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Creating a Coaching Culture

News views and events from Leadenhall

Creating a Coaching Culture


The phrase creating a coaching culture is not a new one.  David Megginson and David Clutterbuck were publishing papers on this topic back in 2006, over 15 years ago.   Many forward-thinking organisations have been building their coaching cultures with good effect, but those companies are few and far between.

With the pandemic, new technology and the adoption of new ways of working, this may be an idea whose time has finally come.

What’s changed then?  The pandemic has clearly led people to think more about what is important for them and their lives.  That doesn’t mean they want to de-camp to Wales and set up a commune, maybe some do, but there is a detectable move towards more balance between career and home life.

With the move to hybrid working this is clearly becoming a practical reality enabling people to spend more time at home – doing that school drop off or pick up, supporting aged parents or just having a bit more time to pursue personal interests.  It means that command and control, long hours, daily commutes and presenteeism will be less a feature of working life.  People are also looking for employers to provide more individualised support whether it be for wellbeing, development or from their manager.

Technology and people’s comfort with it is changing too.  The growth in coaching platforms and the number of coaches who are qualifying has decreased the cost of coaching and made it accessible from the home or the workplace.  We had an innovative insurance client who offered a couple of coaching sessions to all their employees (over 100) and we were able to set this up quickly and people began booking their coaching immediately. You could not have done that in 2006!


What is a Coaching Culture?


All organisations have a unique culture which reflects their own development.  We know the culture of the British civil service will be different from a Silicon Valley tech start up.  However, here are a few characteristics of an organisation that are building a coaching culture:

  • Leadership who are committed to a coaching culture and ‘walk the talk’
  • Radical candour. Regular natural feedback conversations balancing caring and frankness
  • Managers who can adapt their style between coaching and more directive styles
  • Strategic use of coaching at all levels in the organisation including individual, group and team coaching where it is most impactful and adds value
  • Discussion of (and learning from) both failures and successes
  • Use of coaching for development rather than remedial purposes
  • Encouragement of a growth mindset
  • Constructive challenge encouraged
  • Distribution of accountability – empowerment
  • Accessibility over hierarchy


In 2006, David Megginson and David Clutterbuck, undertook some research into Creating a Coaching Culture and identified four stages, the following is a summary:

  • Nascent: an organisation which did not have much evidence of coaching activity, maybe the odd coaching assignment,
  • Tactical: ‘the organisation has recognised the value of establishing a coaching culture but little understanding of what it means’. In short, an environment where there is some investment in coaching and mentoring activities but these tend to be reactive, piecemeal and not linked to strategic business or people objectives.
  • Strategic: the senior leadership is committed to the principles that underlie a coaching culture. The organisation has invested in training and educating management and employees in coaching techniques and been given the support to acquire the skills to use coaching techniques.  Coaching interventions are linked to strategic interests, not just reactive tactical needs.  Coaching behaviours are role modelled.  Informal coaching culture may not have been embedded into the culture.
  • Embedded: people are engaged in coaching both formally and informally at all levels in the organisation. Widespread use of 360, mentoring (including reverse mentoring), a growth mindset and a willingness for people to raise controversial and difficult issues (constructive challenge) to enable the organisation to tackle them.


What stage do you consider your organisation to be operating at?


How might Leadenhall partner with you to build a Coaching Culture?


Here at Leadenhall, we have been working with international clients for over 10 years helping them to find effective solutions to developing, implementing, and supporting their coaching and leadership development needs.  We are working with clients every day on leadership, team, and group and online coaching (via Coaching on Demand our proprietary platform).

We have seen that a one-off assignment here to solve a ‘problem’ or procuring licences for digital coaching doesn’t lead to the broader adoption of coaching skills or behaviours.   We believe in developing the right solution alongside you to ensure that it meets your needs and is embedded into your organisation.

Our solutions will help your organisation measurably benefit from installing a coaching culture and work with you to ensure its adoption such that it becomes part of the fabric of the organisation.


Contact us today to have a chat about installing a coaching culture in your organisation.


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