Training a Leader to be a Coach

Training a Leader to be a Coach

Organizational change can include several initiatives, such as defining new markets, reorganizing organizational structure, or restructuring how teams work together (Rock & Donde, 2008b). This organizational change requires leaders to be empowered with the tools to shift the corporate culture to a coaching culture. A coaching culture can transform performance quality and improve retention and engagement (Rock & Donde, 2008b). Coaching can allow leaders to carry their organization into the future. Coaching can help leaders build teams, run productive meetings, encourage diversity, and resolve differences (Frisch et al., 2011). 

This proposed plan seeks to shift an organization’s culture to a coaching culture. Participants will be coached to drive individual and organizational behavior changes. The team will use a series of individual and team exercises to evolve their thinking and interactions (Anderson et al., 2008). The goal is to create a team that can work more efficiently and effectively with each other.

Begin the Journey

Long-term executive coaching is successful when leaders and their co-workers sincerely make a change. (Anderson et al., 2008). Coaching benefits those who are interested in organizational and behavioral changes. Anderson et al. (2008) suggested that culture change starts with executive leadership. The coaching process begins with a meeting with the CEO to determine their desire to change. During this meeting, the CEO will decide on the overall cultural tone they want to communicate throughout the organization and the key behaviors that have the most significant impact (Goldsmith, 2004). Additionally, the CEO will identify key stakeholders who can deploy the change effort.

Baseline the team

As a coach, it is helpful to interview each team member to gain feedback about the CEO and the organization as a whole. A 360-degree feedback assessment with open-ended questions like, “How are things done?” will help to facilitate this conversation. The goal is to baseline the CEO and unveil any crippling and informal processes that may be problematic (Anderson et al., 2008). Once insight is gained into the current habits of the team, then one or two key areas of behavioral change can be identified to adjust (Goldsmith, 2004).

Bring Everyone Together

The conclusion of the individual interviews will launch a unified session where the goal is to establish an agreement on the upcoming changes and the path forward (Anderson et al., 2008; Goldsmith, 2004). This will be a frank conversation that helps demystify the characteristics of the current culture and its limiting factors. When the team has a collective awareness of the organizational change and their individual development, they can begin working as a team to change the behavioral underpinning (Anderson et al., 2008).

Build Skills

Collectively, the team undergoes Leader as a Coach training, which teaches them processes and methodologies that focus on developing effective leaders. The Brief Solution-Focused Coaching (BSFC) method and the Constructive-Development (CD) method are two approaches the team will learn. BSFC offers short-term coaching methods that limit coaching to shorter coaching sessions (Ting & Scisco, 2006). The CD method provides a way to transform one’s perception into a more evolved construct (Ting & Scisco, 2006).

Each leader will integrate the lessons learned into mock scenarios. They will practice their coaching skills with other team members while the coach shadows them (Anderson et al., 2008). The coach will offer suggestions on ways to improve. This will help reinforce the coaching skills(Anderson et al., 2008). 

Broaden the Scope

The final stage of the program will include bringing awareness of the cultural shift to coaching to the rest of the organization. Since the team will be coached as a group, rolling out the new initiatives will be easier (Rock & Donde, 2008a). Each leader can coach their direct reports to use the coaching skills they learned, encouraging them to develop their direct reports the same way (Rock & Donde, 2008a). This builds connections and retains the benefits of the shared knowledge within the organization (Rock & Donde, 2008a).

It is essential to continue to conduct individual executive coaching sessions to develop behavioral skills (Goldsmith, 2004). During these coaching sessions, the coach can implement the aforementioned coaching models, BSFC and CD.

Finally, after 12-18 months, the team should create an evaluation process to determine if their collective influence has orchestrated change throughout the organization (Anderson et al., 2008). This formal evaluation would also assess the impact the coaching has on its team members.

If the goals are not met, once the team reconvenes after 12-18 months, they will shift their approach and evaluate after a shorter duration. Once the key objectives have completed their established goals, the team will reconvene to repeat the process for any new initiatives generated throughout the year.


Anderson, M. C., Anderson, D. L., & Mayo, W. D. (2008). Team coaching helps a leadership team drive cultural change at Caterpillar. Global Business and Organizational Excellence27(4), 40–50.

Frisch, M., Lee, R., Metzger, K., Robinson, J., & Rosemarin, J. (2011). Coaching for leadership.The Journal of Quality & Participation34(3), 22–26.

Goldsmith, M. (2004). Changing leadership behavior. The Journal for Quality and Participation27(4), 28–33.

Rock, D., & Donde, R. (2008a). Driving organisational change with internal coaching programmes: Part two. Industrial and Commercial Training40(2), 75–80.

Rock, D., & Donde, R. (2008b). Driving organizational change with internal coaching programs: Part one. Industrial and Commercial Training40(1), 10–18.

Ting, S., & Scisco, P. (2006). The CCL handbook of coaching: A guide for the leader coach (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass.

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