lightbulbmomentsI’ve been pondering that question over the weekend as I prepare for a webinar on the topic later this week.

Getting my mind around what that entails has led me to look at some definitions of the word “culture”, and so naturally I went to the internet. While Wikipedia begins their entry on “culture” by saying it is difficult to define, they did offer three fairly widely accepted uses of the term, and I’ve latched on to this one:

“The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.”

That pretty well gets at what I mean by a coaching culture… a shared attitude, values, goals, and practices of an organization around the idea of coaching.

  • A shared attitude…. this might be the most critical of the four terms. When those in our organizations begin to approach people and issues from the posture of a coach… when they begin to see the worth and value of others, and begin drawing out ideas and solutions from each other…. that seems to me to embody a coaching attitude.
  • Shared values…. similar to the first, this idea also takes in the notion that those in the organization believe in and trust the coaching process. In addition to valuing each other, those in a coaching culture value coaching. They believe that the best results are accomplished through drawing out the best from those around them. An they model coaching for those they work with and for.
  • Shared goals…. In organizations with a coaching culture, each person in the organization is encouraged to use coaching as a means to move the organization forward. Coaching, in these companies or ministries is not just another tool, it is the primary tool for getting the most out of each individual. (Notice I didn’t say coaching is the only tool…. as my friend Chad Hall says, “Coaching is a great tool – it’s like a hammer, but not everything is a nail”). In a coaching culture, coaching is the tool on our belts that we reach for first.
  • Shared practices…In those coaching cultures, coaching is not only a concept… not only an attitude or a value…coaching is a common practice. Coaching is how we relate to co-workers and constituents. Coaching is how we get traction in our own lives and how we help others do the same. 

In organizations with a coaching culture we see each person as valuable, worthy, creative, and resourceful. And we see coaching as a great tool for drawing out that value, worth, creativity, and resourcefulness from each other. In fact we see it as the best practice for getting to the right goals and solutions for the organization. And we use it. We use coaching. With each other, with our customers, congregations, and others. We use coaching… because it is a part of who we are and because it works!