How to implement a coaching culture: 8 steps for driving ROI

As someone who champions the huge benefits coaching can bring to a business, I’m often asked about the best way to implement it. Most professionals who come to me to discuss coaching are already advocates of its effectiveness, but they sometimes face challenges getting it off the ground.

From financial gatekeepers to cynics, from juniors right up to board level, embedding coaching into a company is about shaping the mindset of all its employees. Consequently, navigating the various organisational and cultural blocks posed by a shift in the ethos of the business can be a complicated task.

So my answer is always the same: have a strategy. Plan, communicate and evaluate properly. Staying focussed on clear objectives and thinking all the time about the return on the investment, will ensure that you are well equipped to overcome any difficulties that might arise.

Here are 8 steps I recommend to anybody looking to formulate and implement a successful coaching development programme into their company:

1. Prepare …your business case

Start with what you want to achieve and how this relates to the overall goals of the business. Then fill in the detail. You need to make clear what improving the organisational coaching culture actually means. Be transparent about what the top and bottom line figures are (remember, you are trying to secure budget). Don’t forget to touch on all the things that will enhance the performance of the business: motivation, engagement, well-being, individual and team efficiency etc. All these factors ultimately drive revenue, so make sure to give them an estimated monetary value within your business case.

2. Design …your plan/solution

Keeping the desired outcome top of mind, map out your programme. You will already have sketched out much of this in your business case. However, once you have secured your budget you will know how much you actually have to spend. Then you can really design your plan in terms of who, what, how, and over what time period. Using focus groups and getting feedback from sponsors and stakeholders will help you to firm up your plan and start the internal buy-in process.

3. Assess and address …the blocks and challenges

Implementing a coaching culture can represent a huge shift in the culture of a business, so expect to come up against resistance. Getting people on board requires consistent stakeholder management, and more often than not, an internal communications campaign to generate support and gain advocacy. Support takes time. Regular communication is vital. Talk to people, research. Focus your messaging around the key doubts and questions you are hearing, and pay attention to particular teams or departments that provide the greatest blocks. Emphasise and re-emphasise the objectives until the whole company understands what the process is, and why it is happening. Be open to feedback.

4. Recruit …your external experts

As you are building your coaching culture, it is good to have a pool of external coaches to provide the backbone of your overall coaching capability. There are a huge variety of coaches available. Selecting the right one depends on a number of factors. Consider the management or leadership level you want them to coach. Consider the cultural fit for your company. Look carefully at the kind of organisational structures they’ve worked with previously.

5. Develop …your internal coach capability

How do you want your internal coaching capability to develop? Who needs coaching within the business? Furthermore, do you want coaching to become a core part of the daily running of your business? If so, there needs to be open and frequent discussions at all levels of the company. For example, mid-level managers could be ideally placed to have coaching conversations with their teams. Teaching them how to do this helps them to nurture talent, and further embed coaching as part of the ethos of the company – ultimately leading to a more engaged, motivated and efficient workforce.

6. Supervise …your coaches and their approach

Whatever structure you decide to put into place, it is important to support your coaches. The aim is to make sure they are able to coach as effectively as possible. Supervision is an invaluable tool for helping this. Not only will it drive the quality of the coaching, it will help align individual coaching approaches to your business and coaching culture.

7. Align …to the organisation

Aligning the coaching to the culture of the business is important, but equally as important are the changes you should make to align coaching to your policies and procedures. Embedding coaching into a company requires advocacy at all levels, including in the written policies of the organisation. Make sure you’ve got written documentation which outlines the process of your coaching programme. Your company policies should reflect the new emphasis on coaching as an integral part of the day-to-day operations of the business.

8. Evaluate …the effectiveness of the programme

Of course, no programme is complete without evaluation. Set out milestones and timelines, make sure there is always an open channel for feedback from the coaches and the coachees. Focus on collating information in a way which can be presented as a report. Think about qualitative and quantitative data. That way you’ll have something to shout about at the next board meeting!

Rachel Daniel is an executive coach who works with companies to enhance the performance and productivity of their leaders. Rachel focuses on creating insight and sustainable behaviours that lead to fulfilment and well-being across any organisation. Her dynamic and strategic approach is heavily adapted to the psychology of each person and their own unique challenges, aspirations and environment. She also partners with L&D functions to help them embed a coaching culture into their business. Rachel has extensive experience of running businesses at a senior level, and has both an MSc and a PG Diploma in Coaching.
You can find out more about how Rachel works at or talk to her on +44 (0) 7891 860507.