5 Steps To Create A Coaching Culture

LAST UPDATE ON June 28, 2023

“The very nature of good coaching puts into practice all of the principles of positive psychology, and this ultimately combines to help shape an entirely new culture in the organisation.” ~ Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman

Coaching is not something that comes naturally to everyone. Nor is it typically thought of as a necessary skillset as a manager. However, organisations with a coaching culture do see a productivity improvement of three times. They also see an increase of six times in their employee engagement.

Developing a coaching culture in organisations does require the leaders to have some traits that run contrary to their traditional management practices; especially those practices that got them promoted in the first place. What are these coaching attributes that would make the most effective coaches?

Effective coach-managers tend to draw out the views of their staff rather than influence, make recommendations and provide unambiguous direction. They also take the time to help their team members discover the best solution from within themselves instead of always jumping in as an adviser and problem solver. The best coach-manager does a little of both.

The excellent coach-manager also does not come across as being the guru or one that possess far greater wisdom than the person being coached. He doesn’t treat his coachee as a greenhorn.

If you have this question: “Can managers become coaches?”, you may want to read this article to find out before moving on to the next section.

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Which leadership style supports a coaching culture?

Each of us tends to gravitate towards a leadership style when we lead. Some of us may be more on the authoritarian continuum while others may tend towards the democratic continuum. Contingency theorists Robert Tannenbaum & Warren Schmidt developed a continuum of leadership behaviour with seven leadership behaviours that describe different parts of the continuum.

Building on this continuum, Zenger Folkman developed a leadership continuum that includes descriptive elements:

Our recommendation is for organisations to adopt a collaborative leadership style in order to support a coaching culture. This is where leaders work alongside their team members and resolve work hurdles together. Leaders are willing to listen to their employees and even be influenced by them before decisions are made. Employees contribute ideas freely and feel empowered. Both leaders and employees are invested in the decision-making process and the outcomes.

5 Steps to create a coaching culture

When we decide to adopt a coaching culture for our team or organisation, what do we need to do to create it as a team or organisation culture?

Here are five steps to consider:


Shape a new culture in your organisation

Adopting a leadership style that goes against your natural gain can be uncomfortable. Keeping in mind that coaching is the premier leadership behaviour that has a direct impact on productivity, employee retention and engagement and ROI will keep you going even as you accept the fact that your brain can indeed make the adjustments to make the change.

The question is not IF you are to change. The question is what do you stand to lose if you DON’T make the change?

Ponder over how you can be the catalyst of change in your organisation. Use the steps above to get a coaching culture started in your team or organisation. If you think you need further support in equipping your team managers with coaching skills or a framework to work with, reach out to us and we can have a discussion around that.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.

Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.