Creating an effective coaching culture
10th January 2022 | Claudia Filsinger
How embedded is coaching in your organisation?
In the past few decades, coaching has become an established professional learning method.
Some sales organisations have dedicated staff coaches, but leaders tend to underuse coaching to tap into the full potential and motivation of their teams. Frequently job ads for sales leaders include the requirement to coach; however, many feel underequipped, typically being offered only short coaching skills training but little continued coaching support. Many companies have the ambition to create a coaching culture, but underestimate the complexity and resources required to achieve it. This article explores best practices for creating an effective coaching culture and further gives recommendations on maintaining and evaluating it.
Let’s explore the fundamental question first: does coaching work and is it worth investing in a coaching culture? The use of coaching has increased, complementing established learning interventions and the research evidence of its effectiveness is robust. A recent review of quantitative studies concluded that workplace coaching does show a good effect size and on a variety of job-related outcome variables, as well as on resilience, confidence and career satisfaction (De Haan, 2021).
These findings are mirrored by numerous qualitative studies. In the context of sales, leaders have observed increased win rates and revenue, improved forecast accuracy, and a talent-retention effect amongst salespeople being coached. Sales coaching studies have also reported positive coaching outcomes, such as increased productivity and growth (Chapman et al, 2020). Oliver Tate, VP for Revenue Enablement at THG Ingenuity confirms these research findings with his own observations: “Mooney and Brinkerhoff (2008) showed how ineffective ‘sheep dip’ training and development experiences are: we need effective support and reinforcement for any behavioural change to stick. The most effective development is coaching, though combined with a learning programme with agreed outcomes and a supportive manager we provide the best chance of success.”
A study found sales managers’ motivation to coach was higher in organisations with long-term goals and behaviour-based performance measures.
What is a coaching culture?
A coaching culture is defined as coaching being the predominant style of managing and working together, with the organisation’s growth being embedded in growing people (Clutterbuck and Megginson, 2005). This understanding is aligned to contemporary leadership approaches such as servant and participative leadership.