Leaders make an impact throughout every level of an organization. However, the best leaders recognize that creating a positive and lasting impact has much to do with workplace culture and how employees are supported and empowered in their roles.
How influential is workplace culture on a company’s success? Research from Culture Partners shows that 96% of respondents said that culture was more important than strategy in impacting business results.
One vital element in creating a better workplace culture is looking closely at your employee engagement levels and implementing strategies to improve them. The recent State of the Global Workplace report from Gallup has flagged that 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work, estimating the total economic cost of this figure to be approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity.
Coaching skills are becoming more valuable in companies that want to shift the culture in their workplace and create an environment where employees feel respected, heard, and valued.
Coaching should start at the top–with the CEO for the most significant impact.
Let’s look at what two CEOs see as the benefits of building their coaching capacity in the workplace and how leaders can become more coach-like in the way they interact with their teams.
How CEOs drive the biggest benefits of coaching in the workplace
While it may be challenging for organizations to know how to measure workplace culture, there are key indicators that can help you assess how coaching skills are driving results in your company. Many benefits of coaching in the workplace are expanded dramatically when the coaching begins at the top.
Here are a few advantages you can expect as CEOs develop their coaching skills:
Change the dynamic between the leader and team
CEOs can be hard-wired to give advice to employees, which can alienate rather than create connection. With better coaching skills, leaders can listen and understand what an employee is experiencing to foster better engagement and commitment.
Alison Hoskins, CEO of Integris, believes coaching skills help people feel connected to purpose and believes there is a huge correlation between coaching and engagement and retention. “When you truly believe the answer lies within your people and even more importantly, you can make sure your people feel that you believe this of them, people are going to feel valued, which in turn drives engagement and is all part of creating a place where people want to stay,” says Hoskins. “Building your coaching skills is instrumental in how your team perceives how much you believe in them.”
Leaders at the top can be tough to engage with and a bit unreachable for most people in an organization. Many employees feel their requests are a bother, which cuts the CEO out of important insights. When a CEO is more coach-like, employees are more likely to find them approachable and human.
Coaching helps create a caring culture in the workplace. “Coaching for compassion is about finding out what that person is capable of doing and helping them get there in the best possible way,” says Monte Pedersen, CEO of Keyne Insight.
Create better communication
It isn’t always easy for leaders to communicate with younger generations. A more cohesive connection between generations can make your organization a more attractive place for young people to work. “When communicating with younger workers, coaching skills are especially important, as they give leaders the self-awareness to ensure you truly are giving young people a voice – a voice they feel is being heard,” says Hoskins.
Pedersen recommends shifting how coaching is viewed in the organization, suggesting that companies set an expectation to establish the idea that “coaching is a collaborative piece of communication.”
Increase performance in key areas
Traditional performance reviews don’t work, but coach-like leaders can effectively increase performance in every team member. With more coaching conversations happening, CEOs and team members can create strong action plans with concrete deliverables that increase performance on actual issues the leadership team and employees are facing.
Coaching also drives a big impact when it comes to ensuring employees are in the right roles and able to deliver their best in your organization. “It has tremendous value,” says Pedersen, noting that another significant benefit of coaching conversations is helping ensure employees are in the best roles for their talents. “In those situations where you may not have a good fit, you can help somebody find what they want to do.”
Model coach-like behaviour for other leaders
A CEO is the steward of company culture and must demonstrate ongoing coaching for the rest of the leadership team. Others look to leaders to set the tone in the organization, creating the catalyst for a coaching culture that gets results.
The biggest impact lies with CEOs adopting a coaching model and nurturing these skills in their leadership teams. The latter move “has real potential to change the culture,” says Alison Hoskins, noting that “creating a culture of coaching has the potential to transform a workplace” with a critical shift from telling people how to fix things to creating a team of problem solvers.
Strengthen the organization as a whole
Implementing coaching skills from the top down can help build your organization’s coaching capacity and reinforce it as the established culture in your organization. Pedersen points out that even when things flow pretty well from top to bottom, the reality is that in business, you need to have the ability to collaborate cross-functionally with other departments. Creating a culture of coaching across the organization can improve these interactions.
“Obviously, if [a CEO] models and demonstrates it, you’re going to see that being emulated throughout the organization. Then when those cross-functional interactions need to occur, they’re going to be better because people understand where this is coming from,” says Pedersen.
5 simple ways CEOs can become more coach-like
CEOs should see their roles as head coach of a team of high-performers. When leaders improve their coaching skills, the performance of the entire team improves–this is one of the biggest benefits of coaching in the workplace.
While CEOs may have some experience with coaching in the workplace, there are ways to nurture more coach-like leaders on your team.
CEOs can become strong workplace coaches by:
1. Holding people capable
The belief that your people can accomplish amazing things can help create a path of sustainable improvement for every employee. When leaders champion their teams and demonstrate their trust in an employee’s capacity and capability to do well, employees begin to believe in themselves, making it more likely they’ll reach their goals.
2. Practicing curiosity and empathy
Learning about and understanding the people you work with can help you create a caring culture in the workplace, where team members feel connected to the strategy and solutions being implemented.
3. Listening more than they speak
Offering direction to your staff before you’ve listened to their concerns can result in disconnection and wasted effort. Instead, work to listen and build a plan together that will tackle the real problems facing your team.
4. Asking questions to spark collaboration
The people in your organization have valuable contributions to drive the company’s productivity and growth if you learn to trust them. Collaborating instead of commanding takes practice but encourages better buy-in from employees and builds team effort toward the right goals.
5.Creating a culture of respect
When leaders create a culture of respect in the workplace, employees feel heard and valued in their roles, driving higher engagement. Leaders can implement the 3 Cs of coach-like leadership with more check-ins, asking about challenges, and cultivating growth for each team member.
If you’re unsure how to measure workplace culture, try shifting your focus to the positive impact of proven leadership strategies like building your coaching capacity and a coaching culture within your organization.
Boosting the number of coach-like leaders on your executive team is key to sustaining your impact and realizing all the benefits of coaching in the workplace. Leaders who can coach will drive higher employee engagement and satisfaction and improve team performance, with rewarding financial results.
Creating more coach-like leaders on your team can help you bring your company’s mission to life. Book a discovery call with me today to discuss the benefits of coaching in the workplace.
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