Why “in the Moment” Coaching is the Foundation of a Coaching Culture
People’s day-to-day interactions are what give culture its feel and flavor.
- Are people caring or curt?
- Are they honest or evasive?
- Do they get curious when things don’t go as expected, or caught up in their own emotional reactions?
It’s these “in the moment” micro choices that define our experience of culture. That’s why I believe that “in the moment” coaching is the foundation needed to build a coaching culture.
When people embrace coaching-based leadership, they integrate coaching approaches into any conversation, with anyone, at any time. As a result, coaching becomes how things get done. And how things get done is the essence of culture.
It’s important to remember that coaching is much more than a skill. It’s a way of looking at the world—a worldview—that can be expressed in many different ways. A coaching worldview emphasizes:
- Igniting insight versus arguing points
- Iterative learning versus “silver bullet” answers
- Appreciating how others view situations versus judging differences
- Illuminating choices versus giving direction
- Realizing potential versus correcting “infractions”
When there is a shared, organization-wide focus on translating these foundational coaching perspectives into day-to-day interactions, coaching cultures spring to life.
Teaching select groups of people how to conduct in-depth, goal-based coaching relationships that take place over time can be a terrific extension of a coaching culture. Deepening the coaching skills of a few people, such as managers, champions and internal coaches, can be a great way to take a coaching culture to the next level, but I don’t believe it’s what a coaching culture is founded on.
When only a select few people are trained in coaching skills it can imply hierarchy. Some people can do coaching and some people can’t. It can also imply that coaching is a discrete activity or event, versus a way of looking at the world that is reflected in how all people engage with each other everyday. It can also be very expensive because it takes a lot of training and practice to teach people to be “full fledged” coaches, making it price prohibitive for coaching to be a shared, cultural experience.
The message is in the medium. You have to ask yourself, what’s the message that’s being sent in the way coaching is experienced in your organization? When everyone receives “in the moment” coaching skills training, it sends the message that coaching is our new way of life, for everyone. It’s not a special skill for a few special people. It’s who we all are. It’s what we value, and therefore, it’s how we engage with each other. That’s the foundation needed to grow a vibrant, shared coaching culture.
Dianna Anderson, MCC
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