How can a culture coach help a company to be more inclusive and profitable?
With economic challenges in every country post the Coronavirus pandemic, do organizations really need culture coaches? Or is it just another “good to have” for optics?
To answer this question, let us look at what most companies today aspire to be.
Companies that May Need a Culture Coach
Today, most workplaces seek to be:
- Diverse so that they stay relevant for people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and experiences
- Equitable so that they remain competitive in an increasingly crowded marketplace
- Inclusive in order to remain resilient and most importantly, fair
Most organizations announce that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital or family status, disability, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other legally protected status. But does that mean that such a diverse population can unite easily?
Who do you think can help with this?
A culture coach.
What Does a Culture Coach Do?
In a 2012 article published in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) newsletter, the author defined a culture coach as a person who can help facilitate organizational learning and positive change to collectively create the culture we desire.
The challenges facing a culture coach are multiple.
As the author notes, there are many layers of culture in the workplace (e.g., national, professional, and organizational). There are also several facets of diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual preference) impacting the workplace. Then, there is an added challenge when two very large organizations merge their cultures.
Today, a culture coach is not just needed in workplaces but in schools to inculcate a sense of acceptance and tolerance among students.
Given these diverse challenges, how does a culture coach go about doing what he or she needs to do in order to make a difference?
The answer is simple: by keeping in mind the larger picture (which is as mentioned above “to collectively create the culture we desire”).
Why Hire a Culture Coach?
Creating happy workplaces is no longer a dream sold by top names in any sector.
With longer working hours and stringent budgets, companies are increasingly realizing the importance of creating a happy work place.
Work environment, work-life balance, relationship with boss and co-workers, financial remuneration, resources available, growth opportunities, and autonomy are major factors that contribute to happiness.
Let us pause for a moment here and think about what an “ideal company” looks like.
- Is it an organization that really invests in its people?
- Is it one where the management supports human resources to find new ways to work smarter not harder?
- Is it one which offers employee engagement and recognition?
- Is there a strong supportive leadership at the helm offering opportunities for professional growth and work-life integration?
After all, achieving a better work-life balance for employees creates a more loyal team that is motivated to work for the benefit of the company.
Organizations or institutions that recognize the benefits of having happier employees win at the end. They have realized that the key is to move from struggling in survival mode to thriving in a competitive future.
It is these companies that are looking for culture coaches like you.
Are You Ready for The Challenge Of Becoming a Culture Coach?
Are you unsure about where to start? Don’t worry, we have you covered. In the last segment of this blog, I have provided a link to a free webinar. Enrol and get your coaching career started.
If you have reached a mid point, I have some tips for you too. Check out my blog 40 Coaching Tools To Grow Your Coaching Business if you are stuck at a plateau.
Does a Culture Coach Impact the Company Baseline?
Does it make business sense to hire a culture coach?
Hiring an effective culture coach would have the following impact:
Leaders would be able to:
- Set an example of tolerance and inclusivity and inculcate a healthy work culture
- Effectively motivate and lead employees
- Take effective and calculated risks. The relief from knowing that a leader has the support of his employees in taking crucial decisions empowers her to take the best decisions for the company
- Communicate effectively with employees. Effective communications fosters an emotional connect with the brand
- Be agile in the true sense of the term. A leader is more powerful when he does not fear change or lack flexibility.
What effect would hiring a culture coach have on the employees of an organization?
- Understand the direction that the company is moving in. They would feel validated and appreciated for their efforts.
- Feel motivated and engaged with the company’s profits. I call this profit sharing but not in the conventional sense. I mean it in the direct impact that highly motivated people have on a company’s baseline.
- Clock in more productive days and hours. As we all know, mental health and happiness has a direct impact on productivity. This has been the main reason behind France reducing its working hours and still maintaining productivity in the recent past. Read more here.
- Stay loyal to the company. Investing in people who are committed to an organization makes complete business sense, does it not?
These are few of the several reasons why organizations hire a culture coach.
How Does A Culture Coach Work?
Say you have been hired by the company of your dreams. Now what?
A culture coach works within certain parameters based on the culture that the leadership may want to inculcate among employees. But there are several challenges that a culture coach may need to face. Some may be personal, financial or working within a non-existent structure of cohesiveness in an organization.
Here are some questions you may want to ask while you are being hired as a culture coach.
Be warned, the following questions are not for the faint-hearted. So if you feel that you want to ask a more diplomatic question, feel free. However, it is within your right to get the answers as this will help you in your audit of the brand once employed as a culture coach.
Questions That You Need To Ask As A Culture Coach
- Are your employees happy working here? If not, why not? Some ways that unhappiness is expressed is through high absenteeism, disengagement, and turn over within a company.
- Is there a lack of unity and purpose within the work culture?
- Does your organization lack diversity among employees and leadership? Do employees feel a lack sensitivity regarding their cultural norms? Is there a generational gap?
- Is there a work-life balance? Are there benefits for specially-abled workers?
Even if you do not get completely transparent answers before you are hired, you will need to ask some of these questions eventually, in order to begin work!
You will also find earlier blogs on questions to ask clients. Look up 12 Life Coaching Questions to Ask Your Clients and 34 Coaching Questions to Ask Your Clients to Begin With.
Read them to find out how to prepare yourself before you can help your client.
Traits of a Good Culture Coach
We all know that the primary task of any coach is to help the client.
So, it does not matter which coaching model you choose. If helping a client is your primary objective, then you will stop at nothing to give your clients the best coaching tools possible. But what are the expectations of clients looking for a culture coach?
Are there certain qualities that a client looks for in a culture coach? This blog lists some qualities.
I have written several blogs on what you can do to become a successful coach. In a previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach, I have mentioned the top qualities. While they were written for a life coach, they are definitely applicable for a culture coach too.
Essential Qualities of a Good Culture Coach
- Empathy: If you cannot understand or tolerate differences, then the role of a culture coach is not for you. What large and diverse organizations really need are acceptance and tolerance among employees. Respecting others’ opinion and learning how to express feelings without invoking conflict are all valuable skills in such organizations. But to teach these first, you have to live the part. Do be aware of your own shortcomings/preconceived notions and judgments.
- Objectivity: Being a culture coach will test your patience in ways you had not envisioned before. This is because you will need to persuade others and create a culture of tolerance amid very diverse beliefs. This is not an easy ask. Keep your eyes on the end goal.
- Confidentiality: Winning your client’s trust is your responsibility. Creating a safe place will enable the client to trust you and achieve goals that you have set.
- Learning: Being curious is key to learning. And we all know that there is no end to learning, right? Being open to learning is a valuable trait in organizations.
- Being a people’s person: Unless you are genuinely curious to learn about people and their aspirations, you will not be able to align teams to work for a single goal.
While there are several other qualities that may help you as a culture coach, these are top few qualities that you must have. You may also want to refer to my blog on 21 Coaching Skills Every Successful Coach Needs and Top Qualities Of A Successful Coach.
These qualities mentioned are helpful for all coaches, irrespective of the niche and coaching type you specialize in.
You may be a fan of a particular coaching style. In my blog Types of Coaching Styles and Models Every Coach Should Know About, I have spoken about some of these styles. Your style of coaching will depend on your personality and the niche of your coaching practice. However, you should know all the coaching models and tailor your style to suit your client.
Also, before you start out in your chosen career as a culture coach, get a recognized certification. This will polish your existing skills. It will also help you learn about several other tools that will help you immensely in your career as a culture coach.
Are there certain specific certifications that your client is looking for while looking for a culture coach? Is there a preference for certain genders or races when it comes to choosing a culture coach?
Well, that really depends on an individual client’s needs. For example, in an all-girls school, there may be a gender preference for certain roles. Similarly, a company hiring a culture coach may look for some experience in their relevant sector/industry.
Does a culture coach need to be well-travelled and speak multiple languages?
That depends on who you are asking!
As long as there is a genuine curiosity about different cultures and sensitivity towards beliefs, these things do not make a massive difference.
Coaching certifications from recognized institutes are always a plus. I had listed some of these in my blog How to Select the Best Coaching Training Program in 2021.
Some clients may ask for degrees, others may be more flexible. Experience, aptitude and marketing skills will all help you to get a new project. So, keep asking for recommendations from existing clients. And do not forget your old clients. Follow up on how they are implementing the new skills they have learnt.
No, you do not. This is because the coaching market is not yet restricted or governed by a set of standard norms. Read more about this in my previous blog Do you need coaching certification in 2021.
A willingness to help people and the ability to get clients to open up are common traits of all good coaches, irrespective of the coaching niche.
Salary of a Culture Coach
According to Glassdoor, a Culture Coach can charge $16-$23 per hour (as estimated by employers). There are several jobs available for you right now as a culture coach!
Job Openings for a Culture Coach
Type in the words Culture Coach on any job portal and there seem to be several current openings. I found a list of them here. The employers range from private companies as well as schools. Some of the employers recruiting are Etsy, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Rooter Hero Plumbing, IDEA Public Schools, School District of Philadelphia.
Some other jobs are listed here.
Market Opportunities for a Culture Coach
Coaching is a growing industry and culture coaches will increasingly be more in demand.
Let us look at some market figures. I have mentioned these statistics in my earlier blog posts as well. But this sets the context in terms of what you can expect to earn as a coach.
This post claims that the life coaching industry has crossed the $1 billion dollar mark.
- The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members. It has a steady growth trend.
- Average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 annually.
- Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This would take revenues to $1.34 billion by 2022.
- 92% of life coaches remain active in the field.
- In Asia, there were around 3,700 coaches. They contributed $113 million in total annual revenue.
- More and more corporations are hiring life coaches instead of mental health counsellors to work with employees (no stigma).
- Life coaches remain unregulated. There are no state licensing requirements. This suggests freedom of practice, but also raises concerns about quality.
- Executive coaches can earn a handsome salary too. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for most coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session.
For executive coaches, salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session. Such coaches offer life coaching, strategic sound-boarding, and other support. My earlier blog on life coach salaries will also help you understand what is in store for you.
Now, you may be wondering how you will you get your brand name noticed? The market is evolving and growing. But the competition is also getting tougher. You may want to refer to my blog How to promote your life coaching business? for more on this.
A simple Google search will show you several books and podcasts online related to coaching. You may want to look up some of these resources and stay updated in your coaching career.
Some relevant books for cultural coaches are:
- Coaching Across Cultures: New Tools for Levereging National, Corperate and Professional Differences by Philippe Rosinski
- The Cross-Cultural Coaching Kaleidoscope: A Systems Approach to Coaching Amongst Different Cultural Influences by Jennifer Plaister-Ten
- Diversity in Coaching: Working with Gender, Culture, Race and Age by Jonathan Passmore
- Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention by John G. Mattone and Nick Vaidya
- Building Cross–Cultural Competence: How to create Wealth from Conflicting Values Hardcover by Charles Hampden–Turner, Fons Trompenaars
- Coaching Models: A Cultural Perspective: A Guide to Model Development: for Practitioners and Students of Coaching by Diane Lennard
- Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies edited by Robert J. House, Paul J. Hanges, Mansour Javidan, Peter W. Dorfman, Vipin Gupta
A search on Google offered several books on coaching. Some are:
- How to Improve Emotional Intelligence: the best coaching, assessment & action book on working & developing high emotional intelligence
- Balance Your Life Now!
- The Ultimate Questions Book – Life Purpose
I have mentioned some books listed for aspiring coaches earlier. These are:
- Co-Active Coaching – Laura Whitworth, Henry Kinsey-House, Phil Sandahl, and John Whitmore
- Transformational Life Coaching – Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott and Lynn U. Stewart
- Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills – Tony Stoltzfus
- Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute of Life Coach Training – Patrick Williams and Diane Menendez
- The Life Coaching Handbook: Everything you need to become an effective life coach – Curly Martin
There are several YouTube videos and podcasts relevant for you as a culture coach.