On Leadership, Coaching, and the DNA of Your Culture

Cultural DNA

Hey Leaders:  As you come to work and try to make it through yet another day in Leaderville, I have a big question for you. It has to do with something that is probably not on your radar; Not on your calendar; Not on your to-do list; Nor on anyone else’ day planner…

The big question for you is this:

Can professional coaching impact your bottom-line by changing the DNA of your corporate culture?

On Mentality and Personal Mindset

Many companies are investing in coaching. Coaching done well starts to change the individual at the seed level, otherwise known as mindset.

We know from psychology that behavior always follows mindset.

So, if we want different results it is much more powerful to change our mental models about ourselves, how we view the world, or our assumptions about the challenges we face.

Albert Einstein explained this nicely with one of his quotes:

“You can’t solve the problem at the level it was created.”

The Root of the Problem

Typically when an organization or an individual is facing a problem, the focus is always on fixing the issue, usually by some type of behavior modification or changing something in the process. In the short-term you might see results, but in the long-run systems or people will usually return to the same state unless the problem is addressed at the root cause.

Root cause analysis was one of the most valuable lessons that were brought forth through the total quality management movement (TQM) in the early nineties.

Root cause analysis explains that we need to understand what caused the problem and not to only focus on the symptoms. To see a full explanation of root cause analysis use the link attached http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_cause_analysis.

Leveraging Executive Coaching

Through the coaching process, we are now first applying the concept of root cause analysis to the development of individuals and organizations.

Coaching is being used in organizations in various formats.

The first is hiring external executive coaches who coach high potentials, executives, or critical employees that need to accelerate their development or prevent derailment.

According to a Harvard Business Research Report:  What Can Coaches Do For You?  by Diane Coutu and Carol Kauffman, they found that the ingredients of a successful coaching relationship includes these three elements:

  • The executive is highly motivated to change
  • The right match exists between the coach and the executive
  • Top management has a strong commitment to the executive developing

Primarily, since executive coaching is costly, it is held for the leaders who can and do make the greatest impact on the organization. If the coaching engagement is successful, we will have leaders that will be more emotionally intelligent and effective thus creating a more positive work culture for the employees who work in that part of the organization.

Building Manager Coaching Capability

The second use of coaching is teaching managers/leaders how to use the skills to develop and empower their staff.

This is where we begin to see:

  • Improved Employee Engagement
  • Better Retention
  • Increased Productivity
  • Better Results
  • Increased Accountability for Managers Developing Talent

According to a white paper Creating Coaching Cultures:  What Business Leaders Expect and Strategies to Get There by the Center for Creative Leadership and the Cylient Group, they found some critical insights. One key insight is when coaching is embedded in the organization, the leaders felt the culture would shift to a more positive one.

This would include:

  • Greater levels of trust
  • More innovation
  • More transparent & participative decision-making

Coaching Requires Trust

Another insight they uncovered was that since coaching requires medium to high levels of trust with employees, we can’t just teach the skills.

For coaching to truly get embedded in our organizations, leaders must also learn how to build greater levels of trust in their relationships.

Without trust, we all have nothing.

Coaching Needs & Talent Management

The final learning, was that if we want coaching to change culture it must be built into all talent management systems including hiring, promotions, leadership programs, and performance management.

If  we want to create a coaching culture it is required that both the leaders and employees see it as valued in the organization.

So, how are you doing at taking the steps to build up a positive culture that thrives? What are you doing to investigate the DNA of your culture so that you can properly respond when the time calls? how can you better prepare to inoculate the culture from harm? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Lisa Danels
is President of Integrated Leadership Inc.
She inspires success in leaders & teams with coaching & leadership development
Email |LinkedInTwitter | Web | Blog | 646-352-2657

Image Sources: brainpickings.org


One response to “On Leadership, Coaching, and the DNA of Your Culture

  1. Pingback: Leadership updates for 04/01/2012·

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