What is an organisational coach? Part 1

What is an organisational coach? Part 1

I am often asked what organisational coaching is and whether it’s the same as business coaching.

Organisational coaching helps to develop businesses through their people, focusing on the human dynamics – with the aim of working together to increase productivity and create a happier workforce.

As a discipline, organisational coaching itself is constantly developing. For example, companies are increasingly using technology, in combination with the human element, in growing organisations. In this article I look in more detail at what organisational coaching is and how it is evolving.

Organisational Coach versus Business Coach

A business coach will generally analyse the business from a financial perspective and focus on the fiscal health of the organisation. An organisational coach will consider financial developments, however the core focus is on the overall health of the business through the people perspective.

Organisational coaching works towards sustainability by defining the culture and purpose of the business, then providing guidance to develop and steer the business in the right direction.

I often use water as an analogy for organisational coaching. When the water is flowing well it’s clear and you can see right through it to easily remove any barriers in your way. When the water is turbulent or dirty then it’s difficult to see clearly. You’re effectively working blind.

The same applies to people and organisations – you need a clear view of the flows within your business in order to see the opportunities and obstacles ahead of you.

A multidisciplinary approach

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

Jim Collins, Built to Last.

Over the last 20 years I have grown into the role as an organisational coach through my experience in training and development, human resources and coaching. Over this time it has become more and more apparent that to enable the organisational waters to flow clearly, effort and time is needed in building the company culture, processes and in managing the human dynamics. Without this strong foundation the business will not achieve its optimum levels of productivity and it may not have sufficient stability to effectively respond to changes and threats.

The entire organisation needs to be involved in ensuring that the many rivers and tributaries run smoothly – from the top level of management to grass roots. This can mean an organisational coach is involved in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Processes
    • Conducting a needs analysis to identify areas of improvement
    • Identifying the key performance indicators of the business.
    • Developing the business’s culture and purpose.
    • Putting appropriate human resources processes in place.
    • Bringing in the right people with the right training, skills and personalities.
    • Performance management alongside developing and coaching the team.
    • Working to continually include industry best practices.
  • Human dynamics
    • Engaging with all parties; board members, partners and management to align their thinking and move conversations forward
    • Preventing and resolving disputes through mediating discussions
    • Developing the leaders and managers in the business, especially in emotional intelligence and conversational intelligence, in order to motivate others and manage risk effectively.

These are the areas that contribute to a healthy organisation where staff are engaged and happy, and performing to a high standard.

How an Organisational Coach will support you

Next week, in part two of this article, we’ll look in more detail at the activities which an Organisational Coach will undertake to help your business develop and grow.

Can’t wait? Contact us to find out more!