Three Common Barriers to Implementing a Coaching Culture
“For the sixth consecutive year, the Human Capital Institute (HCI) and the International Coach Federation (ICF) partnered to research workplace coaching cultures. The research confirms that the impetus for developing coaching cultures in organizations continues to grow. That’s because strong coaching cultures report revenue to be above average when compared to their peer groups. It’s also, according to the International Coaching Federation, because of the “many benefits of coaching; 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills.” Additionally, when coaching aligns individual values and purpose at work it enhances employee engagement and highly engaged employees are a good thing, as illustrated by a Gallup study that estimates the cost od disengaged employees, when measured in lost productivity is between $450 and $550 billion each year.
The good news according to the latest research is that seventy-eight percent of employees surveyed valued coaching and eighty-three percent of organizations plan to expand managers and leaders using coaching skills in the next five years.
But here’s the rub: even though more companies are increasingly aware of the proven value of coaching, a paltry eleven percent of organizations surveyed reported having a strong coaching culture. So what’s getting in the way?
The HCI/ICF report identified several barriers to implementing a workplace coaching culture.
Overcoming the Top Three Barriers to Coaching
The top three barriers to implementing a coaching culture are budgetary constraints, support of senior leaders, and limited ability to measure return on investment.
Here are a few suggestions to help overcome these barriers:
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. Sustainability depends on consistency of change efforts.
Limited Support from Senior Leaders: When the coaching initiative is aligned with strategic business goals that link to clearly defined success measures senior leadership involvement is easier to come-by. Too often change initiatives fail because there isn’t a compelling enough reason to divert limited time and resources away from a never-ending list of priorities. Once leaders see how coaching adds value against key imperatives it’s easier to gain their sponsorship.
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.
Coaching can drive key business initiatives and enhance productivity and profitability. Linking the coaching strategy to desired business outcomes and measuring coaching impact is critical when developing a coaching culture that can go the distance. Change management strategists recommend ensuring that team members understand how coaching creates value for the organization and for them personally. Success is possible when the effort necessary to change, is perceived to cost less than the potential available in a new ways of operating.