18 Coach Culture end, a lot of room for creativity and innovation in that kind of environment. On the other hand, in a coaching culture, a lot of that can happen in the conversation. You go through the questioning, the design, the outcome, the whole process, with a deeper level of tolerance. It’s safe to fail. In the organizations without that coaching culture, it’s definitely not safe to fail. It’s reason for a pink slip. Managers feel so much pressure to be right, to look right, that it becomes either faster or cheaper to just tell people how to do something. They can’t risk taking the time to investigate or explore. Think of a time you’ve had an idea, and you try to train someone else to implement it. It’s often easier just to say, “Forget it—I’ll do it myself!” The manager doesn’t have time for a coaching culture because he’s doing everybody else’s job for them. And no one is happy about it. In Michael Bungay Stanier’s book, The Coaching Habit, he offers that you can coach using 7 great questions in under 10 minutes! CURIOSITY & CULTURE Curiosity is a big word in coaching. When a leader, a manager, a company, becomes curious, they’re willing to explore alternatives, and they’re willing to learn through failure. People are more ready to be honest. Employees and managers alike learn to be curious and not judgmental about one another’s opinions. They learn how to build each other up and create a better product. Retention improves significantly because they are not just focused on meeting a bottom line; the process of reaching goals is more comfortable, enjoyable, and conducive to creativity. Culture and their product turns around.
Introduction 19 “Culture,” in a company, is made up of the norms of behavior for any given organization. A Coaching Culture can have effects on every area, but it’s important to remember you can have lots of subcultures based on geography or department or field. One of my clients once had an entire team of engineers in India helping on a huge project; oversight was coming from the United States, and there were some important cultural differences. They would have checkpoint meetings to ask for updates, and the group in India would assure them everything was on time. Culturally, in India, it’s more important to be polite and agreeable than it is to be accurate. So even though the timeline was never going to happen, and they knew that way ahead of time, they never admitted it. They felt like it would be disrespectful to the leaders; whereas, culturally, here in the US, accuracy is important. That’s an extreme example, but I think that each company has their own internal culture activities of what they do and how they behave based on that. “So how can we address these differences? Judith E. Glaser’s ‘double-click’ for meaning and understanding could be a tool used to uncover this cultural difference or applying the ICF core competencies, such as building trust, and co-creating the goals and deadlines as a project team. If team members and leaders are in a state of trust, more questions can be asked—that we don’t know the answers to—which prompts more creative thinking. Again, this may raise the question of ‘how much time will this take?’ To avoid missed deadlines, and late customer deliverables, the time and relationship must be built upfront. One of the exercises I do as a coach with teams is: “Visit Our Village” which comes from the wonderful resource, Retreats That Work by Liteman, Liteman, and