8 months ago


8 Coach Culture When

8 Coach Culture When employees answer no to that question, it’s as if they’ve already given up. They feel unmotivated, unheard, unimportant. They don’t believe the survey matters. My job included creating the corrective action plan for this survey, and that was the question I most wanted to impact. If an employee feels like management is going to listen to them, they feel valued at that company. I might not have had control over corporate headquarters; I couldn’t give anyone a raise, or more vacation time, or better benefits. But you know what? That’s not what motivates people. MOTIVATION One of my best friends and I called one of my previous workplaces “The Borg.” We joked with each other about whether we’d be “assimilated.” (If you’re unfamiliar with this Star Trek reference, all you probably need to know is that The Borg are an alien race and that their first human encounter with the Star Trek crew begins with “You will be assimilated, resistance is futile”). Obviously, we didn’t feel very connected to that greater company culture—but we had each other. We knew there was at least one other person who felt the same as us, and we could keep coming to work. We unintentionally created our own mini-coaching culture, which kept us motivated when the company didn’t. Many of the same attributes that create a formal, intentional coaching culture—trust, listening, support, strategizing, and accountability—were present in that friendship. Imagine how much more motivated we would have been if that culture was company-wide? In the book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, author Dan Pink cites a study which found

Introduction 9 that once people are paid adequately—defined by Pink as ‘pay people enough to take the issue of money off of the table’—money no longer motivates them. What motivates them is autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy: Employees want to set their own direction. Instead of a manager directing them on how to do it, they should be free to come up with their own solutions. Mastery: Employees should have the freedom to grow and develop in their skillset. They create their own development plan (autonomy) and receive support to improve themselves. Purpose: Employees need to feel connected to what they do, to have a why, to feel like what they’re doing matters and to believe in the mission and values of the company—and their role within it. Illustrating the connection of an employee’s performance objectives to department business plans and/or company goals helps demonstrate purpose as well. These are cultural things—they’re all about the culture of the company. Without these three things, there’s no room for questions, no room for growth, no room to simply say, “I need help.” These are also key aspects of coaching. OVERWORKED AND DISCONNECTED All of us, unfortunately, are probably familiar with the corporate culture of layoffs. As companies struggled through the recession, they chose to cut headcounts rather than cut their scope of work. That created a kind of survivor syndrome: employees feel guilty that their coworkers were laid off, but they’re also thinking, ‘Thank God it wasn’t me.’ They put their heads down, hoping