How to Overcome 3 Barriers to

Coaching Culture Implementation. 

According to a recent study by the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF), the case for coaching cultures is clear. Sixty percent of organizations with strong coaching cultures reported revenue to be above average, compared to their peer group. Sixty-five percent of employees from companies with strong coaching cultures rate themselves as highly engaged. And highly engaged employees are a good thing, as illustrated by a Gallup study that estimates the cost of disengaged employees in the U.S. to be between $450 and $550 billion each year in lost productivity.

But here’s the rub: even though more companies are increasingly aware of the proven value of coaching, a paltry thirteen percent of organizations report having a strong coaching culture.

So what’s getting in the way?

The HCI/ICF report found several barriers, shown on the graph below:

HCI/ICF findings 2014

Notice the top three barriers to implementing a coaching culture are a lack of time, limited ability to measure return on investment and budgetary constraints.

Here are a few suggestions to help overcome these barriers:

Lack of Time: In most professional climates of quick turn-times and looming deadlines, time can be the deciding factor of any implementation’s success. During the past few years, most companies have downsized staff a certain degree and have distributed lingering responsibilities to those employees left standing. Many feel the pressure of time constraints more than ever. While we unfortunately can’t add more hours to the day, we can try to ensure that those within an organization, from rookies to executives, understands the value of coaching. Once coaching is established as a regular activity and recognized as a competency for managers and internal coaches, a coaching culture can begin to grow legs.

Limited Ability to Measure ROI: According to Richard Hansen, Executive Coach and Consultant for Defense Acquisition University, “The challenge with ROI, the Holy Grail of coaching, is getting people to think about and monetize the qualitative results of coaching. If you had a better strategy and action plan, or a more conducive leadership or communications style with stakeholders and you were able to advance the project or process and get a decision quicker, or implement change better, or reduce cycle time, or optimize resources, or improve customer satisfaction, what is that worth to you?” Organizations need to set clear expectations for the outcomes of the coaching initiative and ensure the goals are communicated across all levels of the company.

Budgetary Constraints: Penny pinching has become more pronounced than ever. Much like combating the barrier of “not enough time”, budgetary constraints can be eased by a clear understanding of coaching’s value. One great practice is to avoid the trap of investing in people only when there is a surplus of revenue. Companies with strong coaching cultures typically don’t play employee development by ear; they have a dedicated line item in the budget for coaching.


For more information see Xponents tips and the info graphic on Developing a Coaching Culture.