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Fostering Critical Thinking

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Imagine a work environment where:

  • Employees at all levels feel safe enough to bring new ideas to discussions.
  • Where strategies are co-created and implemented through the work of cross functional teams.
  • Where positive results are felt throughout the organization in employee engagement, quality teamwork and increased profits.

As leaders you understand the benefits of communication.   You see and hear first-hand the results of leaders who do not value conversations with their teams, who do not invite or listen to the ideas of others.  You understand the carnage left behind in a ‘command and control’ culture where ideas are not heard or valued, where employees are considered disposable, where a ‘do it or else’ culture exits….and new ideas die before being voiced.

There is a relatively new leadership strategy successfully contributing to overall organizational effectiveness, the intentional development of a coaching culture.  Taking a ‘coach approach’ has proven to support innovative thinking with both individuals and teams.  It takes some time to experience a complete cultural change but it is happening in organizations around the world.

What do we mean by a ‘coach approach’?   ASK – Don’t TELL!  Too simplistic?  Maybe, but it does speak to the core of creating a coaching culture.   As leaders, we often tell others how and what to do, to solve problems for them quickly and efficiently, to TELL – Not ASK.   It’s faster, easier, and sometimes requires less discipline to TELL when we should be ASKING.

A coach approach of asking and listening for understanding (without agendas) is proven to support hiring decisions, performance management, project management, succession planning, discipline, safety, and resulting productivity and efficiency.  Imagine if we moved the ‘ASK Conversation’ into all areas of leadership?

Designing a Coaching Culture

Designing a coaching culture requires a strategic, committed and customized approach led by the executive team.  Some of the magic ingredients for success include:  coaching champions at different levels of the organization, one-on-one coaching, group coaching, a coach approach to performance management, and other development initiatives within your organization.   Trust increases which in turn supports truly engaged employees and increased profits.  When implemented with intention, a cultural change is inevitable and driven by the leaders themselves.