The need for organisations to be flexible in a global environment has highlighted the importance of two key factors: adaptive leadership strategies and organisational culture. Improving workforce productivity to achieve or exceed organisational goals and objectives is a key management priority in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. As an adaptive leadership strategy, coaching develops self-awareness and insights to improve interpersonal relationships and communication. Coaching helps people broaden their perspectives and explore possibilities to improve their performance and achieve organisational goals. Coaching is also effective in increasing employee engagement and retention.

 Coaching at the senior level is typically conducted by external coaches who bring many advantages to the senior team. They have an independent view, offer different perspectives and knowledge from the “outside”, are not involved in internal politics and can maintain confidentiality. According to a recent survey by the International Coach Federation (ICF, 2015) the use of external coach practitioners has grown by 12% over the past year. But what’s happening at other levels in the organisation?

The ICF survey highlights that managers and leaders have increased their coaching of direct reports by 2% over the past year, spending up to 19% of their time coaching. Contrary to the common complaint from managers that they have no time to coach in an already busy schedule, those who do coach their direct reports confirm that the more time they spend on coaching and supporting them, the less time they spend “on-the-job” with them. In other words, employees feel more affirmed and engaged when they can do things by themselves with little support. And the good news is that once learned, employees can perform the same tasks all over again without the manager’s intervention. Hence managers gain time in their day, as a result of coaching. Some organisations have even started training up designated internal coaches to support managers and leaders as coaches.

What kind of coaching is conducted in your organisation? Who is involved? Over what levels and period of time? Are you making the most of your staff, engaging them and supporting improved performance? Is your organisation one of the increasing number of companies starting to embrace a coaching culture?