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Coaching managers to coach


A senior manager in my organisation wants to train all the line managers in coaching skills so that a "coaching culture" becomes embedded in the organisation. I am happy to put together a course to train them in basic coaching skills but just feel it needs more than this. Has anyone launched a culture change of this nature and are there any hints or tips you can give me?
Lindsey Cooper

11 Responses

  1. Coaching managers to Coach
    I have recently begun a 12 month training and coaching incentive at my current workplace to all Man Managers, from Sales Mgrs right the way through to our UK Director.
    I’m happy to talk about putting it together, communication of it, pre-course work, buying into it etc..
    please contact me via email and we could arrange a telephone conversation if this would be of benefit.

  2. Pardon?

    It’s very hard to answer your question – because you haven’t actually said what you want.

    You say your senior manager wants a “coaching culture”, but what does that mean? Performance coaching, life coaching, self-development coaching? Or something else?

    If all s/he wants is line managers to do is provide so-called “performance coaching”, for example, then forget the jargon and the hype – all your managers need is straightforward management skills – communication skills, evaluation skills, team building skills, etc.

    I occurs to me, cynical as it may sound, that if you go ahead without getting a clear, mutually agreed definition of what is wanted then there’s every chance that nothing of any real value is going to happen, no matter how much effort goes into the programme.

    After all, without clearly defined goals how will you know what action needs to be taken? How will you break the processes down into manageable chunks? How will you know when you have done what was required? How will you measure the viability of the overall programme and the ROI?


    Be well

    Andy B.

  3. Question why
    I echo Andy’s comments. It is vital that you understand why this change is being proposed otherwise it just seems like jumping on the next management fad.

    The culture change needs to be linked to overall business strategy. Have you had a major overhaul of your business values, vision and goals. Is there top management buy-in for this change? What experience does the organisation have of coaching? What is the burning platofrm – the need for change? Why should the managers change? After all if they cannot see a need and are happy with a command and control culture they will merely attend a course and carry on in the same old way once back at their desks.

    It may be that you do have all this in place in which case working on the skill sets Andy suggests will be a good place to start. You then need to think about what support strategies will be in place and how the new style will impact on such things as performance management and appraisal systems.

    Probably more questions than answers here but happy to talk further.

    Kind regards

  4. Grab the opportunity
    You are right, there is more to it than pure coaching skills.

    Even though you have not got a precise definition of what is required, there are several characteristics of a coaching culture. In such a culture, managers know what to coach about and the staff know what is expected of them and have taken on the motivational commitment to act. So easy to say; so ignored by most coaching courses.

    The starting point is the role of the manager and the role of their troops. Think of a subordinate as having an enabling responsibility. They enable their customers(internal or external) to do something. Once there are good statements about what the subordinate enables their customers to do there are further questions such as :- How do they do it? How do they know they are doing it well? How can they do it better?

    The best way forward here is start with the managers and run through questions such as What does your department enable your customers to do? And then go onto What do you enable your staff to do? What do you enable your peers to do? What do you enable your boss to do? Most managers have not thought these questions at all. You can embed the approach through job descriptions or individual performance plans. Once the managers know how to think about their own role, they can better help their subordinates.

    Get the above right, mix in the organisations cultural expectations and you are starting to build a coaching framework with issue determination and feedback between individuals being critical skills.

    On courses I lead, I spend the first day on getting the managers tuned into their own and subordinate roles before using the normal skill bases or models the following day.

    If you develop up a scheme like this you can always talk to your boss as you develop it on whether it is what is wanted.

    Hope this is helpful

    John Hall
    [email protected]

  5. coaching materials
    Hi Lindsey
    i am doing an assignment for my CIPD Training Certificate which includes a coaching training intervention. i found the CIPD website useful for actual exercises to download and it refers to other sources as well. got to be a member to access the full info – hope this helps you.
    cheers Rosi

  6. Create a Poole of Coaches?
    Coaching? Such a fashionable word at the moment. We also have been working towards creating a ‘Coaching Culture’ within our organisation. We started with designing a programme where delegates would embark on a three month programme of which at the end they are approved accredited coaches for our company. These people are then put into a ‘poole’ of whom we utilise at anytime & at any level. This has improved both the desire to be coached & become a coach and the culture is now becoming one of ‘enable’ one another rather than ‘tell’. It was worth the investment & working well so far. Good luck with yours. Regards

  7. Coaching and culture
    Coaching is a form of communication and, like communication in organisations, it tends to be seen as top down. By this I mean that senior managers communicate downward, while low level staff rarely communicate upwards. To be an effective coach, you do not have to be a superior.

    If coaching is introduced as something that managers do, a useful skill, another tool, rather than a cultural shift – then it may not be as effective as you would like.

    For example, a number of characteristics of coaching that indicate that it is fundamental to the organisation’s culture:

    1. Everybody is a coach. A manager should be comfortable being coached by a member of their staff.

    2. It’s about learning, not how clever the coach (manager) is.

    3. It involves asking questions – something that managers are often poor at.

    4. It involves listening – something that managers are often poor at.

    5. It takes time – organisations do not always prize reflection and exploration.

    6. Both parties learn.

    A lot of discussions in organisation are transactions of status and have nothing to do with outcomes. If the culture of your organisation is like this Lindsey, you may struggle to change the culture.

    However, on the positive side, if you can get people to adopt an open culture in which coaching takes place, it has an enormous impact on individual and team development.

  8. coaching part of an intergrated ‘change package’
    Hi Lindsey,

    Sounds great to have a ‘coaching culture’ launched within the organisation – recently read a study by Eaton and Brown (2002 in career dev journal vol 7/5 p.284-287) on Vodafone and how they sought to change from a ‘command control – heads down’ culture to a coaching culture.

    The coaching element for managers was intergrated as part of a wider change package of: an organisational values training programme, 360 degree feedback for managers, appraisals for all staff, IT systems, formal and informal team building and structured management dev etc.

    Not sure how the above helps but struck me that ‘coaching culture’ is more than a training programme on coaching skills for managers.

    Also its helpful to train the coachee how to make best use of coaching.

    Hope it all goes well! It’ll be exciting!

    Kind Regards,

    Sarah Duffy

  9. Coaching of coachers
    Hi Lindsey,

    I work for a company that has many years experience delivering coaching training and/or coaching programmes and just wanted to help add/endorse/argue/clarify the points already made.

    Initially, I feel that Andrew Bradbury has a very valid point. One of the keys to successful coaching (or development of ANY kind) is to ascertain exactly what is required. Only by knowing what you’re aiming for will you know whether you’ve achieved it. Which opens up a whole other can of hot potatoes (mixed metaphor intended). Recent research showed that less than a third of all companies actively using coaching or promoting a coaching culture have thought about how to measure the effectiveness other than by anecdotal “evidence”. An important starting point because at some stage you’ll need to measure how effective your programme has been.
    Also, many on your answer-thread seem to agree that senior managers or directors think coaching would be a good thing for subordinates and then delegate the “how” to someone else, unaware that a coaching culture has implications throughout an organisation right to the very top. John Hall makes a good point – “what do you enable your boss to do?”. Keep asking that question at enough levels of heirarchy and you’ll reach the point where “shareholders” or “customers” replaces the word “boss”.

    But I digress.
    The main starting point is to sit down with this senior manager and spend some time focusing on precisely:
    WHY they believe implementing a coaching culture will provide business or organisational benefits;
    WHAT the goal is for the coaching programme – is it to kick-start cultural change, to meet external challenges, to improve teamwork and interpersonal skills within one department etc;
    WHO should be involved – how high up a coaching programme should go;
    SCOPE the project fully. What kind of event(s) will be required ? What budget is there ? Can you do it all on your own or do you need some kind of external expertise ?
    STAKEHOLDERS – who are they and can you get their buy-in ? An important point if “culture change” really is on the agenda !

    Typical – you post a question on Trainingzone, and my answer comes back to you with more questions !

    Sorry for the longevity. If there’s anything more that I can help with then please feel free to contact me.

  10. Clarity of purpose is your first objective
    Hi Lindsey
    I feel as one or two others have said that you first need to clarify your and your managers objectives. Provide yourself and the other team members with a clear programme that is outcome led.
    if i can be of any more assistance e mail me

  11. time to coach
    I was interested in the question and also the answers…there is no mention (explicitly)of one of the issues that I have come across repeatedly in the coaching arena.
    Managers already feel that they have more than enough operational responsibility to fill their 50 hour week so where will they find the time to coach?
    One organisation I have been involved with recently started by redefining manager’s jobs to replace some operational responsibility with a responsibility to coach their teams.
    This has contributed significantly to the overall programme that has had major impact on the bottom line revenue and profit improvement.

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