Do You Want to Increase Engagement and Your Bottom Line? Create a Coaching Culture.

Coaching within the organizational context isn’t a new phenomenon. It has morphed and developed over the years and we now see what seems like an endless list of coaching approaches. We also see varying degrees of results for companies that bring in external coaches to increase engagement and grow their bottom lines.

Last week, Waggl sat down with Thomas Crane, international consultant and coaching thought-leader, to dive further into his approach to coaching and the bottom line wins he has witnessed when organizations use feedback to create what Tom calls “true coaching cultures.”

There are many benefits when an organization creates a coaching culture, but one most pressing to HR leaders today is creating a culture that will increase engagement to uplift organizational performance.  Tweet This! With this goal in mind, we take a walk backward to determine what is going to lead us there.

5 stops on your way to increasing engagement and organizational performance

Stop 5 

Employees demonstrate discretionary effort and own the impact of their contributions.

Before you boast high engagement levels and see employee impact on organizational performance, individuals will start putting forth more discretionary effort. As Tom puts it, individuals are “empowered to become more self-responsible, more self-accountable, take action, and be more proactive.” These qualities translate to discretionary effort, those actions that show an employee is going above and beyond the call of duty.

However, at some organizations and with certain performance management processes, going above and beyond is the expectation. If employees want to advance within the organization or see bumps in their paychecks, that have to do more than is outlined in their job descriptions. Unfortunately, this approach can take the ownership away from the individual. It dictates what the organization hopes to see, but doesn’t empower employees to take these steps on their own terms.

Although discretionary effort and star players are what leaders wish for in order to increase engagement and organizational performance, many organizations will need to make the four following stops before they get there.

Stop 4

Employees feel comfortable soliciting feedback and providing it to their direct reports, peers, and managers. 

Tom’s collegial coaching model below supports, “feedback and coaching flowing up, down, and sideways.” Openness and transparency are valued at all levels of the organization. The Oxford dictionary defines collegial as, “relating to or involving shared responsibility, as among a group of colleagues.” In this context, this means that communication between colleagues and throughout organization levels is encouraged and nurtured by all.

Increase Engagement with a Coaching Culture

In this setting, individuals receive adequate training to know how to access this proven communications toolkit. They have a common vocabulary and communication process in mind as they share about the tasks and performance in their work.

Stop 3

The organization utilizes a mechanism for collecting input and feedback that leaders can quickly act upon. This empowers individuals to contribute at all levels of the organization and gives leaders prioritized insight into the needs of their organization.

Collegial coaching sounds like the healthiest way to engage employees and spawn innovation. But, it can be daunting to some organizations to create this culture and arm leaders with the tools they need to facilitate this level of communication.

Employee Engagement

This is where Waggl pulses drive connection and change within organizations in order to increase engagement and organizational performance. With a platform that unites all levels of the organization through real-time results, gamified voting for open-ended questions, and segmentable data, everyone can see and understand the feedback the rest of the organization provides.

As anonymous contributors, participants can provide honest input and insight on all sorts of topics. Collectively, the organization can prioritize the input from all participants, whether those other participants are peers, direct reports, or managers. By seeing and acting on the other voices within your organization, it’s a platform that doesn’t just measure engagement, but actually is engagement.

Stop 2

A coaching culture where feedback is valued.

“In coaching cultures, all members of the culture courageously engage in candid, respectful coaching conversations with one another, unrestricted by reporting relationships, about how they can improve their working relationships and individual and collective work performance.

All have learned to value and effectively use feedback as a powerful learning tool to produce higher levels of personal accountability, professional development, high-trust working relationships, continually improving job performance and ever-increasing customer satisfaction.” – Thomas Crane

Increased Engagement from a Coaching Culture

Many are used to a more traditional view of coaching (the professional genre on the right above) where a manager may ask coaching questions with their direct report. This leads whomever the manager coaches to create insights that, in turn, lead their coachee to take action. These questioning skills are important, yet likely will not lead to a cultural shift.

Collegial coaching is a fundamentally different genre and approach to coaching that relies on sharing actionable feedback as the basis for the coaching. This process creates a ‘coaching’ culture as opposed to a ‘coached’ culture. Anyone can give feedback and coach anyone.

As Tom notes, “It isn’t top down. There is openness and permission for all to give and receive feedback. This true coaching culture drives engagement and leans on leaders and employees for decision making.” In Tom’s experience, the coaching culture far outperforms the coached culture. It contains more information, in the form of feedback, flowing between more people.

Fortunately, we are in a business era where we have clear examples of the financial benefits of empowering individual employees and where professional growth is valued. Feedback loops are discussed almost ad nauseam and the pace of improvement continues to accelerate. Innovation is the goal for many, which means we have been primed to value learning cultures.

Some organizations are still learning to embrace this change, and while they are at it, they must develop a culture focused on learning and coaching if they want to survive into the future. But, it’s difficult to execute this culture shift when leaders are not sold on the importance of change and growth.

Stop 1

Leaders are coachable and value the input from their people.

The leader is where we must begin according to The Rise of the Coachable Leader. They are the tipping point in the development of a coaching culture. The 7 organizational success stories in this book show clearly how leaders themselves must be coachable and model this behavior if they want their organizations to thrive.

Being coachable means being open to feedback, being transparent, and being authentic. It means actually taking action on the feedback you receive and leveraging employee voice to grow as a leader and support your organization towards success.


Ask yourself, “am I (or are my leaders) coachable?”

Then, get in touch with Waggl and Crane Consulting to learn how you can create a true coaching culture at your organization to increase engagement and organizational performance.