Cultural transformation in a business setting can be profound and powerful. It can also be challenging as workers grapple with changing roles and expectations. Effective workplace transformation requires a deep commitment from staff, starting at the top of the organization. Without that commitment, the efforts to change how work is done and how employees interact will only go so far. Progressive organizations are increasingly turning to executive coaching to provide leaders with the tools they need, and the introspective insights that good coaching provides.
Leadership coaching is a confidential, one-on-one process whereby leaders address issues related to their work. The main objective of coaching is to provide employees with the tools of self-discovery needed to become more effective in the workplace. Coaching uses the power of inquiry to help the coached executive clearly define for herself what she wants and needs to work on. Using pointed questions and observations, a leadership coach helps the executive discover, mostly on her own, what changes need to happen in her approach. Over time, the coach can hear how the executive uses the tools gained via coaching sessions, change course as needed, and help the leader mastery a new set of skills.
Leaders seek coaching for a range of reasons: succession planning, improving interpersonal and communication skills, developing talented staff members, maintaining work-life balance, improving presentation skills, addressing conflict and learning conflict management skills, improving “managing up,” and gaining self-confidence, to name a few. The effects are palpable. Over time, and often before leaders realize it themselves, others begin to see the changes. Work stressors are lessened. Internal conflicts are resolved. Efficiency increases. Imagine the power that an organization can gain by doing collective leadership coaching. Using coaching effectively within an organization, whether it’s among peer leaders, at different management levels of a department or division, or both, has compounding effects.
When teams are coached together, they begin to develop a shared understanding. They see in others the hard work they themselves are doing to improve. They can recognize, and most importantly acknowledge, the gains their colleagues are making. There are begins to become a common vocabulary among similarly coached bands of leaders. They understand the tools such as DISC, Myers-Briggs and 360 assessment tools (in fact, often teams take them and discuss the results together).
It becomes more possible to address more complex issues such as strategic planning, vision and mission statements, customer identification, succession, and organizational change. Why, because when the inevitable disagreements arise in those areas, the team can fall back on their coaching for perspective and help, knowing colleagues are doing the same. For leadership coaching to be used as a tool for cultural transformation requires many leaps of faith. Participants need to trust the process, know that there is hard work to be done, and that they and their colleagues will be changing. Workers in an area who are not getting coaching should be informed about the work being done and what the desired outcomes are. Transforming workplace culture is deep and profound work. Coaching teams of leaders through these changes will help them and the organization grow.