Coaching can help you build the right culture for your business, but good coaching depends on a good governance framework. Karen Brice reflects on what we learned from a recent webinar tackling ten myths of coaching governance.

Many people say you can’t define an organisational culture, and therefore if you can’t define it, you can't measure it. I've disagreed with that notion for many years, and I’m not alone. The UK Corporate Governance Code and financial services regulators are clear in their guidance for boards.

Regulators expect board directors to oversee, evidence and assure organisational practices and conduct, to the degree that the espoused culture is taken seriously and not ignored. And given there are many ways to measure culture and conduct, boards should expect to receive more than engagement survey and whistle-blowing data to promote discussion.

For a start, they should be able to experience the culture at first-hand for themselves. Indeed, in the same way as you should be able to write up a five-year strategy on one side of A4, so you should also be able to articulate your culture in the same way – measurements and all. And if you can’t, then it isn’t surprising that the espoused culture is not getting the visibility and accountability that is needed.   

What has culture got to do with coaching?

Coaching should be seen as a great enabler of good culture. Employed effectively, it provides a myriad of ways for supporting people as they own and work through their change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal need, for a team, or even an across the organisation, coaching can and should make a significant difference; and if that’s the case, then just like culture, it should be measured meaningfully.

In our webinar on 1 June, we talked about why companies need to look at coaching governance. The key question was ‘what is the worst that could happen without coaching governance in place?’ It isn’t just about doomsday scenarios though. Its as much about preparing the ground for great coaching to happen and choosing which results support strategy and planning  – not measuring attendance and reflection notes. Using coaching systemically rather than informally should be a ‘must’ for the organisation, backed by leaders, people managers, coachees, and coaches. From our discussions, the opposite is more often the case. Because its challenging to achieve, gaining visibility of the tangible business outcomes which give coaching credibility can be dismissed, and yet, we know that coaching consistently delivers sustainable improvements and change for those who want it.  Maybe we just need to join the dots better.

Learn more about how our Coaching professional apprenticeship services can help you
Embed best-practice coaching into your culture with our levy-funded apprenticeship
Learn more about how our Coaching professional apprenticeship services can help you
Visit our Coaching professional apprenticeship page

Coaching governance: getting the framework right

There are some key actions for ensuring your coaching is well-governed: 

  • Design your coaching strategy on one page, and link it to your main business strategy
  • Give your coaching an overall purpose and objectives – ensure that has visibility from the start 
  • Create principles that you expect as an organisation from your coaches/and vice versa 
  • Design a coaching framework with an end-to-end coachee experience; speaking to coaches and other stakeholders about what they would like to see as outcomes   
  • Pull together a few important templates: 'people manager commitment’; ‘what we expect from our coaches;’ coachee/coach reflections surveys – don’t overcomplicate it 
  • Socialise the draft governance framework and seek stakeholder feedback

Once you've finalised your framework you should pilot it over three-six months and then evaluate the outcomes:

  • What has worked and how has it made a difference at the various levels?
  • Does the data tell us anything meaningful, and if so, who needs to recognise that?
  • Likewise, what hasn’t worked and why not?   
  • What have we learned and how can we improve?    

After you've collated analysed the results, you need to take time to reflect and recalibrate your framework before fully implementing it. 

Being a successful coach is a joy and takes skill and intention. So too, is being an organisation that advocates successful coaching. Putting this framework in place can help you deliver it. 

For more insight and guidance, get in touch with Karen Brice