. Creating a sustainable environment for a coaching culture to flourish means fully integrating coaching into strategic HR processes and systems and communicating progress on a regular basis.
When it comes to coaching, one size definitely does not fit all. However, experience suggests that there are some basic principles that coaches, business leaders and HR professionals can follow if they want to successfully develop a high-performance coaching culture. FPG’s six guiding principles are: 1. Clarify drivers for change and get buy-in from senior management It is important for the coaches or coaching company to work closely with HR and business leaders to identify organizational pain points, challenges, missed opportunities and hidden costs to the organization associated with high staff turnover, for example. This will help make a compelling case for coaching.
2. Agree ROI measures that are relevant to the organization and that can be tracked effectively These might be revenue/profit-focused or centered around employee or customer satisfaction for example, as well as behavioral measures that can be monitored through 360-degree assessments and employee health surveys.
3. Co-create a coaching culture vision Get senior management to put a stake in the ground. Ask them to think about when a coaching culture is in place – what results can be achieved, what will people feel and, ultimately, what difference will it make to individuals and the bottom line?
4. Integrate coaching with the organization’s strategic plans Coaching should not be a stand-alone initiative; the greatest results are achieved when organizations commit to a program of a minimum of two to three years and integrate the vision and key performance indicators (KPIs) into their strategic HR plans.
5. Communicate quick wins One-to-one coaching with a select group of individuals, or starting with a regional pilot program, for example, are often good ways to prove the case for coaching. These examples can be publicized later to help sustain momentum.
6. Review and sustain momentum First, identify coaching sponsors and role models – every cause needs a champion and coaching is no exception. Senior management needs to walk the talk and continually inspire learning and growth. Next, cascade the coaching skills through the organization. Look at creating programs that not only coach individuals but also teach them how to coach the people that they manage. In addition, make sure you work with marketing and PR to communicate success stories, both internally within the organization and to the outside world, to show what a great work environment the organization offers. Next, because both people and organizations are constantly evolving, progress should be assessed on an ongoing basis. This will help to ensure that key objectives continue to be met. Finally, trust your instincts. It’s amazing what people can achieve with the right support. There’s no doubt that coaches and HR have a fundamental role to play in embedding a coaching culture and hold the key to unlocking untapped talent and potential.
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