Today, establishing a strong company culture is one of the challenges facing all HR departments. A company culture defines the values that the company and its employees believe in and that in turn defines their actions or decision-making. Thus benefits such as having table football in the lobby, offering drinks on Fridays or company parties twice a year are not to be included in the company culture. We are talking about corporate values and performance such as communication, agility or team spirit. Finding common values is a crucial step to make employees feel confident and adhere to the company in order to fully engage in their activities. It is often said that building a strong company culture increases employee engagement, business performance and revenues, and attracts and retains talent. On the other hand, a weak corporate culture can be detrimental to your business. 

One of the most interesting aspects of company culture for employees is the learning and training component. It is believed that a company’s opportunities for development, training and learning, are key to retaining talent, especially when they are individualised. When employees feel supported in their career development, they are more likely to stay with the company, especially if it allows them to take on greater responsibilities or move to a better position. 

Coaching then becomes a privileged training tool. It allows us to support the employee by proposing an individualised plan, to measure his or her progress on an ongoing basis and, above all, to work on his or her personal objectives. This will bring a range of positive outcomes on an individual and company-level, including an increase in innovation, performance, taking initiatives, solution finding, leadership and a stronger team cohesion. 

Many companies, convinced of the benefits of coaching, wish to implement a real “coaching culture” within their organisation. What is a coaching culture and what does this boil down to? When coaching practices are fully integrated into the daily management of teams and tasks, generating more positivism, more innovation and increased performance. While some organisations aspire to fully integrate coaching into their corporate culture, for many it is a real challenge. When done successfully,  it has been proven that building a coaching culture would have the effect of fostering collective intelligence, creating a climate of trust among employees and ensuring better business agility. 

So how do you develop a coaching culture within your organization?

1/ Implementing leadership based on trust 

People keep shouting it from the rooftops – leadership is dead. Or rather, authoritarian leadership is dead. Indeed, the managers of yesteryear are no longer popular for a variety of reasons: the boss is no longer considered the supreme authority and using this type of management leads employees to flee companies that use it. 45% of employees think lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting their performance at work. Worse still, it is estimated that 1 in 10 employees voluntarily sabotage the plans of their superiors in order to challenge their authority. That’s a good reason to rethink your leadership strategy. So what’s the alternative? Inspiring leadership based on trust. In other words, the manager helps to empower employees in their tasks by giving them control over the decisions to be applied at their level, while supporting them if exceptional or complex situations arise. Creating a strong coaching culture can help managers to support their employees in a more positive and ambitious way. Keep in mind that coaching and mentoring isn’t the same. 

A few tips for leadership based on trust: 

  • Encourage exchanges between the manager and the employees in complete transparency to create a bond of trust. 
  • Supervise employees while allowing them to take the necessary initiatives and decisions at their own level.
  • Making and honouring commitments with employees to encourage teams to commit as well.
  • Inspire rather than command, and for that you’re going to need emotional intelligence! 

2/Ask better questions

Organisations wishing to develop a coaching culture within their teams must encourage their managers to ask better questions. What is meant by “better questions”? It is about asking questions that focus on the possible solutions rather than on the problem itself. For example, questions beginning with “why” or “how”. Firstly, this will enable employees to take responsibility for the various challenges of the team and their tasks. Secondly, it will show that managers are concerned with the opinions of their employees. Employees will be encouraged to pass on their ideas, thoughts and solutions. This will make communication more open and transparent. 

Moreover, promoting more transparent communication is also an integral part of coaching. It is therefore advisable to promote more honest, clearer and more regular exchanges. The fears or mistrust of employees will then be reduced. The manager thus becomes an actor of trust and listening. Listening is also an essential criterion for a strong coaching culture. The coach needs to understand his/her coachee, to be able to propose changes in accordance with his/her goals and always in a benevolent attitude. Thus, managers need to change their level of listening and take the time to understand the employee, their way of working and their challenges to be able to support them as well as possible. Without listening, the manager risks falling into authority leadership and employees may feel frustrated. 

3/ Developing the emotional intelligence of individuals

Finally, fostering the emotional intelligence of teams contributes to the development of a strong coaching culture. If in a company, individuals feel less authorised to express their emotions, totally repressing them would only lead to amplifying them or even transmitting them to other employees. Thus, it is important to learn to manage one’s emotions and to tame them in order to be able to deal with them productively and develop what is called emotional agility. A Harvard Business Review study shows that having good emotional agility at work can help reduce stress, decrease errors, become more innovative and improve job performance.  

To begin, it will be important to recognise its mechanisms and functioning in situations where emotions have taken control. Indeed, when we can identify our reaction patterns, it is easier to anticipate the moments when emotions will eventually reappear. Then, when an emotion is felt, it is important to be able to label it so that you can accept it and take a step back. When an emotion is identified, its impact on our behaviour becomes less. 

Developing our emotional intelligence also helps to improve relations between colleagues and with the hierarchy. In addition, it promotes collective intelligence. However, in order to have a real impact on the company, this emotional intelligence must be developed among all employees, including management, so that the coaching culture is truly integrated within the company. 

Our team of psychologists, behavioural scientists and transformation consultants help many organisations on implementing a coaching culture. To find out more about how you can develop and embrace a coaching culture, get in touch with us today.