skip to main content
Your Coaching Can Impact Managers, Organizations and Society

Your Coaching Can Impact Managers, Organizations and Society

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 7, Episode 9
  • Find out how understanding the State of the American Workplace report can bring greater demand for your coaching in this Gallup Research for Coaches podcast.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Dr. Jim Harter, Chief Scientist of Workplace Management and Wellbeing for Gallup's workplace management practice, and Adam Hickman, a Learning Design Consultant at Gallup about workplace engagement and the role of managers in employee engagement, and how Strengths Coaches can change the workplace through their coaching of managers.

Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison: Jim (Harter), when we do a State of the American Workplace report, in terms of our sampling method, when we are including engagement data, is that coming right from our Q12 or do we do some additional research on that?

18:00 Jim Harter: It's coming from asking those Q12 questions, so the Q12 is our instrument that measures those various elements of engagement. It's coming from asking the Q12 questions to a broader population of people.

So we have various types of data we can reference here -- it's kind of a luxury in that we can go into organizations and study a census population in organizations, so (in other words) we get 85+% response rates in organizations. We can do a lot with that -- we can map the data down to teams within organizations and study the teams and how the teams perform. That's a pretty rich data set. Those aren't random samples, but they're full censuses (or close to it) within organizations.

Then we have the luxury of taking what we learn in organizations and putting out a broader poll and conducting a random sample to get a feel for how the entire populace is doing on a topic. So we do both of these, and they both have big benefits.

The work within organizations we can use to create change -- to change a culture, for instance -- which impacts performance. The population numbers tell us how well we're doing across organizations.

So we're hoping that as we keep working, as we and others keep working with more organizations in an in-depth way and teaching them the right practices, that those population numbers will keep going up. Because it has enormous implications for society -- not only the performance of organizations but also the development of people and their wellbeing.

What people want right now -- one of the top priorities in life -- is to have a great job. Because people now know that work and life are so blended. So you can't get too excited (you can never get excited enough) about that mission of helping organizations improve in a way that also helps people improve their lives.

19:55 Adam Hickman: Jim, I love when we ask a question and then you get this much (a small amount) and then there's so much that comes behind it. That is the best possible answer.

I've got the (State of the American Workplace) report pulled up, so if you're thinking as a coach, "How do I take everything Jim said and make it applicable to me?" Because there's so much in there. I think the best thing is that it helps create the story that you're trying to build the foundation for why they (your clients) need you.

And if you've heard the specific numbers about disengagement, I'm looking at the (State of the American Workplace) Table of Contents. I can't imagine there's not one conversation that won't come up where you're going to talk about (Chapter 2) Do Employees Want What Your Workplace Is Selling?; (Chapter 3) The Real Truth About Benefits and Perks; (Chapter 5) A Shift in Managing Performance; (Chapter 7) Making Sense of Matrixed Teams; Chapter 8 (The Changing Place and Space of Work), probably my favorite chapter -- I've got a special place (in my heart) for remote workers -- and then anything about engagement at the end (Chapter 9, Employee Engagement: A Snapshot). Even down to the lighting and how that affects people in an organization.

There's just so much in here that I think you could pack around your story of coming into an organization, or -- if you're about to go coach a millennial -- why not know everything we know about millennials? It's not going to hurt -- it's only going to help. So when someone says something, you know you've got folks like Dr. Harter (and all the people involved with this project) behind you, who have put time and effort into this -- to say (the research is) out there.

21:27 JC: Adam, just quickly, read that Table of Contents again (to State of the American Workplace)?

AH: (In addition to the above) (Chapter 4) The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Employees, (Chapter 6) A Closer Look at the 12 Elements of Engagement, (Chapter 7) Making Sense of Matrixed Teams -- that is such a hot topic right now. Matrix, remote -- sometimes they blend them together -- and we do a really good job of explaining the difference between the two. But even the complexities involved -- what do those folks need, what do they have -- to make them engaged -- there's that story. Then (Chapter 8) The Changing Place and Space of Work -- look at the three of us, we're all over the place (geographically) but we show up every day highly engaged, ready to get it done. And then Chapter 9 goes deeper into each of the 12 elements.

Let me just do one more plug here -- this is another Dr. Harter one. If you're a coach and you're checking out, check out the one posted March 13 about 5 Questions Every Onboarding Program Must Answer. When I was scanning over this, the questions that are asked on there are fantastic questions to ask if you're a coach, so -- what do we believe in around here? Pretty simple sentence, lengthy conversation.

How much can you open up a person to find that out, to know whether they are considering changing jobs, or they want to get into a profession. Even just the term "belief" being the key word there -- what do you believe in and then who do you want to be around?

JC: Jim, because it's the manager, and we're putting so much emphasis this year on talking about that and the value of that, when we think about our coaches going out and working with organizations, what kind of advice would you give them about the impact they can make working in organizations? There are different ways of doing this, with one-on-one coaching or going in and doing workshops, or spending time with coaching. What have we found out about coaching and the manager that you would say is most important?

36:27 JH: Well, one of the statistics that I think is really important with regard to managers is that less than a third say they have someone who encourages their development. That's way too low, and the reason I say that is that managers have to be able to cascade their own experiences to their employees. Managers have a little higher stress, worse physical wellbeing, less clear expectations than the people they manage directly. So again, another area for huge opportunity.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. You can double that one in three to two in three, and think about the enormous impact that would have on an organization. And it's very possible, but it has to be intentional. So I think strengths-based coaches have the best opportunity to be intentional about development -- and when I say "development," I mean moving managers (from) a mentality of boss -- the old workforce -- to one of being the coach, that really aligns more with the current and future workforce. And that's people come to work wanting to be coached. They don't want you to ignore their weaknesses, but they want you to spend a significant amount of time thinking about their strengths.

So when you're coaching managers, you're producing a ripple effect on the population because if the ratio of manager to direct reports is 1:10, 10 direct reports for every manager, think about the ripple effect of that across all the different managers you have a chance to coach. And one of the things we've learned recently is that we've got to get the manager experience right if we want to get the employee experience right.

Jim Harter's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Focus, Learner, Relator and Futuristic.

Adam Hickman's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Command, Analytical, Competition and Individualization.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030