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A Coaching Culture: Nice to Have but Hard to Get?

We are aware of a growing buzz amongst our clients and coaching students about the importance of creating a coaching culture in their organisations. Enhanced awareness of the value and role of coaching seems to lead to a perception that if more people are using coaching skills, having coaching conversations and showing the value added that comes from coaching then maybe a coaching culture will emerge. Aspirations would appear to be strong, but the evidence less so. In a 2014 study, the ICF found that despite most organisations recognizing the value of a ‘robust coaching programme’, only 13% of organisations participating in the research are classified as having a strong coaching culture’. (2014BuildingACoachingCultureReport.pdf)

So there appears to be a rhetoric and reality gap. In addition, there is also a pressing need for individuals and organisations to respond to the post Covid world.  The question that is often asked of us as learning and development experts is, ‘How can we help to create a coaching culture that is attuned to the needs of both the organisation and the wider world?’. This question reflects Hawkins (2014c) when he asks ‘Who or what does coaching serve?’ and advocates a systematic approach to working with that wider society. (https://www.renewalassociates.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/The-Challenge-for-Coaching-in-the-21st-Century-v6.pdf)


We very much support a systemic approach for coaching that supports the ‘new world’ of stakeholder and societal collaboration. But what do we mean by a ‘systemic’ approach? For us it is about identifying what needs to be done and how it can be achieved, incorporating individuals’ needs, motivations and feelings while also including the wider perspectives of multiple stakeholders involved in and benefiting from the coaching process.


We believe that a design thinking underpinning to that systemic approach can in turn support the development of a coaching culture that is human centred, iterative and inclusive.


We’ll be looking further at the practicalities of a design thinking approach to coaching in future blogs and also how design thinking can underpin a variety of other post Covid learning and development needs.


Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash