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How (and Why) to Establish a Coaching Culture in the Workplace

The Valor Team Nov 2, 2022 11:30:00 AM

The meaning of workplace culture has really changed in the last few years. What used to be watercooler gossip and office Christmas parties has turned into zoom calls and the occasional interruption from a co-worker’s dog. And even though having remote flexibility has become a perk that most job seekers are looking for, it puts an inevitable strain on workplace culture — which is a real problem and one that might cause top talent to look elsewhere when searching for a new position. In fact, 46% of job seekers said culture was a leading deciding factor in their search, while 88% found it at least relatively important. That being said, having a cohesive culture in a company is crucial to the business's success. 

So if your company is lacking a strong culture, it might be hard for employees to stay motivated. It also causes issues cross-functionally. When your teams aren't properly aligned and miscommunication comes into play, time is wasted, jobs are done incorrectly and chaos becomes obvious to all employees, which leads to a lack of trust and ultimately higher rates of employee turnover. But as important as having a strong culture is for a company, creating it is a delicate process. Like any relationship, it takes time to build trust and thorough communication, but patience and persistence in this case are mandatory and well worth it. For example, culture attracts high-caliber employees and leads to a 33% increase in overall revenue. 

What is a coaching culture? 

Think back to a time when you were part of a high-functioning, high-achieving sports or academic team. What were some of the qualities that made that team successful? It’s likely that some of the common denominators of its culture consisted of a solid understanding of motivation, accountability, and trust. Having peers on the same level of engagement while working towards a common goal drives high performance. The same stands for teams within a company. Team leaders such as managers and supervisors heavily influence the performance of other members of their team as well as the company’s culture, which is why the idea of a coaching culture works. 

Contrary to popular belief, coaching isn’t exclusively for athletics and academics — it applies to everyday challenges as well, and especially when more than one person is needed to reach a certain goal. To break it down further, a coach can be defined as someone focused on helping an individual unlock their own potential. Having a leader that obtains a coaching mentality radiates positivity, encouragement, and resilience; all while contributing to culture. 

What is workplace coaching? 


A recent study conducted by SHRM found that 84% of American workers say poorly trained people managers create a lot of unnecessary work and stress. So it’s not surprising that leaders and managers are major players when it comes to establishing the quality of a company’s culture. A good manager makes all the difference. In fact, it’s been reported that there is a 70% difference in the quality of culture between companies with poor and encouraging team leaders. 

Perhaps one of the best results of having a leader that has adopted a coaching mentality is that it is contagious. A coaching mentality, or work coaching, is spread throughout the entire team and across the organization. And the benefits of a coaching culture are extremely impactful. 

Some of those benefits include:

  • Unified teams. Work coaching provides cohesion amongst teams by reiterating a common goal. By working together cross-functionally, challenges are addressed with new perspectives and solutions are created from innovative viewpoints. 
  • Accountability. When employees feel that their efforts directly impact the lives of their co-workers and vice versa, accountability is held to a higher standard and trust is created. 
  • Resilience. Whether the outcome is a win or a failure, each obstacle is a learning experience. A coaching culture encourages employees to focus on the opportunity to learn and grow, rather than to dwell on the experience. 
  • Engagement. A study found that corporations with motivated workers outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%. A coaching culture encourages high engagement by recognizing wins, making employees feel in-tuned, aligned, and appreciated by the company; establishing loyalty between employer and employee.

What workplace coaching is not

Now that we’ve defined what a coaching culture looks like, it’s important to understand what a coaching culture is not. Although leaders are expected to oversee employees, it does not mean that their participation is not expected. It’s important for managers to explicitly lead by example, invest in their employee’s tasks, and understand what they are asking of them. 

It is also important to recognize the difference between coaching and mentoring. Being a coach involves getting hands-on, digging deep to find solutions, and being a team contributor. While mentors do play a role in an individual’s growth, it is accompanied by a certain level of disconnect. Mentors are rarely involved in the task at hand and are often biased based on their previous experiences. 

How to create a coaching culture at work

The first step to take in building a coaching culture is to start with your company's values. Define qualities that your brand and your product align with. Values create consistency, so it’s important that they are reflected in everything that you do. It’s equally as important to understand that no two companies are the same. In other words; no two companies possess the same culture. Find avenues that make your company stand out and use them to your advantage. Create a culture that is specific to your workplace and goals. 

Start at the top

Managers and team leaders are spokespersons for your organization. To their direct reports, they are the face of your company; so it’s always smart to start at the top when you are attempting to improve company culture. In the case of managers, starting with an external coach has proven to be an ideal method. An external coach can supply an outside perspective and unbiased insights. In addition, investing in employee development can provide a confidential outlet for your managers to discuss problems that might otherwise lead to conflict if discussed within the organization. 

Make coaching a part of your everyday processes

In addition to the direct impact external coaching will have on those being coached, it will also translate throughout your entire organization. As mentioned before, a coaching culture is contagious. Implementing coaching in a small group starts out as a process, but it develops into a part of the culture. 

Find coaching advocates

If you’re looking for ways to improve company culture, the key is to find leaders that are enthusiastic and eager to grow and learn within the organization. They must also be willing to foster the growth of those around them. Growth almost always follows a challenge or obstacle that must be overcome. While some managers might feel uncomfortable getting hands-on and playing the role of a work coach with their employees, those that understand the benefits of a coaching culture will thrive as leaders. They will enable others to understand their full potential and help them create processes to reach it. They will be fully invested in the betterment of the culture at their workplace and will advocate for employee growth and development.  

Why coaching matters in the workplace

Whether remote or on-site, people spend a lot of their time interacting with their coworkers. All of those interactions and experiences make up that culture. They also contribute to how an employee feels about the company as a whole. It is important to create a working environment that encourages your employees to deliver their best efforts at all times, to be collaborative, and supportive, and to challenge each other. 

Working alongside Valor Coaches allows your people to become influential role models; enabling them to share valuable lessons and insights with their colleagues so that they all can thrive. Valor Performance coaching provides a customized approach to your organization’s needs through an in-depth 360 assessment to determine areas to improve, goals and challenges that your organization might be facing. Schedule a demo to learn more. 

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