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January 2018
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TD Magazine

The Case for a Coaching Culture

Research links a coaching culture to engagement and revenue growth.

Strong coaching cultures are a growing trend—and they can benefit the entire organization. A 2017 study from Human Capital Institute and the International Coach Federation found that one in four organizations has a strong coaching culture, representing a nearly 50 percent increase from the findings in their 2016 study, which reported that 17 percent of organizations had such a culture.

The researchers defined a strong coaching culture as one that meets at least five of these six criteria:

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  • Employees value coaching.
  • Senior executives value coaching.
  • The organization has a dedicated line item budget for coaching.
  • Coaching is available to all employees.
  • Managers, leaders, or internal coaches receive accredited coach-specific training.
  • All three coaching modalities (internal coach practitioners, external coach practitioners, and managers or leaders using coaching skills) are present in the organization.

This type of culture is linked to higher engagement and better financial performance. Organizations with a strong coaching culture have a larger percentage of highly engaged employees than other organizations (61 percent, compared with 53 percent). Additionally, 46 percent of organizations that reported having a strong coaching culture also said that their 2016 revenue growth was above that of their peers, compared with 39 percent of organizations without a strong coaching culture.

New managers also reap the benefits of a coaching-based culture. Survey respondents frequently cited coaching when asked to describe effective management styles, and they identified coaching and developing others as the most valuable skill for new managers. However, 64 percent of all organizations do not offer first-time people managers training on how to coach their teams, possibly forgoing an excellent opportunity to develop new managers.

Whether coaching is pervasive or not, organizations have several ways of using it to foster success. The study recommends making coaching available to employees of all ages and experience levels as a great way to promote a culture of engagement and performance.

About the Author
Shauna Robinson is a junior research analyst at the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Her previous positions at ATD include human capital specialist and communities of practice coordinator.

Prior to working for ATD, Shauna was a senior editorial assistant at Wiley in San Francisco, California. Shauna received a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley.
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