What do you do when your organisation is facing major challenges and you don't have a budget to develop your people? How do you get people to step up to new roles without sending them on expensive training courses? The answer to these questions may lie closer to home than you think.
I've been speaking with a number of small businesses lately and this is exactly the situation in which they find themselves. Pressure to manage changes in legislation, develop new markets and anticipate the impact of Brexit on their current markets is eating up their energy. And with many people fearful of change and not always sure how they will cope it's a testing time for organisations of all types and sizes. Have you ever wondered how some businesses survive?
Learning by example, developing new skills on the job and asking for advice and guidance have been traditional ways of getting to grips with a new role. Experienced business owners and managers sharing their knowledge and encouraging less experienced employees to step up to new challenges is nothing new. These approaches are all forms of mentoring. And if you've ever asked someone how to do something and got a sense that they are drawing the answers from you rather than telling you what to do, then you've experienced coaching too.
The companies I spoke to work very much along these lines. Sharing knowledge, working together on problems, supporting each other and accepting a level of challenge from each other are the norm if they are to survive and thrive with little help.
However, once an organisation grows it may become more structured, less informal, more target driven and the Finance Director will have a keen eye on the bottom line. As structures become more rigid, some of the knowledge sharing, which the organisation previously benefitted from, can fall by the wayside. The "coaching culture" or mutual support, which was once so strong, can become less apparent as people compete with each other to succeed and improve their position.
So what is a coaching culture? How can it help your business? And how can you create it?
“Coaching is a predominant style of managing and working together, and where a commitment to grow the organisation is embedded in a parallel commitment to grow the people in the organisation”. These are the words of Clutterbuck and Megginson, in their book 'Making coaching work: creating a coaching culture'.
Here are some real life examples of situations in a business where there is resistance to change and where coaching and mentoring can help to grow people as well as growing the organisation:
The culture of an organisation
Where an organisation is generally resistant to change and does not see the value of it, sponsoring and committing to a coaching and mentoring programme will help to promote and encourage people to stretch and challenge themselves
Individuals feeling threatened by the need to change
This sometimes happens when those who are leading the change have not engaged people’s energies. These leaders are focussed on making things happen and can benefit from coaching and time to think about how they raise the energy of the colleagues and employees they depend on to make it happen.
Lack of understanding about why a change needs to happen
The nature of the change may be an issue or the process of change may be an issue. Employees may not understand the benefits and need to be engagedthrough coaching conversations and encouraging feedback. They probably have ideas which will help.
Lack of communication or trust
People inside and beyond the business aren’t seeing the benefits of making the changes, so confidence in the need for change falters. It's important to celebrate achievements and share success and get everyone involved.
Employees fearing the unknown
If successes go unrecognised it may reinforce a culture of being risk averse. Businesses take risks in order to evolve and grow and a well supported coaching and mentoring approach can help to raise skills and confidence in the ability of the organisation to adapt.
If any of these scenarios look familiar to you, perhaps you should consider encouraging and building a culture of coaching in your business? And maybe you can identify some people who are natural mentors in your organisation – those with influence and a way of supporting others and introducing them to new challenges?
At Blue Pebble Coaching we have experience of running workshops to help you get started on introducing a coaching culture into your workplace. A series of interactive, practical activities highlight the value of coaching and how it can get results, giving you the tools you need to get started.
During our workshop you will:
- Discover what motivates different generations of your employees and why some people seem less engaged than others
- Learn how the coaching process supports setting and achieving goals
- Recognise the difference between coaching and mentoring and how to use them effectively in your business to get results
- Understand how to lead a successful coaching session and follow it up
Investing a few hours to discover how a culture of coaching could help your business may be one of the best investments you make.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or call 01473 625115 and we’ll be happy to visit you and talk about how we can help.
Director and Principal Consultant, Blue Pebble Coaching Ltd