While individual coaching is well known and commonplace within many businesses across the GCC, team coaching has quickly gained pace over the last couple of years. As organisations deliver coaching that goes beyond individual personal development, there is a growing trend for business leaders to introduce team coaching into their company.
Whether it is in the private or the public sector, coaching has traditionally been made accessible for select, top executives within organisations. However from personal experience, I can tell you that the positive impact of coaching can benefit employees at all levels. With proper training, feedback and open communication, business leaders can expect to see an energised and engaged workforce from top to bottom. What this creates is a holistic ‘coaching culture’ – that is, a workplace culture that combines coaching skills’ training, regular constructive feedback and growth opportunities that allow all employees to perform at their highest potential.
But why is it so vital to make a coaching culture part of the everyday working environment? There are a few reasons worth highlighting:
Workforce is more engaged
Firstly, such a structure leads to a more engaged workforce, which in turn improves work performance and supports both business management and team effectiveness. Secondly, by providing leaders with the skills that drive conversation and introspection within teams, an internal coaching culture begins to develop naturally. Having recently spearheaded an initiative to train 30 employees of the Abu Dhabi government to become AoEC accredited executive coaches, I am proud to say that these people are now thriving whilst coaching other government employees, leading to a more cohesive and inclusive workforce. Once this type of workplace culture is achieved, business leaders can expect enhanced performance and improved effectiveness from their team.
Company goals are achieved more effectively
Undoubtedly, an internal coaching culture at work has an overwhelmingly positive effect on both leadership and senior team effectiveness. In turn, this ensures company goals are achieved quickly and more effectively, while improving relationships between peers and seniors in the process. One study outlined in the report Executive Briefing: Case Study on the ROI of Executive Coaching, Merrill C. Anderson, Ph.D., MetrixGlobal, LLC, concluded that executive coaching produced a 788 percent ROI. The study noted that excluding the benefits from employee retention, a 529 percent ROI was produced. Similar studies have shown improved executive productivity reported by 53 percent of executives, improvements in organisational strengths (48 percent) and improved teamwork (67 percent).
Builds a psychologically safe work environment
Nurturing a coaching culture within businesses enables people to feel secure, content, and challenged and ‘psychologically safe’ in the workplace. To feel psychologically safe means that employees have confidence that they won’t be punished, rejected, or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. Unsurprisingly, feeling safe to express oneself in the office is a critical element to overall job satisfaction.
Improved employee retention
As an extension of creating a psychologically safe environment through a coaching culture, there is the added benefit of improved employee retention. At the core, employees who feel safe to take risks and be creative demonstrate enhanced business performance. Once business leaders empower their teams to take ownership of their role, it means companies can keep hold of their most valued employees, while becoming a magnet for high performing talent wanting to excel in their careers.
The benefits are clear. But how does a company implement and sustain a coaching culture?
Work with an accredited and experienced team
It’s clear that team coaching can have dramatic effects on the performance of both individuals and teams, but training your workforce should be left to the professionals. There are various highly-regarded talent management consultancies in the region that can support with creating an internal coaching culture, so decision-makers should be sure to scope out a professional team with experience driving change. I can assure you: it’s an investment worth making.
Start from the top down
The senior leadership team is critical for the success of any coaching culture, and if those at the top can experience for themselves how coaching empowers and motivates, these tools and knowledge can easily trickle down to junior employees. Creating a successful coaching culture is all about co-creation and collaboration, so if the CEO and senior partners buy into the benefits of coaching, they will champion it. Without their support, companies risk wasting money, creating a toxic environment and damaging the trust they have with their employees.
Consider the workplace eco-system
Decision-makers must also think of the ecosystem within which they are working, and each of the relationships and connections in between. For example, they must ask themselves who the coaching will serve. Leaders must bring environmental, economic and social awareness directly to the coaching culture they want to create, going beyond what is needed in the immediate future and what stakeholders are requesting. This means seeing coaching as a continuous process that covers everything from the planet and humanity to future generations.
Communication is crucial
Decision-makers must be sure to communicate with employees on both their successes and their failures. To keep a coaching culture moving forward, it’s important to regularly evaluate the various initiatives to determine what is working, and where there are opportunities to improve. Without clear and regular communication, a workplace coaching culture is not likely to thrive.
There are numerous examples of companies that have flourished by creating a successful holistic coaching culture. By equipping teams at all levels with with coaching skills, your organisation can boast a more energised workforce, higher retention rates and improved effectiveness across the board.