Oil and gas businesses are often characterised as operating in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (‘VUCA’) environments, whilst also expected to meet ever more demanding operational challenges and stakeholder expectations. Within this setting the historically prevalent directive, ‘command and control’ leadership style has become increasingly ineffective at creating a workplace culture which fully enables and engages staff, especially millennials, to deliver outstanding results sustainably. This paper looks at what it takes for an organisation to shift towards a ‘coaching culture’, one in which exceptional performance is gained by a significantly higher quality of conversation between all involved in the business. The paper discusses the business context for a modern oil and gas business which necessitates a shift towards a ‘coaching culture’ for many in the sector; it sheds light on the critical elements of such a change programme and the key steps that are required for such a change to be successful; it examines the theoretical basis for development of a coaching leadership style in the sector; and it shares the authors’ practical learning from the field gained through implementation of such programmes in the sector, with examples and composite case studies.

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