Leadership Development

Can Coaching Change the DNA of Your Culture?

Lisa Danels
published on November 20, 2018

Many companies are investing in coaching. Coaching done well starts to change the individual at the seed level, otherwise known as mindset. We know from psychology that behavior always follows mindset. So, if we want different results it is much more powerful to change our mental models about ourselves, how we view the world or our assumptions about the challenges we face. Albert Einstein explained this nicely with one of his quotes “You can’t solve the problem at the level it was created.”

Typically when an organization or an individual is facing a problem, the focus is always on fixing the issue, usually by some type of behavior modification or changing something in the process. In the short-term, you might see results, but in the long-run systems or people will usually return to the same state unless the problem is addressed at the root cause. Root cause analysis was one of the most valuable lessons that were brought forth through from the total quality management movement in the early nineties. Root cause analysis explains that we need to understand what caused the problem and not to only focus on the symptoms. To see a full explanation of root cause analysis using the link attached http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_cause_analysis.

The use of coaching is teaching managers/leaders how to use the skills to develop and empower their staff. This is where we begin to see improved employee engagement and retention, increased productivity and results, and increased accountability for managers developing talent. According to a white paper by the Center for Creative Leadership and the Client Group, Creating Coaching Cultures: What Business Leaders Expect and Strategies to Get There http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/research/CoachingCultures.pdf, they found some critical insights. One is that when coaching is embedded in the organization the leaders felt culture would shift to a more positive one including greater levels of trust, more innovation, and more transparent and participative decision-making. Another insight they uncovered was that since coaching requires medium to high levels of trust with employees, you can’t just teach the skills. For coaching to truly get embedded in your organization leaders must also learn how to build greater levels of trust in their relationships.

To build these higher levels of trust in organizations it’s paramount to invest in leadership development that focuses on self-leadership and building self-awareness. It also requires that you address coaching skills in all leadership programs as it relates to how coaching will be used for that level of leadership.