Some years ago I was a consultant and ILM coach trainer for a Large Housing Group. They wanted to create a coaching culture in their organisation. To begin with, they certainly went the extra mile to support and motivate their senior staff. The group had identified coaching and mentoring as essential methods for supporting staff. They also identified the potential for middle and senior managers to develop.   They wanted to build strong foundations and create a lasting leadership coaching culture throughout the organisation. Quite an undertaking!  Here I take you through the 5 steps which led to that coaching culture.

1. Get buy-in with compelling 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, reduce stress and sickness and ultimately save money on recruitment.

2. 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.  The HRD was keen to ensure that supervision for all the cohorts (4 in total) would be provided. We set up action learning group supervision.  This was extremely valuable support for the newly qualified coaches and ensuring CPD.

3. Ensure commitment

The HRD was careful to agree on the time commitment with the selected group.  They were all successful in gaining the ILM 5 Qualification and they had 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.  The skills were then further cascaded to potential coaches in the team.

4.  The coaching process

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

5. Evaluating the ROI

The evaluation took place 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 the 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.

The result

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 reinforced 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”

Image courtesy of Depositphotos

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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