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How Coaching Shifts Organizational Culture

Coaching is increasingly being embraced by progressive organizations as an effective and highly personalized strategy for leadership and professional development. No longer sitting in the shadows and mistaken as a form of discipline, coaching is helping good leaders become even better, positioning emerging leaders for long-term success, and contributing to the retention of key employees who value the reward that it represents.

Defined as a partnership that engages an individual with a specially trained coach, those who have experienced coachingunderstand that it is vastly different from “being coached”. True coaches who have a combination of coach-specific education, knowledge, and skill support their clients with insight-provoking inquiry, keen observation, and creative energy that brings out the client’s best. “Being coached”, on the other hand, often refers to receiving well-intentioned advice, consulting, and delivering recommendations that may not be relevant or sustainable.

Coaching in its true sense has significant benefits for an individual, but it also brings substantial payoff for the organization. Those who experience coaching discover the power of inquiry-based versus telling conversations. They see firsthand the transformation that occurs when human interaction is free of assumptions and biases. People thrive when the focus of dialogue turns from Me to We and support moves from directive and critical to partnering and encouraging.

As individuals across an organizational spectrum experience coaching, they naturally adopt some of coaching’s best attributes in their own interactions. For example, change conversations move from “Get on board!” to “What are your fears?” Performance conversations evolve from “You’re on thin ice,” to “What do you need to succeed?” When there is a positive shift in the way people work together, the organization begins a transformation to one that is characterized by more open communication, growing cross-functional partnerships and increasing psychological safety.

Fundamentally, every organization is a collection of people. When the environment in which those people operate is one that encourages and rewards candor, respect and mutual support the entire business benefits. Coaching is the key to infuse those elements into the organization’s operations and ultimately, into its culture.

Lillian LeBlanc, Principal of Ibis Coaching, LLC is a credentialed professional coach with decades of experience in human resources leadership and organizational culture. She has served as a Global Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer for the International Coach Federation’s Coaching In Organizations entity.


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