Creating a Coaching Culture Towards Development of a High Performance Organization

Leveraging the Power of Managerial Coaching Skills on Organizational Performance

By: Prof Sattar Bawany

for november sattar blogIntroduction

‘In the 1950s management thinker Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” to describe a newly emerging cohort among the white-collar ranks; today most professionals fall into this category. Because they require (and desire) little or no direct supervision and often know more about their tasks than their managers do, knowledge workers usually respond well to coaching. Unlike directive, top-down management, coaching allows them to make the most of their expertise while compelling them to stretch and grow. As their manager, you set overall direction for them—but you let them figure out how best to get there’.
– Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Coaching Your Employees (2013)

Today’s knowledge economy has placed many managers in the position of providing leadership to employees who have more expertise in key business processes than they (the managers) do. As the amount of knowledge grows, managers are faced with increasing numbers of employees whom they must lead without an in-depth understanding of what these employees do. Managers need to let go of the traditional and out-dated practice of trying to be the expert—the person with the answers—and move to a position of enabling the learning of their employees and creating knowledge sharing both within their own teams and across the larger organization.

Employees no longer expect company loyalty. Downsizing and layoffs have taught them otherwise. These events have also taught employees that they must be marketable at all times, and to be marketable they need to continually develop their skills and knowledge. Organizations that place an emphasis on development are more likely to both attract and retain talented employees, and at the same time build the critical capabilities the employees need to achieve business results. As those closest to employees, managers play the critical role in facilitating this development.

The Importance of Managerial Coaching

Today’s new business environments demand a change in the traditional manager’s role. Thus, managerial coaching in organizations has been perceived as an important function of managers for the development and growth of employees leading to performance improvement. Managerial coaching has been given considerable attention in management and leadership and has consistently shown to have an impact on the development of high performance Organization.

The current pace of change has resulted in the need for constant learning on the job. The shelf life of many skills and much knowledge is steadily decreasing. It used to be a common assumption that companies could hire MBAs and other professionals to bring the necessary knowledge into the organization. This is no longer true. Today, everyone needs to be learning constantly, and organizations and their managers need to be facilitating the learning process on the job.

Coaching in its origin from sports was introduced to the management field in the 1950s. By the early 1990s, coaching emerged as a way to describe a specific set of managerial activities in business organizations. In various published literature, coaching in management can be classified into two forms: executive coaching and managerial coaching. Both types of coaching have traditionally been regarded as a way to correct poor performance and to link individual effectiveness with organizational performance.

“In the future, people who are not coaches will not be promoted. Managers who are coaches will be the norm”.
– Jack Welch, former Chairman & CEO of General Electric

According to the Centre for Executive Education, Managerial Coaching is about developing and maximising an individual employee’s potential which will consequently impact positively on the Organization’s performance. It is about more inquiry (ask) and less advocacy (tell) which means helping that individual to learn rather than teaching. Coaching sets out to embrace the employee as an individual and understands the Organizational context in which the employee operates.   It seeks to achieve alignment between the individual employee, team and Organizational goals.

Development of a Coaching Culture in High Performance Organization

According to a landmark research by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) in collaboration with Human Capital Institute (HCI) published in 2014, more and more organizations have recognized the value in building a culture of coaching that offers employees at all levels—not just executives and managers—the opportunity to grow their skills, enhance their value and reach their professional goals. But not all coaching is equal. To ensure successful results that go beyond skills training and truly enable the company to increase employee engagement and retention, the organization must develop a comprehensive coaching plan that addresses both current and future needs. The challenge arises not only in determining the types of coaching that will be most impactful, but also in attaining the internal buy-in and support for such a program.

Fundamentally, a coaching culture is an organizational development model that provides the structure that defines how the organization’s members can best interact with their working environment and how the best results are obtained and measured. Organizational culture provides the stability and protocol for all interaction within the group. It serves as a mechanism that defines the acceptable parameters of behaviour (what we do or say) and constraining activities to those that reinforce the espoused values of the organization.

Introducing coaching competencies into an organization is a very powerful strategy to create an adaptive workplace culture committed to the ongoing process of development and learning. Companies that have developed a coaching culture report significantly reduced staff turnover, increased productivity, greater happiness and satisfaction at work.

There is a growing movement among organizations to develop a coaching culture as more companies realize the advantages of such a strategy. Once a luxury strictly for executives, coaching is now being extended to employees at all levels of the organization for developmental purposes.

Coaching continues to become an increasingly popular focus in business settings, underscoring the importance of exploring how organizations are cultivating a coaching culture.

A coaching culture needs the disciplines of building a shared vision, learning and a desire for personal mastery to realize its potential. Building a shared vision fosters commitment to the long-term. Openness is required by all to unearth shortcomings in present ways. Team learning develops the skills of groups of people to look for the larger picture that lies beyond individual perspectives. And personal mastery fosters the personal motivation to continually learn how our actions affect our world.

Leveraging on a Proven Coaching Model: “G.R.O.W.”

“I am able to control only that which I am aware of. That which I am unaware of controls me. Awareness empowers me. No two human minds or bodies are the same. Prodticsesipe How can I tell you how to use yours? Only you can discover how, with awareness.”
– Sir John Whitmore

The GROW Model is deservedly one of the most established and successful coaching models. Created by Sir John Whitmore with his colleagues in the 1980s, it is popularized in his best-selling book, Coaching for Performance.

Utilizing a deceptively simple framework, the GROW Model provides a powerful tool to highlight, elicit and maximize inner potential through a series of sequential coaching conversations. The GROW Model is globally renowned for its success in both problem solving and goal setting, helping to maximize and maintain personal achievement and productivity.

The GROW Model has proved successful all over the world to a diverse mix of people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. It forms the most common basis of coaching in many organizations and universities globally. The GROW Model is now one of the most popular principle pillars utilized within the international coaching community as a whole, due to the outstanding results it helps people to achieve personally and within global organizations.

The GROW Model is an acronym standing for (G)oals, (R)eality, (O)ptions and (W)ill, highlighting the four key steps in the implementation of the GROW Model. By working through these four stages, the GROW Model raises an individual’s awareness of their own aspirations, a greater understanding of their current situation, the possibilities open to them, and the actions they could take to achieve their personal and professional goals. By setting specific, measurable and achievable goals, and a realistic time frame for their achievement, the GROW Model successfully promotes confidence and self-motivation, leading to increased productivity and personal satisfaction.

The implementation of the GROW Model, by using carefully structured questions, promotes a deeper awareness and responsibility and encourages proactive behavior, as well as resulting in practical techniques to accomplish goals and overcome obstacles.

The use of continuous and progressive coaching skills support provides the structure which ultimately helps to unlock an individual’s true potential by increasing confidence and motivation, leading to both short and long term benefits.

The GROW Model has been seen to yield higher productivity, improved communication, better interpersonal relationships and a better quality working environment.


Coaching is about creating the capacity for appreciative and supportive interaction that leads to the achievement of business results. Effective conversation sets the stage for significant discussion about issues of leadership development, personal and organizational change and creating capability through high functioning people with enhanced emotional competence. For years, most organizational pundits have known that it is not how much you know but how well you relate to other people in the organization that really matters

Effective coaching works with executives and others to develop their effectiveness in working with change. It helps them identify when teamwork is important and to use their skills to foster it. Coaching builds skills and capacities for effective working relationships. Coaching–implementing and modelling coaching competencies–paves the way for decision makers to create higher levels of organizational effectiveness through dialogue, inquiry and positive interactions that create awareness, purpose, competence and well-being among participants. service cloud Coaching is NOT another feel good exercise based in soft skills that has no correlation to the bottom-line.


Bawany, Sattar. Maximizing the Potential of Future Leaders: Resolving Leadership Succession Crisis with Transition Coaching in ‘Coaching in Asia – The First Decade’. Candid Creation Publishing LLP., Singapore, 2010 E-copy available as a download from:

Bawany, Sattar. Transforming the Next Gen Leaders, in Talent Management Excellence Essentials, Issue 06.2014 (June 2014).

Hargrove, Robert. Masterful Coaching Fieldbook. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 1999.

Horibe, Francis. Managing Knowledge Workers: New Skills and Attitudes to Unlock the Intellectual Capital in Your Organization. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

HBR Guide to Coaching Your Employees, Harvard Business Review Press, 2013

Whitmore, John. Coaching for Performance. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1999

About the Author:

Prof Sattar Bawany is the Managing Director & C-Suite Master Executive Coach of Executive Development Associates (EDA) in Asia Pacific. He is also the CEO & of Centre for Executive Education (CEE). CEE is the strategic partner of EDA in Asia Pacific.