Coaching Cultures

In coaching cultures, decision-making is devolved as far as possible to those who implement the decisions.

What is a coaching culture?

Clutterbuck and Megginson define a coaching culture as

‘one where coaching is the predominant style of working together and where a commitment to grow the organisation is embedded in a parallel commitment to grow the people in the organisation.’

Why are coaching cultures important?

Modern organisations recognise that traditional styles of leadership, based on command and control, are out of date and inefficient. Effective leadership involves creating a climate in which people can realise their potential. High performing leaders nurture and define this climate or organisational culture. It is about creating the conditions in which people can flourish.

The development of coaching cultures is, therefore, a high priority and a growing trend. Creating a coaching culture is not an end in itself but a key part of creating a more general culture of continual learning and development that will enhance the capabilities of all staff.

How do you create coaching cultures?

Any culture change process takes time and requires careful planning. And while it won’t happen quickly, if approached correctly it will make a permanent difference to the organisation’s overall performance.

One of the main inhibitors for the successful creation of a coaching culture takes the form of a lack of buy-in from senior managers/sponsors. The board needs to believe in the change and be fully committed to lead by example when carrying it out. Their support must be strong enough to see it through to conclusion.

In his book ‘Creating a Coaching Culture’, Peter Hawkins identified three ‘pillars’ for creating coaching cultures which are:

Pillar 1: The Coaching Strategy
The coaching strategy must be firmly rooted in the organisational mission and development plan so that it is linked to all the people development policies. This strategy needs to be developed collaboratively and constantly updated as the context and the practice change and develop.

Pillar 2: Culture Change Strategy
For any organisation to thrive it needs to be developing its strategy at the same speed or faster than the world in which it operates is changing. An even bigger challenge is to develop its culture at the same speed as it is developing its strategy.

Pillar 3: Coaching Infrastructure
Key aspects of this infrastructure include a management group to drive, co-ordinate and integrate all coaching processes and a community of practice or network of true partners who are committed to building the coaching culture.

Programmes of this nature lead to changes in the way people interact on a daily basis. For instance, peers coach one another to share knowledge, to pass on expertise and to help one another, and also raise their own standards and general standards of professionalism.

What is your approach to creating coaching cultures?

Our service will help you define your coaching strategy, align it with your business goals and establish the appropriate processes to ensure the coaching mindset is integrated into organisational culture. Options range from a single, 2-day coaching skills event to a more comprehensive, 12 – 18 month ‘leader as coach’ programme.

We believe that you cannot impose change on the culture of an organisation, but you can change it from within. There needs to be an internal hub or centre of excellence within the organisation providing coaching and coach education and driving the movement towards a coaching culture. In order for new behaviours to take hold, start small: only coach where there is energy for coaching. Provide training to those who want it most and then use these people as the advocates to help lead change. Gather strong evidence that it works and use this to feed the momentum. Create a tipping point where the organisation is asking for coaching.

Over the years, we have trained hundreds of coaches and are able to design a solution to match your unique needs. We will work alongside you to design a programme of development to take place over the short, medium or long term. Coaching supervision is recommended for your most active coaches.

What are the outcomes of creating coaching cultures?

In an organisation that has transitioned successfully into having a coaching culture, there are a number of key characteristics. For instance, there is a common approach to learning: managers create an environment for their team members that encourages autonomy, experimentation and learning from mistakes. To enable this, they avoid using a directive style of leadership unless it is necessary. A more facilitative approach encourages independent thinking and reduces dependence on senior people as the providers of solutions. As much as possible, decision making is delegated. This has the additional benefit of liberating leaders to focus on more strategic priorities.


If you’d like to discuss creating a coaching culture in your organisation then get in touch with Tom today for more information on 07720 286 696 or complete our contact form.

‘Tom is highly skilled facilitator and coach – I attended his executive coaching skills workshop recently and was extremely impressed by his skillful and knowledgeable approach to the subject. He is a superb role model for effective coaching practice, a gifted practitioner and an inspiration to work with –  I wholeheartedly recommend him.’

Jonathan Stevens, General Manager, California – Impact International (Americas)