Creating a Coaching Culture

Commitment to feedback, candor, and encouragement.

When people describe a coaching culture, you’ll hear assumptions and values like a commitment to feedback, candor, and encouragement; an intent to develop employees and increase their engagement and accountability; and an expectation of continuous feedback and open communication.

What does a coaching culture look like?

  • Leaders and staff use a coaching approach in their day-to-day work
  • Leaders look for ways to help people learn
  • Employees are comfortable and skilled at giving and receiving feedback and having open, honest conversations about work
  • Leaders coach employees for development, not just to improve performance
  • Staff ask each other open-ended questions
  • Teams have clear goals, roles, processes and interactions
  • A focus on delivering results and building the long-term success of the organization

A coaching culture doesn't suddenly appear. In each organization there are beliefs, policies, and practices that drive culture and, in turn, support—or perhaps undermine—company initiatives like coaching. An organization whose leaders want coaching conversations to be "the way we do things around here" needs to build a foundation through communication patterns, beliefs, policies, and practices.

Recent research from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) states that 65% of employees in a strong coaching culture are "highly engaged" and that organizations with strong coaching cultures have higher employee engagement and report higher revenues than their peer organizations.

Lisa Downs, Why You Need a Coaching Culture, December 7, 2017, ATD
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