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Developing a Coaching Culture

Written by Neil Paterson

Our coaching heritage

At Taylor Clarke, for the last 35 years, we have coached many leaders in the public and private sectors across the UK - e.g., our associates delivered over 600 coaching sessions last year. Many of these coaching interventions were aimed at helping organisations start to build a coaching culture. Our ever-growing coaching practice has helped individual leaders experience the positive impact of coaching for themselves: helped develop a coaching mindset, and skillset, and start to use more coaching related behaviours and leadership. Some of the most common coaching themes identified by our associate coaches in 2023 were:

  • Transition into a new role.

  • Filling leadership behaviour gaps.

  • Developing emotional resilience.

  • Integrating organisation mission and values.

Developing coaching ‘scars’ and skills

Early in my leadership consulting career, I was asked to accompany a Senior Partner to meet the CEO of a new client, a FTSE 250 oil company. As we sat down in the CEO’s penthouse office, we exchanged pleasantries. My colleague thanked the CEO for the invite, and with an open hands gesture, she asked, “So, tell us your story!” 

He looked out the window and, after what felt like an age, started telling his story: his pre-CEO days, getting his current role two years ago, how the executive team was performing, and what he had tried to implement, and change, without much success. He spoke without interruption for the best part of an hour. “So what do you think?”, he said.

She smiled at him, and said, “I think I know what the problem is…it’s you.

He looked at her, and said, “OK. Tell me more.” 

I’ll remember that ‘learning’ for the rest of my life. No matter how experienced, how familiar and knowledgeable about a sector, or specific function, a coach is; or how long they have worked with a particular client, team or individual, coaching is tough, it is not a cosy chat.

Coaching, and being coached – as leaders experience being coached themselves, they often start to develop an understanding of how to approach coaching others. Sometimes they practise by developing the Coaching Leadership style: one of the most impactful leadership styles, that is both long-term, and transformational, if used correctly.

Through specific executive coach training, with a recognised global qualification, leaders can experience, and develop, impactful, and insightful  questions in coaching interactions within your organisation.

Lead by example – when leaders are equipped to have real coaching conversations with others, they start to experience the benefits of coaching training and practice, and contribute to spreading the opportunity for coaching conversations to cascade throughout the organisation. Leaders demonstrating this commitment to using a coaching approach to the personal development of others, start to shift the organisational dial towards a coaching culture.

Increased self-awareness – through the coaching training process leaders gain increased self-awareness; and start to explore their strengths, and areas for development, through exploring live work situations: they then commit to taking action, and noticing and reflecting on their impact - this increased self-awareness can impact on relationships with others and contribute to improved team working and management.

Improved problem solving, and decision making – leaders experience the power of thinking through challenges with the support of a coach, helping solving problems on their own. They learn to trust their inner wisdom and make decisions that feel authentic. They understand the importance of empowering and supporting others to make decisions and take ownership of their impact on others and on their business unit.  In time, and through adopting a consistent approach to developing coaching skills and experience, builds momentum throughout the organisation, and helps nurture a coaching culture.

At Taylor Clarke, we believe the ability of leaders to adopt a coaching approach, and style, is best developed through gaining experience of the benefits, in their own role. This can be enhanced, and continued beyond coaching relationships by encouraging reflective practice, individually, and, in small supportive groups within your organisation.

If you would like to find out more about how Taylor Clarke can support your organisation in developing a coaching culture, please contact Sam Robertson at


Written by Neil Paterson, Consultant & Coach

Neil is an Associate with the Taylor Clarke Partnership, who heads up its Leadership Development Practice. He works with a wide variety of public and private sector clients on a range of executive coaching, assessment, succession and leadership development projects across EMEA. Neil was previously a Senior Partner with Hay Group, and Korn Ferry, in the UK, Middle East and Central Europe. 

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