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How the Best Companies Are Using Coaching to Accelerate Workforce Productivity

Coaching is not an isolated practice―it's a management discipline that influences both development and performance. When embraced, valued, and demonstrated enterprise-wide, a culture of coaching prevails, which significantly correlates to market performance.

Yet, many organizations admit they're not where they want to be in the use of coaching. In the new i4cp report, Creating a Coaching Culture, only 20% of the 274 respondents rate their companies highly in using coaching effectively, with 37% stating they are barely or not at all effective. These less-than-stellar results are mirrored in how well companies model a coaching culture, with just 23% in the highest ranks and 42% in the lowest.

The report reveals four key findings that demonstrate how high-performance organizations are addressing coaching:

1. Establish coaching as an organizational competence
Organizations with the strongest coaching cultures use coaching broadly and deeply―to help individuals reach their full performance potential and to help them strengthen targeted skills. What's more, they invest in training managers how to coach and also leverage the talents of peer coaches.

In a case study included in the report, Campbell Soup Has the Right Recipe for Coaching, Emily Riggs, director, global talent management, describes how the Campbell Way for Coaching ensures that coaching is a critical ingredient in the organization's global talent strategy.

2. Use coaching to transfer knowledge
The use of coaching for knowledge transfer can accelerate collaboration, improve performance, boost engagement, and help maintain institutional knowledge―it's good for the enterprise level as well as the individual level. In fact, five times as many high-performance organizations as lower-performing ones use coaching to transfer knowledge.

In another case study, W.W. Grainger Leverages Peer Coaches for New and Senior Leaders Alike, senior manager, management development, Don Stanley shows how the company's alumni network for Grainger's First-Time Managers program developed peer coaching skills in participants that facilitated the sharing of learning from the program.

3. Involve executives who are passionate about coaching
The visible support and modeling of coaching by top leaders goes a long way toward creating a culture of coaching. Even more importantly, the lack of executive-level sponsorship for coaching is a prime obstacle which presents a triple whammy of barriers: To effective coaching, to have a coaching culture, and to market performance.

4. Build coaching accountability, capability, and measurement
In addition to lacking an executive-level sponsor, three other barriers often keep organizations from being as effective at coaching as they could be:
  • Coaching skills aren't widely mastered: 49% overall
    Providing training to internal coaches is correlated to both having a coaching culture and to coaching effectiveness, and 53% of high-performance organizations do provide such training.
  • Coaching accountability is not consistently enforced: 50% overall
    Including coaching in managers' accountabilities is correlated to both having a coaching culture and to coaching effectiveness, and twice as many high-performance organizations as low-performers do include such accountability.
  • Outcomes of coaching are not measured: 49% overall
    Measuring coaching success is correlated to both having a coaching culture and to market performance. High-performance organizations do so through measurements at the individual level (such as changes in productivity, targeted behavior, or performance evaluations) and at the organizational level (such as retention of those coached or bottom line impact on business).

A culture of coaching helps employees to reach new goals, teams to achieve greater synergy, and companies to accelerate their productivity. It doesn't arise simply from launching a new initiative; it is created from the individual and collective efforts of those who coach effectively and those who are effectively coached.

i4cp members can download the full Creating a Coaching Culture report. Non-members can download the preview edition.

If you want to learn additional coaching tips, consider these AMA seminars:
Coaching and Counseling for Outstanding Job Performance 
 
Coaching: A Strategic Tool for Effective Leadership

About the Author(s)

Donna Parrey is senior research analyst at i4cp.