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What Is Coaching Culture and Why Is It Important in Cornerstone?

11 Jun 2019

What’s the difference between a tennis coach and a Cornerstone coach? Most people would know the role of a tennis coach, a football coach, and increasingly, a lifestyle coach or weight-loss coach. But what role does a coach play in the workplace? 

Considering where the term originated may help with this understanding. The term “coach” comes from the word coche, meaning “a wagon or carriage.” In fact, it still does when we refer to a person traveling in a “coach” on a train or a bus, or the Americanism of “coach” for economy airline travel. A “coach” is literally a vehicle which carries a person or group of people from some starting location to a desired location. 

The conference 3248255 1920The same is true in a business context. An effective coach will enable a person or a team to get from one destination to another; from a challenging situation to a positive outcome. In a sporting situation that might be a form of coaching that hones a person’s golf swing, and in a business scenario, this is a non-directive approach that supports the person or team to think deeper, challenge preconceptions, and bypass personal barriers and limits to achieve their personal best, enabling them to function more effectively as members of a team. 

What’s the Difference Between a Coach and a Counsellor?

A counsellor will often reflect on the past, whereas coaching is about looking forward. The coach may look to identify patterns in past behaviour or from past experiences and use this  to build self-awareness of an individual’s reactions to reach a positive future outcome, not to rectify past issues. It’s important to understand the difference as professional support and advice should be sought for specific concerns (for example, debt management, marriage counselling, anger management etc.). 

Gladeana McMahon, award winning coach and author, summarises:

“A therapist will explore what is stopping you driving a car. A counsellor will explore your anxieties about the car. A mentor will share tips from their experience of driving. A consultant will advise you how to drive the car. A coach will encourage and support you in driving the car.”

Why Is Cornerstone Adopting a Coaching Culture?

Over the past few years, we’ve experienced massive organisational change as we move away from a traditional hierarchical structure toward self-managing teams. Any change can bring a broad spectrum of emotions from anger and denial to acceptance and willingness to share the benefits of the change. We know that change affects people in different ways, and a coach can help to rationalise thoughts and face challenges. The desired outcome is self-organised teams that are effective and happy to be empowered.

For the past two years, Cornerstone has trained and integrated seven coaches throughout the organisation. Each coach is linked to a specific region, and staff in the region can reach out to the coach individually for support, or can be referred by a colleague. 

Is Coaching Only for Certain Job Roles, or Underperformers?

The support of a coach is available to all colleagues, from admin staff to support workers, leaders to team members, at any time and at any stage of career with Cornerstone. 

It’s important to understand that coaching is developmental, not remedial. A coach strives to support an individual to achieve a positive outcome that is right for them. Often this is through enhancing a person’s self-awareness or overcoming barriers to self-belief, never as remedial action after a disciplinary procedure, and that all coaching interactions are in the strictest confidence. 

Coaching is an important part of what we do at Cornerstone. We believe everybody, the people we support and our colleagues, deserve to lead a valued life, a life that they choose.