Creating Coaching Cultures: Corporate Ailments – This is Why it Hurts

RealiseThis is the second article in our series on Creating a Coaching Culture. This series of articles is primarily focussed at HR and Development professionals wanting to transform the culture of their organisation and are seeing the potential of embedding coaching abilities within their organisation to achieve these goals. In this series, we’ll hear from professionals in the region and learn from their experience, struggles and successes.

We’re giving away for free a full coach training on our Certificate in Professional Coaching programme, starting in October, to the HR or Development professional who engages most with these articles and who demonstrates the biggest shift in introducing a coaching culture to their organisation. Further details of what we’ll be looking for in our ideal winner can be found here.

Following last week’s initial overview article from Sarah, today we’re taking a frank look at the status quo – business as usual. We’ll be peeling back the plaster of the smiling 30 second elevator pitch and looking at some of the lack of health that can, and often does, exist under the surface of our organisations. As Jim Collins, author of “Good To Great” would have us do, we’ll, “confront the brutal facts,” to see the full impact of what is happening in our places of work.



Later in this article we will be referring you to our “Coaching Culture Canvas” tool. You can learn more about this tool here and download your copy here. Today we’re focussing on the section titled, “Realise.”


Current Cultures

In reaching out to the wider community, we heard from managers and directors and as we listened we noticed patterns. Very similar things were being said, across the board and irrespective of sector or industry.

Things like the following:

  • There are relational gaps and a lack of trust between managers and staff.
  • Line managers avoid their responsibility to coach and develop their staff.
  • There’s a lack of accountability by leaders for their own growth and an absence of self-directed learning.
  • Performance management is very “dry” with a lack of effective feedback
  • Managers are good at giving instructions, but poor at having performance management conversations. They struggle to help people grow into roles.
  • Difficult conversations are happening too little, poorly and too late.
  • Managers have mindset barriers about developing talent.
  • A lack of understanding of the good that coaching can do.
  • A lack of qualified staff to take the job of coaching to the next level.
  • Leaders see feedback as coaching and employees therefore do not see coaching as a positive thing.

Sarah Siddique, Head of Learning at Aggreko in Dubai let us know that she has seen that, “Development is often seen as only classroom or e-learning. Managers have tick-box development conversations because there is a lack of clarity in leaders about how to have development conversation. Their approach is ‘tell’, very little ‘ask’.” We were later to learn about some of the positive strides that Aggreko are taking in moving this forward.

Add to this the very real and current issues of talent retention, squeezed profit and environments of blame, where people find it difficult to share their opinions and ideas, and we have a picture of business that seems quite bleak.


There is hope however…

A growing number of companies are making headway with establishing a culture that takes coaching practices to heart and are reaping the benefits. Be sure to join us next week as we look at what a coaching culture really looks like and what’s possible when an organisation has one.


Your Coaching Cultures Canvas

RealiseGo to your Coaching Culture Canvas.

In the Realise section, consider the following questions and note down your thoughts.

·      What relational hurts are currently existing in my organisation?

·      What behaviours are exhibited by these hurts?

·      Where do I see this happening most?

·      What is the impact of these behaviours? On people, on performance on the business as a whole?


Competition for one HR professional to win a complimentary place on our October 2017 programme.

As part of this coaching cultures series, we will be giving away one seat on our October 2017 course completely free to one HR or Development professional.

The NPCA Certificate in Professional Coaching is a 16-week coach development programme, which is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).  In 2017, we have programmes starting in May and October.

To be in with a chance of winning, we are looking for the person who engages most with these articles over the next two months by commenting below in the comments box, sharing, liking and commenting on our social media pages. The winner will also be someone who has demonstrated the biggest shift in introducing a coaching culture within their organisation. Please read our competition rules. The winner will be announced on 31st May 2017.

Next week 

Join us for our next post, when my colleague Sarah will be discussing what it’s like when you have a coaching culture and what’s possible when you do.

If you want future articles delivered to your inbox or to be considered for the competition prize, sign up to the NPCA Community.

How has this article impacted you? What thoughts come to mind when you consider what you read? How do you now feel? Take action and comment below or contact me at

Have a great rest of your week and may you find strength on the journey,



Matt is a credentialed coach for entrepreneurs and business leaders. He is also a past president of the International Coach Federation, Dubai Chapter. His own experience as an entrepreneur is a driver to help others succeed in their own businesses. Matt’s biggest passion is for adventure. He has hitchhiked solo from Fort William to Chamonix, climbed Kilimanjaro and worked into a mountain village in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. He married the woman of his dreams in February 2017 and is thoroughly enjoying married life.


  1. April 21, 2017

    Hi Matt – its been a while since we did the training in Dubai!

    I do find this really interesting as I have been working on building a coaching culture in my current company for the last three years and have come across many of the issues that Sarah has raised.

    Coaching is of tremendous importance to us to achieve our goal of transferring skills to our local workforce and reducing the reliance on expatriates. Three years is a long time but we have made progress even if via the backdoor so to speak. We’ve incorporated one on one coaching for our supervisors and potential managers – about 25 people, we have had a team of 5 go through coach training and they are progressing towards their ACC and we have also run training on workplace coaching for all of our supervisory staff – about 75 people. We are slowly starting to see some traction and a movement away from the “telling” to “asking” especially in our up and coming front line people.

    We still struggle somewhat with the old school managers but we are slowly breaking down barriers. It’s a journey that is ongoing.

    I look forward to the next article.

    Kind regards – Pennie

    • Sarah Anthony
      May 16, 2017

      Hi Pennie,

      We spoke via email not so long ago. I wanted to respond to your message since I really enjoyed reading about how you are building your coaching culture in your organisation. I was interested to hear you say that it is an ongoing journey – when something is such a big change in terms of culture, it does take time and I am really heartened to hear of all the changes that you are implementing. Having not only external coaches but also building your internal capacility (on a credentialled coach level) and helping managers and leaders to have coaching conversations, is a the heart of building a coaching culture. Great work – I hope you have continued to enjoy our articles on this topic.


  2. May 31, 2017

    Dear Matt and Sarah,

    As I take further steps towards becoming certified coach here is why I like the article and believe the way forward for organization is through coaching, apart from the ailments mentioned that I come across very often when consulting. Stephen Covey coined the term the “Knowledge Worker Age” as opposed to Industrial age where work was based on job description; in addition to living in volatile, ambiguous and unpredictable times now more than ever the leader needs to “Coach”or create a “Coaching Culture” in order to achieve results as coaching addresses the whole person paradigm Body/Mind/Hear/Spirit.

    Wishing you success

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