There seems to be a buzz in the air, many organisations we come across seem to be challenging themselves to create a ‘coaching culture’. This is admirable and it is indeed a challenge, down to the simple fact that this about changing very ingrained and comfortable leadership habits. It’s suddenly asking manager/leaders to ask questions and then listen (and shut it) rather than tell people what to do.

In the busy, distracted and target driven world of work today it’s seemingly much quicker to tell employees what to do. The consequence of this is that we become more reliant on the manager and learning is restricted. At the same time employees can struggle to have value and meaning in their daily work, a demand more and more apparent as the new generation of young talent start their professional careers. There is not only personal value in being engaged with our work, but real business value, it heightens productivity and lowers the turnover of talent for a start.

However, when it comes to developing a ‘coaching culture’, we have to be mindful that the role and skills of the leader/manager as coach is very different to an external and even internal coach. It isn’t about implementing the latest HR initiative with rigid sessions, it’s about making coaching part of the everyday conversation at work and not actually labeling it coaching, it’s just a focused, question lead conversation. It is also imperative that there is business and personal context behind every coaching conversation in order for people to understand how this will help them achieve their goals and get better results.

So the big question is how to we do it, how do we create a consistency of engagement that is delivering positive results at both an individual and organisational level? Well, there is compelling evidence that coaching is at the heart of this, ask more, tell less.

HCI (Human Capital Institute) in conjunction with the ICF (Mark Ruth) collaborated to produce a report in 2015 ‘Building a Coaching Culture for Increased Employee Engagement’, the report explores the relationship between strong organisational coaching cultures and increased employee engagement. The 20 question survey was administered towards 340 HR, talent and L&D professionals, diverse in their size and industry sector.

The full report you can get here.

The 5 key headlines we took from the report are here:
1. 60% of employees who worked in a strong coaching culture rated themselves as ‘highly engaged’, versus 48% of employees in other organisations.

2. A strong coaching culture correlated with higher financial performance. 63% of organisations with a strong coaching culture were above their industry peer group in terms of revenue growth, with other organisations at 45% above, an 18% difference.

3. Across the three coaching modalities (external coach, internal coach and manager/leader as coach) the manager/leader as coach had the largest positive impact on employee engagement:
External 13%, Internal 23%, Manager/Leader 56%.

4. Manager/leader coaches also had the most impact across three out of four employee segments:
Level –                 Entry level   Mid level  Senior level  High Potential
Internal                      3%           14              61                 39
External                    27             40              33                 39
Mger/Leader              69             74              48                 58

5. The manager/leader modality is currently the most rapidly growing form of coaching and the organisations that are strong in coaching have a balance across all three different modalities.

In conclusion, the HCI reported that there is a strong business case for driving the coaching agenda, with the use of all coaching modalities increasing and the levels of engagement for high potentials dramatically affected by coaching. Interestingly out of the 340 organisations surveyed, 19% offered no coaching of any kind to any employee segment.

Compelling stuff and it makes sense when coaching is all about helping people think for themselves and take responsibility to action the ideas they themselves come up with. It makes people feel good about themselves, valued and safe and that’s the clincher. It’s not just about a business case, but also about emotion, as manager/leaders how are we making people feel around us day in, day out, in the face of everyday successes and challenges? Invariably there is usually just one of two answers to this, we either make people feel safe or at risk, both delivering very different results.

We offer a range of programmes that give busy managers the practical skills to have impactful and effective coaching conversations in 10 minutes or less. If it would be useful to know more, contact us at –