Create a lasting leadership coaching culture

As a recent consultant and ILM coach trainer for a Large Housing Group, I was impressed with their willingness to put a robust and sustainable coach training programme in place.  To begin with they certainly went the extra mile to support and motivate their senior staff.  The group had identified coaching and mentoring as being essential methods for supporting staff and encouraging potential for middle and senior managers.  In addition, they wanted to build strong foundations and create a lasting leadership coaching culture throughout the organisation. Quite an undertaking!

Step One: Ensuring buy-in from Senior Management & Identifying Objectives

The HR team approached senior management with a clear strategy for a lasting leadership coaching culture which we had discussed and planned. Their objectives were to motivate and encourage staff to take on more senior leadership roles, to reduce stress and sickness and to ultimately save money on recruitment.

Step Two: Set up Robust Coach Training

The HR Manager had identified a core group of staff to train in the ILM Level 5 Coaching & Mentoring Qualifications. I advised using a unique and respectful methodology, David Grove’s Clean Language and symbolic modelling to underpin the training.  We set this up over a period of eight months, training two cohorts of 12 and 10 participants.  Later in the programme, the HRD was keen to ensure that supervision for all the cohorts (4 in total) would be provided and we then set up action learning group supervision, which has been extremely valuable in supporting the newly qualified coaches and ensuring CPD.

Step three: Ensuring commitment

All selected members of staff were highly motivated and had been well briefed on the commitment of time and resources needed.  They were all successful in gaining the ILM 5 Qualification and they now have a core group of trained coaches to support staff.  In addition, they decided to train a group of 9 senior leaders in the ILM Level 7 Executive Coaching and Leadership Mentoring Qualification.  This was so that the core leadership team would be building a lasting leadership coaching culture from the top and supporting middle managers to step up to more senior roles.  Each new ‘coach’ participant on the course was matched with four members of staff who showed potential.  This was very impressive and a huge commitment on the part of the HR team.

Step Four: The coaching process

Matching the ILM participants (Coaches in Training) to potential coachees, setting up agreements, arranging 4 confidential 1-2-1 coaching sessions with at least three members of staff.

Step Five: Evaluating the ROI

As a given, we looked at how the programme would be evaluated and this was done through a variety of measures. At the outset, the HR team decided to interview staff who showed potential and who might be suitable for promotion.  It was discovered that many of them lacked confidence, experience, and inner resources to apply for more senior positions or to approach their line managers.  Absences due to sickness were high and there was a concerning level of stress related illness.

Across this Housing Group, the lasting leadership coaching culture supporting and engaging staff is now the ‘way we do things around here’ There is robust supervision once every two months for all coaches.  New and returning staff are offered a coach as a matter of course.  The coaching for managers with high potential is proving to be highly successful. This is re-enforced by the recent recruitment survey showing over the past two years that £37.000 has been saved due to internal recruitment and retention of key staff.

The HRD told me at the end of the programme; “When people feel supported and valued they stay with an organisation and have the confidence and motivation to seek promotion.  We have invested a great deal of time and resources but the pay-off was worth it”


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Experienced Professional ICF Executive Coach & CSA Dip Supervisor
Specialising in Cross-Cultural Understanding, Advanced Communication and Working with International teams
‘Coaching Skills for Leaders’ and ‘Coaching Supervision at its BEST’ Both ILM validated

Full Spectrum Supervision – Edna Murdoch & Jackie Arnold 2013

AWARDS: Executive Coaching
ECI & Exelerate