It’s often easier to talk about a coaching culture without being specific about what it actually means and how to go about setting the framework for one. The LEAD framework supports why a culture of coaching is significant to a wider HR strategy and how it can integrate into the employee lifecycle. 
 
A coaching culture means something specific to each organisation and a definition which is useful to build your own is “A coaching culture is one where an organisation’s people have a coaching mindset and use a coaching approach, both with each other and throughout all levels of the organisation, beyond into relationships with external stakeholders, to maximise each and every individual’s potential and create organisational value”. For example, your choice of coaching approach ideally aligns with the beliefs and values in your organisation. 
 
The LEAD framework aims to guide HR, People and Culture Managers and OD professionals to transition from a personal approach to coaching to developing an integrated systemic approach across its eco-system. There are four zones to the framework, Zone 1: Leadership coaching where leaders have managed access to coaching. Zone 2: Everyone: Coaching for all where managers and everyone are able to access coaching. Zone 3: Approach where coaching is embedded in leadership values. Zone 4: Distributed where coaching is distributed across the organisation’s networks, across boundaries with stakeholders and partners and beyond. 
 
In the round of building out the four zones of the LEAD framework there are 12 consecutive steps which provide both a platform for audit of where you are now in building a coaching culture, and also markers for measurement and success. The steps take you from ownership and buy-in through to building competence and capability of workplace coaches, developing leaders as coaches and using team coaching across distributed, complex and inclusive networks. Then value is created through performance, people and organisational development, quality assurance, and well-being, all of which are supported by coach supervision, or similar practices, be it your organisation’s lead coach, head coach or an external coach supervisor. 
 
LEAD provides a useful frame for building your coaching culture, there is no cookie cutter approach for all, every organisation is different. Question the automatic thinking that everyone in the organisation owns the culture. Whilst this may be true to some extent and a noble vision, there is at least one caveat, the starting point of any coaching culture build is to acknowledge who owns organisational culture on the board. Whilst each board is different, ownership of culture and a clear rationale of the ‘why’ of the coaching culture is a must. And the board needs to whole heartedly articulate this. The business case for coaching must be both articulated and understood by all senior leaders as step one. This of course sets the tone for all of the coaching relationships and conversations that follow, and the organisational value that you can create. 

About the author 

Kristina Crabbe is the co-author of Building Coaching Cultures: the LEAD Framework. She is an accredited coach and coach supervisor and supports smaller companies in building and integrating strategy into people plans supported by a coach approach. 
 
To find out more, or to simply let Kristina know your thoughts about coaching cultures email her kristina@innoxyconsulting.co.uk, or visit www.innoxyconsulting.co.uk. Innoxy: Coaching, Mentoring and Coaching Supervision for cultures and climates aligned to strategy. 
 
 
A fuller overview of Building a coaching culture: the LEAD framework, will appear in December’s edition of the Journal of Coaching Psychology (Passmore, J & Crabbe, K, 2023). 
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