Feedback and coaching culture

The strategic use of coaching and feedback adds towards an open culture in which people feel better about themselves and are less affected by stressful situations. Leaders who give feedback and use coaching skills project more credibility. This makes them more resistant against the enormous complexity of, and often opposing, external influences.


As a manager and/or leader you are constantly confronted with change, on a personal level and among your employees, but also on a political, social and economic level. We have increasingly noticed that organisations desire or require a culture shift. Directive management is losing ground. It is being replaced by transformative management whereby the focus lies on self-direction and 'ownership'. To ensure that this culture shift occurs smoothly, a manager will ideally apply coaching skills and attitudes. However, managers can only apply a 'coaching approach' if the employees also learn to give and receive feedback.

Leaders and managers should not play the role of coach themselves. The key to a coaching approach lies in the following three steps:

  1. Personal development is the starting point. People do not always automatically feel good about themselves. An 'awareness process' will help to provide insight into your own performance and that of others. The manager/leader can call in an external coach, and can coach themselves.
  2. Leaders and managers can learn to listen without feeling attacked by undergoing a process of personal development, and by learning to give and receive feedback. This enables them to provide development-oriented feedback, and to express appreciation.
  3. By successfully managing the first two steps they will be able to apply coaching competencies and attitudes.

By accomplishing these steps, leaders/managers will be able to achieve high quality standards, lasting changing and more success. They will create an environment in which they and their employees have room to develop themselves; they inspire and encourage them to take 'ownership' and to find solutions and answers themselves.

This has a positive impact on overall performance, and leaders/managers will have more time to focus on what they are good at. In this way, they contribute towards a culture shift within their organisation.

"Coaching leadership is only possible in a culture of feedback." A bold statement? Not really.

In a culture in which feedback is encouraged, employees can develop their talents and take on challenges without feeling attacked. Everyone gains the courage and ability to express thoughts and doubts, and the criteria on which they make choices. This also leads to more support among managers and employees. They understand what is expected of them and focus on personal goals and development. Their personal success contributes to the organisation's success.

Implementing a coaching culture is not a goal in itself however. It is merely a step in the transformation process that organisations go through. In this way, people do not see change as a ‘horror’ or an ‘intruder’ (or rapid change as an even greater horror).
You can contribute towards creating a coaching culture by using coaching as a growth strategy instead of a curative or corrective system. Applying coaching skills becomes an attitude.

In organisations that have a coaching culture, coaching skills and attitudes are naturally embedded in the strategy and processes. The organisation also firmly believes that personal and professional development contribute to its growth, development and success. In short, coaching is an integrated part of the organisation's identity.

Selecting the right candidate is an excellent start. However, it is also essential to stimulate the innate potential in people. Coaching, whether internal or external, plays an important role in this context; it encourages employees and managers to further develop their talents and skills, and to attune personal success to the vision and strategy of the organisation. This challenge demands a dynamic approach. Organisational success is only achieved if all employees and managers fully contribute to it and share this responsibility.

For more information