Coaching is still a relatively young profession and is certainly still evolving and developing with regards to its definition and how it is being used and leveraged to give rise to significant benefits at many levels. What is also certain is the speed at which coaching is growing. Coaching has very quickly transitioned from being a 1-1 intervention to a 1-many intervention and is being extensively deployed now to support individuals, groups and teams to grow, change, develop and ultimately tap into their fullest potential. The International Coach Federation (ICF) has more than doubled its membership in the last 8 years and, as the world’s largest professional body for coaching, now has over 35,000 members in more than 147 countries. As more coaches join the profession every month, something is definitely happening…

Moreover, we now see rapid growth in the interest of what is being called a “coaching culture” … it seems that some organisations have now recognised the power of this way of working and engaging with people and want to maximise the fullest positive impact that coaching can have across a whole organisation or system. This concept of coaching “culture” is when coaching goes beyond a desired skill set displayed by certain individuals to an environment that not only embraces those skills and competencies more broadly but also includes the principles and philosophies that characterise coaching and coaches. In this way, coaching becomes an integral part of how an organisation functions, it infuses meetings, presentations, practices and processes and is part of business as usual as opposed to something additional that managers have to do “on top of” their role.

What I also find fascinating is the fact that coaching seems to be growing alongside the wave of the 4th Industrial or digital revolution and I see ever more references to “the human vs the machine.” The “machine” or AI in today’s case, is most certainly here to stay, and we seem to be spending such a lot of our time exploring the impact this has on us and society through studies into “the future of work.” At the same, I see coaching being used in new and different ways from helping retirees face a very different phase in their lives to the one they had imagined, to the middle-aged population (who I recently heard referred to as the “frozen middle”), feeling vulnerable and lost as their jobs and prospects are being automated, through to young people still in education or early in their workplace lives facing the challenges of stress and anxiety … and so the list goes on.

So, I could now explore what is it exactly about coaching that makes it so powerful for all of these different people and their challenges and maybe that’s a great topic for another time. For now, however, what I’d like to explore further are questions such as:

  • What could a coaching culture do for my organisation?
  • How could I make that happen?
  • Where do I start?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What is needed to make it happen?
  • What are the steps?
  • What will it really deliver?
  • How do I keep it going?
  • And probably several more questions…

If these questions are of interest to you, then please look out for my upcoming blog series as I am going to be sharing with you some answers that I hope will help you take that first step towards nurturing the type of culture that will lead your organisation to greater success—a culture that is positively influenced by coaching principles and practices. Some readers may be thinking that this type of work is only for very large organisations and I’d like to challenge that perspective. Organisations of any size and structure, within any industry sector, public or private, for-profit or non-profit can benefit from introducing coaching into their system and my blogs will help you to decide what type of approach will work best for you.

If you’re not already convinced, then here are just a few of the many benefits that coaching and coaching cultures can give rise to:

  • Improved results
  • Greater employee engagement
  • More inclusive leadership
  • Increased retention of high performers
  • Enhanced internal mobility
  • Employees better prepared and ready for senior positions
  • More diverse thinking
  • Increased productivity
  • More effective change management
  • Better communication skills and teamwork
  • Enhanced corporate social responsibility
  • More effective leadership
  • Improved decision-making
  • More effective talent development
  • A more sustainable business

Having worked with coaching in organisations for many years, what I do know is that creating a coaching culture is more than just throwing money at training lots of people in coaching skills. In fact, this can even be a waste of money if the broader environment does not sponsor and make good use of these skills and if appropriate measures and true commitment are not in place. High quality and even accredited training for internal coaches and managers and leaders using coaching skills is an important part of the process … and a little forethought into developing a strategy that is just right for your organisation to integrate coaching principles will really enhance your chances of realising a good return on your investment and be able to enjoy some or even all of the benefits noted above!

Tracy Sinclair, MCC

Tracy Sinclair is a multi-award-winning Master Certified Coach (MCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She is also a trained Coaching Supervisor, Mentor Coach and ICF Assessor. Tracy trains coaches and works with managers and leaders to develop their coaching capability. She works as an international Corporate Executive and Board Level Coach, a leadership development designer and facilitator working with a wide range of organisations. Tracy also specialises in working with organisations to support them develop coaching culture. Tracy has co-authored a book Becoming a Coach: The Essential ICF Guide published in 2020 which provides a comprehensive guide to coaching for coaches at all levels of skill and experience, the psychology that underpins coaching and the updated ICF Core Competency Model. In this same year she founded Coaching with Conscience which exists to have a positive impact on society and our environment through coaching. As part of this work, she collaborates closely with MIND, the UK’s leading mental health charity and the British Paralympic Association (BPA). She also offers pro bono personal development and coaching programmes to young leaders (18-25-yrs). Tracy was named as one of the Leading Global Coach winners of the Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Awards of 2019 and was a finalist for the Thinkers50 Coaching and Mentoring Award in 2021. She won the ICF Impact Award for Distinguished Coach in 2023 and is a member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches. She was the President of the UK ICF from 2013-2014 and was an ICF Global Board Director since 2016, serving as Treasurer in 2017, Global Chair in 2018 and Immediate Past Global Chair in 2019 and Vice Chair and Director at Large on the International Coaching Federation Global Enterprise Board in 2021.

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