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Widespread coaching to survive and evolve in VUCA contexts



The continuous technological advances, the intensification of competition in the various sectors, the continuous increase in customer expectations, the war for talents, are just some of the trends that are increasingly characterizing the space for action of organizations and the modalities with which create value.

These trends are in fact profoundly changing the "skin" of companies, in fact if before we could see the organizational contexts as machines, where the scenario was clear, the strategy as well and with it the ways to pursue it, based mainly on the logic of standardization and efficiency, today we can see organizations as living organisms. In fact, current companies respond more to reactivity and adaptability drivers, where it is still important to be stable, but at the same time dynamic, knowing how to continuously develop new capabilities capable of generating value according to the continuous changes in the VUCA scenarios (volatile, uncertain, complex , and ambiguous).


In behavioral terms, these mutations have caused a major change in people and the related mind-sets and skills that companies require to surf the waves of complexity. In fact, research shows that if before companies looked for skills such as quality control, precision and resource management in people, now among the most requested and developed skills there are innovation, self-learning, creativity and critical thinking.


Business coaching is certainly one of the tools that companies have at their disposal to generate these skills and behaviors in their people.

Why develop a widespread coaching culture in the company?


Research shows that developing a corporate culture based on coaching determines multiple benefits for the organization, first of all greater engagement of people, associated with higher levels of performance and productivity, factors that lead to an increase in customer satisfaction with positive impacts on the outcomes of the company.


We can notice a corporate culture based on coaching when managers and people adopt coaching conversations in the daily practice of their interactions, in addition to the way in which the processes of performance management and learning are managed.


What are the main challenges for spreading a corporate culture of coaching?


Like any factor that impacts on corporate culture, also in the diffusion of coaching we must consider many elements that can act as an obstacle or facilitator to such diffusion, here are some of them:


1) Create and communicate a coherent coaching program


Many companies carry out numerous coaching paths by investing considerable resources, but often an overall scheme is lacking on how coaching is structured in the company, who are the potential beneficiaries and in which scenarios it can be activated. This framework is crucial for building meaning around the coaching paths in the company. In fact, coaching initiatives are often disconnected from other HR processes, such as resource development plans, generating questions such as “why are they offering me a coaching path? What could it mean?”. It is therefore crucial to create a system of coaching paths strongly interconnected with other HR processes in order to converge on resources with consistent actions capable of generating a clear and defined employee experience.


2) Investing time resources in developing an overall coaching strategy


The development of an overall widespread corporate coaching strategy requires a time investment on the part of the figures involved. It is therefore important to generate full commitment with respect to this project, highlighting, for example, the benefits on different levels that this practice entails for the resources involved.


3) Develop a mind-set aimed at change


In order to spread the culture of coaching effectively, it is necessary that the people involved truly believe that everyone in the company has the potential to change and improve.


How to develop a coaching culture in the company?


1 Diagnose


To start a strategic coaching development plan, it is necessary to understand the initial positioning of the company with respect to this practice, in order to evaluate the gap between the desired state and the current state on certain dimensions that will constitute the strategy to be implemented and verified in term of if there are any priority business areas from which to start.


2 Design


After the analysis, it is necessary to develop an overall coaching strategy capable of understanding all the necessary dimensions (population of managers to be trained as coaches, role of HR in coaching paths, role of external coaches, interconnections with other HR processes, role of technology in coaching sessions with for example remote video-sessions - distance coaching).


3 Deliver


The execution of the coaching development strategy widespread in the company provides actions on several dimensions, from the management of the impacts on other HR processes (such as performance management) to the management of external coaches, in this system the key word is the consistency between the messages sent to the beneficiaries and the actions implemented.


4 Assess


In order for this strategy to be consolidated over time, it is necessary to identify metrics to monitor the results and the degree of effectiveness of the paths in order to show the company how this practice leads to significant positive effects for the company.


To conclude


Companies such as Facebook, for example, have developed a structural coaching system in their learning & development systems, where each manager has a coach available with whom to carry out their growth path by becoming fully autonomous on their own development with important benefits for both the resource and for the company.


We can therefore note how in organizational contexts characterized by VUCA trends it is increasingly crucial to develop mindsets oriented towards change and continuous development in people, where widespread coaching in the company represents a decisive tool able to guide organizational and individual routes towards the continuous generation of value.


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