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 How a coaching style of leadership creates a High Performance Workplace   

Imagine a place where: 
 
Your people constantly surprise you with their passion, ingenuity and commitment 
Your values are the driving force behind what you do, and bring your purpose & direction closer 
Your curiosity & audacious ambition ensure you consistently improve performance & results 
 
In short: You have the right people with the right skills, working on the rights things at the right time. 
 
 

High Performance Workplaces and Leadership Coaching 

 
More and more companies are striving to define themselves as High Performance Workplaces (HPWs), where motivated, flexible and engaged individuals and teams achieve truly exceptional, sustained results. 
 
Though it seems obvious that no sensible company would wish for a low performing work place, the High Performance Workplace is more than just a name, it is a philosophy with clear ways of achieving what it sets out to be. 
 
The High Performance Workplace puts people at the centre of the business and the role of leadership is to create the context in which people can thrive. A coaching style of leadership is a progressive, powerful approach to drive performances in this manner. 
 
The institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) outline coaching benefits as; 
• better communication and interpersonal skills 
• increased confidence and motivation 
• improved conflict resolution 
• better management performance 
 
Gartner states that the High Performing Workplace aims to “enhance the ability of workers to learn, discover, innovate, team and lead, and to achieve efficiency and financial benefit”. To achieve this, a coaching style of leadership can support this goal, especially in engagement, innovation and accountability. 
 

Developing a High Performing Workplace 

 
A crucial stage in creating a High Performance Workplace is to develop a coaching style of leadership. In a High Performing Workplace leaders engage in joint enterprise, without the constraints of authority-based decision-making that can block communication and blind organisations to both opportunity and threat. 
 
Their role is to provide a clear direction and help maintain a positive cultural equilibrium based upon clear behavioral principles. While leaders aren’t a necessity in enabling teams to provide their own motivation and ability to operate or innovate, they do still play a key role in building organisational resilience by harmonising individual and organisational needs. 
 

Engagement 

 
At a fundamental level, leaders who are interested in developing high performance teams need to be able to apply an appropriate blend of expectation and investment in their employees. Coaching leadership presents an opportunity to achieve this balance by having coaching style conversations to elicit expectations and identifying where employees need and want development support. 
 
With the correct levels of investment and expectation, sustainable performance culture will be achieved and maintained through the commitment and the enthusiasm of the workers. The biggest step is to have this mix of expectation and investment operating at all levels of the company. In other words, everyone has to be on the same wavelength with what is expected them. 
 

High Performance Workplace 

 
 
 
 
The diagram above demonstrates the problems that may be encountered should the leadership not find the right ratio of expectation and investment. 
 
A coaching style of leadership concerned with creating a High Performance Workplace must be aware of where they sit on this axis, and seek to establish a fundamental equilibrium of high expectation/high investment. 
 
 

Innovation 

 
Coping with the challenges of global uncertainty, ever expanding competition and a constant need to innovate is causing companies to move away from the dependency led characteristics of ‘mass production’. This move is targeted more towards the characteristics of ‘mass innovation’, where the idea of a High Performance Workplace is very important. 
 
A coaching style of leadership can be key in promoting innovation. An important factor in engaging and empowering an employee to innovate in a High Performance Workplace is trust. It is a basic need, applying with the same principle of importance in the business world as it does in personal every day lives. Trust is demonstrated through coaching leadership in empowering the employees to guide their own decisions and development. When an employee feels valued and trusted within their organisation, creative and innovative outputs are more likely to be generated, alongside the willingness to take risks. 
 

Strategy and accountability 

 
Historically, it has been viewed as the responsibility of senior management to implement company strategy. Coaching in an High Performance Workplace however, put employees at the centre. For each employee to be able to deploy the strategy successfully, a HPW dictates that the operations, organization and infrastructure of a company need to be designed to support each employee in this. 
 
Creating a culture of organizational-whole accountability can be significantly enhanced through coaching leadership. Establishing with the employee how they will attain goals, what the value is of achieving objectives and illustrating the relationship between the employee’s work and the company strategy, makes each employee accountable for their contribution to the company strategy. 
 

Conclusion 

 
A High Performance Workplace is about having sustainable, competitive advantage through utilizing the capabilities of employees. Coaching leadership is a successful approach to translating employee potential into meeting personal and business results. 
 
HPW is seen as a continuous improvement cycle and creating a culture where innovation is nurtured through coaching leadership, supports the sustainability of the organization. Leading through coaching ensures there are ongoing conversations, with the aim of facilitating employees to be continually proactive in shaping their development whilst supporting the company strategy. 
 
A HPW must be constantly looked after and maintained. While creating a coaching style of leadership can be regarded as the catalyst in the creation of a HPW, it is also essential to sustaining it. 
 
For more information on how to develop high performing teams through a coaching style of leadership, follow the link: High Performance Workplace.