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Management clinic

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Question
I have heard positive things about setting up a ‘coaching culture’. How should our authority go about this?

Answer

Coaching can be very beneficial to individual and organisational performance. Like any initiative you first need to be clear about what you want to achieve and what success will look like.

A good place to start is your council’s strategy. What does it promise and what is required? From there, look at service strategy, departmental and then personal. There is then a link from organisation to individual in whatever development you feel is necessary. This approach will help you decide the nature of the support you want to offer. It could, for instance, be coaching for a member of staff, but it could involve a team.

There are many styles of coaching. My personal preference is to have a focus on both the requirements of the job and the people concerned. An imbalance might lead to a disconnect, with a staff member being coached in a direction opposite to what is required of them in their role.

Coaching is on offer in the market place, but the most economic way is to get your own people to take up the mantle. Those doing the coaching will need guidance and some training and you might want to have a mixed economy of inside and outside support.

I have interpreted what you mean by a coaching culture as one that encourages and supports people to fulfil their potential. As with all initiatives that involve organisation culture you need to communicate from the top. The chief executive and senior managers need to subscribe and support what they are trying to achieve.

Capture some ‘before and after’ evidence to check out the impact of what is happening and adjust accordingly.

By and large people come to work to do a good job, and coaching can help them do that.

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