Coaching and Culture Change
Are Today’s Leaders Equipped to Change Culture?
“Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” as Peter Drucker so famously said, sums up the profound impact culture can have on overall organizational performance. At TLD Group, our vast experience working with health ecosystem leaders tells us that changing culture to align with shifting organizational strategy is one of the most difficult challenges a leader can face. When detailed, thoughtful plans for strategy and execution fail to achieve desired outcomes, it’s common to look toward the processes applied or relevant external environmental factors rather than looking internally to evaluate whether leadership had the skills to mold the organization’s culture to one that can execute strategy.
Organizational culture is comprised of the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values and ways of interacting that contribute to form the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. While strategy is typically established by the C-suite, culture combines the intentions of top leaders with the everyday experiences and knowledge of front-line employees. Leaders looking to change an organizational culture must be able to influence the behaviors, mindsets, and social patterns that exist across the workforce.
Because culture change involves changing shared behavior, our experience has shown that culture change can be expedited when using coaching as a tool to engage leaders, individually and at the team level, to model behaviors consistent with the optimal culture. These coaching conversations are a powerful tool for shifting habits, norms, and implicit understandings.
Using Coaching to Shape Culture
When coaching an individual, the question becomes, “if I change this person’s behavior, am I really changing the culture?” For coaching to be a useful tool for organizational change, there must be consistency in both the application and direction of coaching across the organization. A concerted effort is required to impact behavioral shifts of the kind needed to change culture.
An organization can’t change unless its people do. Coaching engages people in their own growth and development. On an organizational scale, leaders who model coaching behaviors consistently create optimal cultures for change. As coaching conversations reach a critical mass, the practice becomes capable of shaping culture to one that is conducive to accomplishing strategic objectives.
Coaching cultures create an environment where organizations can change and adapt themselves to meet changing contexts. A culture capable of: a) identifying its own habits, norms, and beliefs, b) determining whether they align to where the organization is going, and c) providing the structure and support necessary to make changes when necessary is the kind of culture that not only succeeds – but thrives -- in executing strategy in a rapidly changing health ecosystem.
Interested in creating a coaching culture? Check out TLD Group’s coaching solutions here.