Is Having a Coaching Culture a Competitive Advantage?

March 10, 2016 | John Ramstead and Brian Reese | HCI
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Frustrated, Catherine stormed out of the team meeting. “I’ve told them what needs to be done 15 times, and it’s still not right,” she muttered under her breath as she slammed the door to her office. “I have trained them on our process, led brainstorming sessions, and told them to be creative. There has to be a better way…or maybe I’m just not cut out to lead this team?”

Have you ever felt like Catherine? Is your team or company not functioning at its full potential?

In the example above, Catherine would never be this frustrated if she were trained to ask more powerful questions.  Enter the “Coach-Approach” framework.

The Rough Road Ahead

In 2016 and beyond, businesses face an unprecedented set of new challenges. In the next 12 months, businesses will have to contend with new government regulations, an increasingly multi-generational workforce, and new technologies.  Many aspects of day-to-day leadership will have to change just to maintain the status quo.

These uncertainties significantly affect today’s workforce, especially employee engagement and productivity. In fact, 83% of employees surveyed say they are currently looking for a new job or plan on looking for a new job. (

The Opportunity

But why have a Coaching culture?  Coaching’s greatest impact is increasing a team’s effectiveness and job performance.  And managers equipped with Coaching skills are critical to building a culture of performance and continuous improvement. A Coaching culture is the fastest and most effective way to ingrain company values, increase employee engagement and productivity, build authentic relationships, and retain top talent.

A recent study conducted by Bersin & Associates demonstrates that equipping your managers with Coaching skills can yield a 130% increase in business performance.

“Adopting a coach approach with my team has created a vibrant and engaged culture.  It has fostered meaningful relationships across all working groups.  Today, the engagement and productivity of our company have exceeded all of my expectations!”

--Jay Cleary, CEO, Bridge Financial LLC

The Proven Approach

The Bersin & Associates study also found that manager-based Coaching within an organization plays a key role in leadership development and employee retention, which is essential for maintaining a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing business landscape.

In general, there are three approaches to business Coaching that companies can utilize:

  • Outsourcing, which entails hiring external coaches to train your workforce.
  • Insourcing, which is the hiring of master trainers to coach your executives and managers in Coaching skills.
  • And, the “Coach-Approach,” which is a blend of outsourcing and insourcing, delivering the best overall results statistically.

How Do Coaching Skills Make Managers More Effective?

The simplest explanation is that Coaching unlocks an individual’s potential to perform.  Your employees will achieve a level of personal performance that would have been otherwise unattainable.

The Coach-Approach teaches employees to find innovative solutions on their own, or in teams, and focuses on learning instead of teaching.  This is significantly different from the conventional approach where consultants, mentors, and managers focus on training, direction, and performance reviews.  The Coach-Approach creates a learning culture, thereby increasing employee engagement, reducing employee turnover, and boosting morale and productivity.

In 2014, $165 billion was spent on company training programs in the U.S. According to Jane Creswell, CEO, iNTERNAL IMPACT and founder of the IBM Coaching Network, some programs were a far superior investment: “The retention and learning after training is between 20-40%. With a Coaching culture that reinforces the training and application we have seen retention increase to between 60-80%.”

Additional Benefits of Managers with Coaching Skills:

  • Coaching establishes deeply personal connections, which are instrumental to employee engagement and retention
  • Coaching helps employees rally behind a company’s vision, mission, and core values
  • Coaching accelerates an employee’s leadership development
  • Coaching helps foster vulnerability, trust, and influence, which are critical for the best ideas to surface

Until next time…

Equipping your executives and managers with Coaching skills will take your entire company to the next level.  Creating a Coaching culture will become one of the keys for developing and retaining top talent, which directly translates into a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.  In the next post, we will share what it takes to achieve the competitive advantage of a Coaching culture.


About the Authors


John Ramstead is a leadership expert and Executive Coach. He is the Founder & CEO at The Ramstead Group, which is a boutique coaching and consulting company.  His purpose and joy is to help individuals, companies, and government organizations reach their full potential. Please feel free to email John at:

Brian Reese is The Millennial Business Coach™. He has been Coaching and consulting individuals and companies since 2007. He is an expert in recruiting, developing, coaching, and retaining millennial (Gen Y) employees. Please feel free to email Brian about anything: