A Coaching Culture: What it is and How it Differs from Coaching in the Workplace

Workplace culture is a continually evolving concept as new generations enter the workforce, further studies into productivity are conducted, and as contemporary values shift and develop over the years. The idea of coaching in the workplace isn’t a new one: specific references to coaching have appeared in human resources journals at least as far back as the 1960s.

What is new for today’s workplace is the idea that coaching shouldn’t be limited to a few elements applied in specific situations; instead, the entire culture of an organization should be transformed into one of coaching to achieve top results.

Coaching in the Workplace

Developing the skills of individuals will benefit the entire group. Training and development opportunities are common in many companies, but coaching is meant to take a more personal and structured approach to development. Coaches in the workplace tend to meet with individuals regularly to define and refine goals, identify roadblocks to success and generally work toward improving or enhancing that person’s performance.

The coach should have an understanding of where the employee wants his or her career to go while also having visibility into the company’s goals and how that employee contributes to that goal. The objective is to bring the two together to improve day-to-day performance while also developing long-term growth plans for future success of the employee and the organization.

Leaders using a coaching approach in their conversations can also have a significant impact on the development of their employees – much more than the more common annual review of performance. According to one survey of millennial employees, 74 percent felt “in the dark” about how their managers think they are performing, and 62 percent felt “blindsided” by a performance review. Almost 85 percent said they would feel more confident if they had more frequent conversations with their managers.

Managers as coaches in the workplace certainly address these needs as the feedback tends to be ongoing and continual rather than once-per-year events. Plus, coaching gets results as teams are more self-reliant, have more job satisfaction, contribute more effectively and work more productively with others. On a one-to-one basis, coaching has been proven to have positive results. What happens, then, when that approach is scaled up into a company-wide transformation?