11 months ago


16 Coach Culture A coach

16 Coach Culture A coach plays a lot of different roles for different people. It’s part confessional; I listened to the same stories again and again and again. It’s also part-contributor: I helped develop business plans. People could think out loud with me, bounce ideas off me, confide in me when they had no one else to trust. The unique thing about a coaching relationship is that your coach doesn’t have an agenda. If someone tells me, “I want to quit my job,” I don’t have to be invested. I can ask honest questions: “Tell me about that. Why would you quit your job? What’s going on there?” In 2015, I left that company to become an external coach. Now, I’m not tied to one company; I work with a lot of different people in different industries, especially the leaders. Executives often feel there’s no one they can trust, which is where I come in. They can’t share their ideas with their superiors because they’re worried about that relationship. They can’t share their ideas with their subordinates because they’re trying to put on a good face. Not to mention, they don’t know how the individuals will use the information either against each other or against them. A coach relationship is entirely confidential; my job is to partner with you. Coach Carl Dierschow shared that when he works with leaders, he helps them understand the benefits of opening up to employees and even in personal relationships, such as family—“because usually, other aspects of preserving the relationship take over the ability to be open and vulnerable. People resonate with that a lot.”

Introduction 17 TIME According to the research done by the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF), the number-one deterrent to implementing a coaching culture is a lack of time. This perception of a lack of time seems to also apply to the individual manager or leader providing coaching. However, consistent feedback from my clients who are leaders, and other coaches who are training leaders in coaching skills, has shown that although coaching may take more upfront time than the ‘tell, sell, yell’ technique so many drivers prefer, the total time invested is much smaller in the long run. Michael Nunemaker, a leadership development program manager and coach in a US government organization, shares this anecdote: One of their frontline managers, Ed, had an employee who would routinely, seeking validation on a technical issue, take up 3 hours a week of this manager’s time. But once the leader was trained in coaching skills, he learned how to create a true dialogue, and this time paradigm completely changed. Instead of 3 hours a week, he was still visiting regularly—but for 10 minutes, not three hours. Michael refers to this leader as his poster child, due to his enthusiasm and evangelism of coaching skills for leaders. Most businesses, as you might have guessed, do not utilize this kind of coaching. Most companies do not build a coaching culture. The manager decides what needs to be done and how; the manager is compelled to provide far more oversight and control over the employee’s process, output, and even how it is portrayed. The employees are intimidated and constantly afraid of punishment. There’s no room for experimentation or failure. There isn’t, in the