Managers and Leaders as Coaches
Companies in the 21st century that aim to thrive and flourish in rapid, fast-paced environments expect more from their managers and leaders than ever before. You can’t just be good at your job and be armed with the necessary skills, you also need to be a good team player and a great coach. And with the post-pandemic era upon us, organizations are now, more than ever before, scouting for an entire package when they hire managers.
Employees are no longer working just for monetary benefits and professional advancements. They too have personal goals that they aim to achieve and they want to be a part of an organization that helps develop both their professional and personal skills. Great managers now also have to shoulder the responsibility of being a great leaders and equip themselves with necessary coaching skills. They also need to be able to motivate and challenge their team members and have the tactics and tricks to build and establish a great working environment.
70% of employee development happens through direct experience rather than formal training, according to Harvard Business Review. This means that when taking on the role of a manager, you also take on the responsibility of supporting your employees’ personal and professional development journey. When managers coach, they are no longer just sharing their valuable information with somebody less qualified or less experienced; they are leading their employees to find and solve their own problems. Sir John Whitmore says that skilled coaching involves “unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance.” A skilled manager will have mastered the process of both giving out the knowledge they gained through their trials and errors, as well as helping others chance upon the knowledge themselves.
Starting off with some statistics, studies have shown that organisations that put in significant effort in coaching their employees have seen 36% more collaborative culture than those organizations that disregard coaching. Additionally, these organizations also have 32% lower staff turnover and are 18% more likely to show an improved bottom line.
Effective coaching can not only increase employees’ levels of commitment to the work but also drastically increase their engagement, performance, autonomy, critical thinking skills and attitude towards work. As per research, 94% of employees who like their bosses are passionate about their jobs and expect to stay in the organization for longer. On the other hand, 77% of people who disapprove of their bosses hope to leave their jobs. This statistic shows the importance of a good manager and how a good manager affects employee satisfaction, retention as well as performance.
Around 15 years ago, organizations used to focus on individual coaching as the focus was on increasing individual productivity and motivation. Recently, the trend has changed with more organizations focusing on team coaching. Team coaching benefits individuals, teams and by extension, the entire organisation as it is known to greatly improve interpersonal support skills while developing trust and collaboration between team members.
TIPS TO GET STARTED
Here are 5 tips to help guide you along the journey of becoming a coach within your organisation:
Listen first: When taking on the responsibility of coaching your team, you should keep aside the orator within you. Instead, channel your inner listener. People open up and trust more when they feel they are being heard. They also share their questions, concerns, feedback and input when they feel like their voices matter. Your team should know that you care enough to lend an ear and that you are there to hear them out and not just to speak over them.
Get to know them on an individual level: Coaching is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each individual is unique and even when coaching in a team setting, you need to be aware of each individual's strengths and weaknesses. Like Albert Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Discern each team member’s genius and help them work on it to bring out their fullest potential.
Questioning over advising: Keep in mind that employees are not approaching you as a superior with a lot of experience, they are approaching you as a coach who will nudge them in the right direction. For this relationship to be fruitful, don’t tell them what to do but let them figure it out on their own. To aid this process, you need to ask them the right questions that point them in the right direction. Make sure to ask them open-ended questions so that they can weigh out the answer themselves and sit back and watch as the answer dawns upon them with a guiding hand from you.
Empowerment is key: Your responsibility as a manager-as-a-coach or a leader-as-a-coach is to empower your team and help them take action and find answers on their own. The best way for your employees to understand their own skills and potential is by doing tasks on their own. The more autonomy you give your team, the more they’ll feel confident in their own abilities. Take every day and every task as a way to empower and uplift the ones that need your guidance.
Criticisms and Compliments: Feedbacks are essential to coaching and also in getting the desired output from your team members. Praise what is good and criticize what is bad. However, even when giving compliments, be genuine - giving compliments half-heartedly can have a worse effect than not giving compliments at all! Your recognition of an employees efforts and your feedback and criticisms could really be launch-pad for their potential
Coaching has now become an increasingly important part of a modern manager’s job. The 5 tips are a great starting point but ask any ICF-certified coach and they will tell you that it does not even scratch the surface of what it is like to be a coach. Improving your coaching skills are key to a successful team and in turn, a successful business. Our ICF- certification programmes are designed to teach you the A-Z of being a coach and will help take your business to the next level. So, don’t hesitate and follow this link (needs to be hyper-linked) to achieve your highest coaching potential.