How to Achieve the Transformative Effect of Learning with Purpose

Are there a set of factors that typify high performing organisations? What are the common themes? 

High performance organisations share several features, that when working in unison over a sustained period of time, can deliver substantial financial and non-financial results that far outstrip others in their peer group.  

In high performance organisations, fast revenue growth, high profitability and superior commercial returns are often present at the same time as high levels of employee satisfaction, customer care and innovation; as a result these organisations have better reputations and are perceived more positively by others. 

Conversely, their poorer performing peers may possess less attractive qualities that prevent high performance. Organisations that experience overwhelming bureaucracy, archaic communication, contained decision making and low levels of accountability are unlikely to sustain performance in the long term and consequently they will be unable to withstand the onslaught of change in a VUCA world. 

Whilst not all organisations will have such a bleak outlook (a middle ground is possible!) the high performing organisation can provide valuable insights into what makes an organisation successful.

So, what are the features of a high performance organisation and how can a coaching culture help to deliver them? 

According to De Waal (2012) there are five validated factors of competitive advantage, they are: 

1.Management quality 

2.Openness and action orientation 

3.Long term orientation 

4.Continuous improvement and renewal 

5.Employee quality

It might be possible to improve performance by addressing just one of these factors, however, for organisations in pursuit of high performance - all of these factors must be working together in harmony; therefore they need to be underpinned by a more relevant organisational culture.

A coaching culture will help an organisation to create more credible relationships between Managers and Employees by opening up frequent dialogues that lead to higher levels of insight for both parties. In a coaching culture, the role of ‘Manager’ changes from Task Master to Coach and Facilitator – this allows for a higher quality of exchange that generates better problem solving skills, higher levels of creativity and clearer accountability.

When employee participation is demonstratively valued, and mistakes are not scorned but perceived as learning opportunities, the quantity and quality of employee contributions will accelerate. By embedding coaching behaviours across all levels, the organisation will achieve a clear focus on continual renewal and improvement, at the same time as building valuable social capital that is vital for sustainability. And, when these behaviours become the everyday habits of the organisation, the organisation has the opportunity to deliver high levels of commercial performance in the long term. 

In such dynamic, flexible and adaptable organisations, the way in which performance is then managed, starts to look and feel quite different. As organisations move away from ‘managing performance’ to ‘enabling performance’ they will also need to re-invent performance management for commercial success. 

Download our whitepaper – A New Frontier: Re-inventing Performance Management for Commercial Success – to find out how you can build a sustainable coaching culture that is capable of delivering high performance. 

Notion Ltd is a global expert in behaviour change. To find out more please visit us at, or for an informal chat about transforming the culture of your organisation, call us on +44 (0)1926 889 885.

Kind regards

Laura Ashley-Timms - Director of Coaching