The 6 Pillars of a High-Performance Coaching Culture

Now that you know What Makes a Successful Coaching Culture, let’s look at the 6 pillars of creating a High-Performance Coaching Culture. These 6 pillars can be summarized into P.L.A.C.E.S.

Pillar #1 – Prepare Coaching Champions as Role Models

The process of coaching, when executed properly by work teams, produces egalitarian, high-trust relationships that transform conventional Superior/Subordinate/Competitor relationship and progresses towards a collaborative Coach/Coachee/Partner relationship.

In high performance cultures, there are role models to set the examples for others to emulate. These role models are known as coaching champions; people who deeply believe in the power of coaching, diligently practice it to grow themselves as well as people they work with grow; and passionately promote coaching as a mainstream people management tool throughout the organisation. These coaching champions make it a point of opening up candid and honest dialogue to create harmonious connections and high trust. Trust is essential because it directly supports the high quality working relationship that leads to even higher performance.


Pillar #2 – Link Coaching Initiative to Business Priorities

To determine whether the coaching initiative ‘works’ for the organisation, it has to make a positive impact on the business bottom line. As such, it makes great sense to link the coaching initiative to support the business priorities as that is where the key focus of top management will be.

For example, if the number one business priority is to increase market share, then the question to ask is, “How could coaching support increasing market share?”

In that sense, coaching must be fully integrated into every component of the business systems from the people perspective as they are fully responsible for all business results. Coaching may not be the super wand that solves every problem but it is certainly a critical part of the equation. Without coach-leaders at all levels within the organisation working synergistically with the team to draw out their greatest performance , the number one business priority of increasing market share will not be sustainable.


Pillar #3 – Activate Multi-Channel Communication Flow

Most organisational initiatives if not all are fighting for attention amongst other initiatives. Usually the one that has the highest visibility or ‘shouts the loudest’ will gain attention from the intended audience. That is why activating as many communication channels as possible would help the initiative tremendously in sustaining the stakeholders’ mindshare.

In a coaching culture there is a massive emphasis on expanding these communication channels and making them truly powerful at delivering what they are designed to deliver. It becomes the responsibility of every member in a coaching culture to proactively seek, strive to understand and non-defensively respond to the feedback and the party who is delivering it.

A great way to do this is to set up an Internal Coaching Council, where regular meeting are arranged two to three times a year, at which representatives from each division talk about recent coaching developments. Coaches share their experiences and success stories with each other, including best practices examples. In this manner, a collaborative learning environment is created and communication is further enhanced and sustained.


Pillar #4 – Create an Internal Coaching Pool

Creating a coaching culture is a long term program and there has to be a continuous development agenda to produce sufficient coaches to meet the wide array of needs. The answer to that is to establish a sufficiently large pool of qualified internal coaches with different experience, expertise and dynamism.

It helps the organisation in sharing of coaching resources through a shared service, shared cost approach; building of synergy interaction and professional relationships within and across the organisation; boosting of individual and organisational performance to enhance results and strengthening the culture of learning and development.


Pillar #5 – Enrol Top Management Involvement/Participation

Organisational cultures take their cue from its leaders at the top. They set the tone, pace and expectations for what is right and what is wrong – what is acceptable and what is not. When they get involved in the coaching process, they transform their leadership style from being the boss of people to the coach for people.

Involving top management in the coaching process sends out a strong message to the entire organisation and helps to address preconception.  Coaching is about applied leadership, requiring the best of what leaders know about people management. Leaders who master coaching skills learn to create powerful conversations and provide emotionally-intelligent feedback where examples are set to guide productive change, passionate engagement and inspired action.


Pillar #6 – Strategies for Measuring Coaching Effectiveness

Coaching initiatives failed not solely because it is ineffective. More often than not, coaching initiatives failed because there is an acute lack of clarity about the eventual desired outcome. This leads to organisation being handicapped in evaluating internal coaches and the outcome of the specific coaching initiative. As the nature of coaching is constantly flowing, there is no one evaluation method that makes the cut. Sometimes, all it takes is Level 1 and Level 2 of Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation; sometimes, it requires sophisticated approach like return of experience. One thing is for sure and that is the organisation and its internal coaches must adhere to best practices to develop highly effective evaluation strategies.


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