Coaching Culture - what is it?
What is coaching culture and how can I have it? A simple breakdown.



Thrive has one purpose – to encourage companies to explore their relationships with staff so that they can achieve a true coaching culture. You may have heard the phrase ‘coaching culture’. Use of the term has undoubtedly increased, particularly now we’re navigating a return to normal life. But what does it actually mean? Well, get yourself comfortable, and let us give you a breakdown of just how crucial a coaching culture can be, and how leading in a coachlike way can not only attract, but retain the very best brains in the business. You never know. They may already be at your company.


The characteristics of Coaching Cultures.

A coaching culture rewards contribution, not ego. The manager always shows an interest in their team’s input. The playing-field is level – all staff members’ opinions hold the same weight.

A big part of achieving a coaching culture is promoting coachlike leadership, in which the leader has an unspoken duty to release the talent of their team. To give permission and encourage their staff to talk, narrate, and ultimately shape their thoughts for themselves.

Coachlike leadership exists in an egoless system. It should never be the case that a leader is defined by their technical mastery. They should be defined by believing that they are better for drawing on the expertise and experiences of their team and welcoming their thoughts.


Why is a Coaching Culture so important?

The type of work that potential employees are going to be engaging with is a growing crucial factor in job hunting. More and more people want to feel like they’re part of something, and that they are contributing to something meaningful. This has sparked a desire amongst organisations to promote a purpose-led culture at both the organisational level, and the team level. Being purpose-led offers a solid foundation for a coachlike culture.

People want to feel involved with what a company is doing, rather than feeling that things are being done to them. Staff need to have an environment where creativity in ideas is actively encouraged. Ask for their opinions on what happens in their day-to-day job. Include them in decisions, and create a space where they know that their opinions are sincerely valued. Let them know what their role is in the company’s purpose.

Once the initial training around processes and operations in the job is completed, the rest should rely on vibrancy and energy from the management and wider office culture. Rather than focusing on bonuses and promotions based on your own knowledge as a leader, an ideal shift would be to grant these rewards based on the performance of the team; for knowing, for caring, for stimulating, for listening, for retaining, and for being the most captivating example of leadership you can be. When this concept clicks for leaders and organisations, an opportunity for huge growth is possible.


What is Coachlike Leadership?

Coachlike leadership recognises that the vast majority of the expertise, knowledge and understanding that you need lies within your own organisation. This is in stark contrast to the traditional mindset that many companies follow – that the way in which we add value as a leader is to tell people what to do. Put simply, coachlike leadership flips the traditional notion that the leaders are the ‘keepers of the competence’ on its head. It challenges the thought that asking them what to do is the quickest, easiest way to do things.

Listen to the people who are actually doing the job day to day. They have on-the-ground experience, and will know the ins and outs of what the company does that works, and what really doesn’t. They are the people whose ideas can best move your company forward.


How can you make your management style ‘coachlike’?

The necessity for bringing in external consultants can be entirely erased if companies are able to embrace a coaching culture. Sometimes, it can be as simple as asking your team ‘what do we do that’s stupid?’ to turn a business (and its profits) around. Recognising the talent that already exists within your organisation and mobilising that can be the easiest step in creating growth and building reputation.


Look to the future

Adopting a coachlike leadership approach involves looking to the future, rather than ruminating on the past. It’s fine to talk about things that have happened, but this should never take up more than 5-10 minutes at the beginning of a meeting. Leave the past where it is, and draw heavily on inquiry-based thinking. Use questions like:

  • “What haven’t we tried?”
  • “What have you seen before that has worked”
  • “What isn’t working that we should think about getting rid of?”

Get people talking

One conversation is better than multiple conversations. Get everyone speaking and contributing their valuable ideas and observations of daily practice. Mobilise the bystanders. No-one should be sitting there not speaking, and a good way to prevent this is to give a warning on the next question, allow the quiet ones a bit of time to reflect, and then invite them to share their thoughts.

Make statements questions

Turn statements into questions that start with ‘what’. It creates conversations, which will be richer and more informative as a result. ‘Have you’ questions often lead to one-word answers. ‘Have you had a good day?’ will likely only give you a yes or no, but ‘what has been good about your day’ offers an invitation to a person to express themselves, and give you detail that you otherwise wouldn’t have heard.

Get to know your staff

The fundamental heart of coaching in management should simply be; “Everyone has something to contribute”. Invest in ‘hanging out’ with your staff rather than checking that they’re getting the job done. Make getting to know your people part of your company strategy.

Ask questions. Make people feel valued. Listen to your staff. Consider their opinions. Watch them grow. See your company Thrive.

If you want to find out how coachlike your current leadership practices are, or you want personalised recommendations on upgrading your management style with coachlike characteristics, visit this link for an assessment.

It’s quick, free, and you’ll get customised results instantly: