An agency within a Central Government had a culture of autocratic management. Coaching was viewed as a specific management tool only to be used in specific development situations. It was not seen as a tool to be used quickly in order to create an effective and efficient way of managing teams and stakeholders. Nor was it embedded into any of the Agency’s people processes and systems.
Furthermore, the Agency went through a merge and acquisition within a Central Government Department which transformed the structures of the organisation and required several processes and systems to be reviewed for the future development of the Agency.
A new function was created in the Human Resources department of the Agency that focussed on leadership and management development. One of the primary objectives of the function was to create a coaching culture in order to meet the need demands on the business and enable managers to develop their people more effectively.
A coaching programme was designed with the aim of creating a coaching culture within the Agency in 3 years. Clear objectives and deliverables were identified and agreement was reached with Senior Mangers and Board.
The programme was designed to target different levels of skill and capability based on the different requirements in the business. First an educational campaign was launched into elements of coaching. Knowledge was leveraged based on previous leadership programmes, in which all managers across the entire organisation participated
Secondly, a short workshop session was developed to give managers an opportunity to practice their coaching skills in a safe environment recognising the coaching can be used to achieve quick wins, and not have to just be 1 hour development sessions. Digital formats were also used creating a coaching forum open to all managers to share experiences and gain insights from peers and colleagues on coaching. A leadership blog was also established to share success stories across the organisation. Thirdly a accredited coaching programme was implemented and linked to the International Coaching Federation.
This enabled the organisation to develop an internal network of qualified coaches to be used for key organisational systems and processes, i.e. outplacement, talent management and performance management. The qualified coaches volunteered to participate but had to go through a full assessment that required the full commitment of their managers and Directors, as time out from their normal working responsibilities would be necessary to implement. Fourth, networks were created within the agency along with a cross-department and access to cross-government to enable managers and trained coaches to share learning and experiences and raise their profiles.