As highlighted in Chapter 1 it is important to identify whether your organization is ready for coaching.
Introducing a coaching environment may have a very far-reaching impact; individuals need to think about their very best learning experiences, to remember what inspired them, to think about how they can recreate special learning. Managers need to forget about being in control, and instead help their team members to explore by asking open questions and being provocative, and although individuals should never be taken unsupported outside their comfort zone they can be encouraged to push their boundaries beyond their normal learning experiences. Equally trainers could also perform the role of coach and may need to recognize that in the future classroom training may become much more focused on the individual, and as a result small discussion groups or one-to-one coaching may occur more frequently than classroom sessions.
Traditionally coaching was something that might have been offered only to senior executives or fast-track employees. However as more and more people become aware of the benefits of one-to-one support coaches may be found operating at a number of levels within an organization. Another major advantage is that if people really begin to adopt coaching behaviours the organization becomes much more of a learning environment. People really do start to learn from each other, but it needs attention to survive, and this is one of the major challenges. In any large organization it takes constant attention to maintain any initiative. Too many are introduced to an idea, process and way of working, only to find that it is not sustained.
Coaching if it is to be successful has to fit into the broader context of business development within an organization. Importantly it should not be seen in isolation. It represents one of the most naturally evolving processes of developing your human capital. In today's working society individuals are often absorbed into an existing culture rather than create their own working environment. Therefore any strategy to introduce or extend a coaching culture needs to be considered carefully and positioned within the broader context of not just attracting, retraining and motivating talent, but also addressing the business requirements of ROI and cost savings.
You may find it helpful to gain an overall picture of your current coaching environment by identifying answers to the following questions:
How does your organization talk about learning and development?
Is HR/OD represented on the board?
Who receives coaching?
How does your organization develop coaches?
Is access to external coaches encouraged?
Are line managers encouraged to coach?
Is coaching a natural and ongoing process within your organization?
An important part of your consideration could also be based on answers to the following:
How could coaching enhance the development of learning within this organization?
What benefits could it bring to our overall business strategy?
How could it help us attract, retain and motivate talent?
How can it help us to transform our performance?
What other tangible benefits could it bring us?
How far have we adopted a coaching culture?