There are managers who coach and those who don’t. Those who don’t aren’t considered bad managers, however they are neglecting an effective tool to develop talent. We have been researching managers who coach and what characterises them. What has stood out is their mindset: They believe in the worth of training, and they consider their job as a coach involves making business coaching a natural part of the managerial toolkit. These aren’t professional coaches. They’re staff and leaders that manage a group of people, and they’re busy, hard-working men and women. So why do they so easily give training a significant place in their program? Here are four reasons:
They see training as an important tool for achieving business goals.
They aren’t coaching their people to be polite – they see participation in the development of talent as an essential process for the success of the business. Most managers will tell you that they don’t have the opportunity to coach. However, time is not a problem if you believe training is a “must have” rather than a “nice to have.” Whether they’re competing for talent, working in an extremely turbulent market place, attempting to keep their budding leaders, or planning to cultivate their strong players, they understand that they have to make time to coach
There are two assumptions behind this belief. First, that talented individuals are tough to find and recruit. If you’re known as a leader who will help your employees thrive, they will gravitate to you. Second, that an organisation can’t succeed on the backs of the talented alone. You need solid players just as much as you need stars, and they’ll require a managers help to build skills and cope with the changing realities of the market.
They like helping people grow.
These managers aren’t unlike artists that look at substance and imagine that something much better, more interesting, and more precious could emerge. They assume that the men and women working for them do not necessarily appear ready to perform the job, but that they will have to learn and develop to satisfy their function and adapt to changing conditions. Coaching managers see this as an important part of their job. They believe that those with the maximum potential, who will often contribute the maximum to a company, will need their help to understand their often-lofty ambitions.
The manager must adapt their style to the needs and style of each specific individual. This naturally takes a whole lot of work on the part of the supervisor, but again, this is perceived as being a part of the job, not a particular favour.
A good business coach asks plenty of questions. They are genuinely interested in finding out more about how things are going, what sorts of problems people are running into, where the openings and opportunities are, and what has to be done better. Normally, they don’t have to be taught how to ask questions because it is a natural strength. This fascination eases the coaching dialog, the give-and-take between coach and student in which the student freely shares their senses, doubts, mistakes, and successes so that they collectively reflect on what is happening.
They’re interested in establishing links.
As one training manager said, “that is the reason why someone would listen to me, because they believe that I really am trying to put myself into their shoes.” This empathy enables the coaching manager to construct an understanding of what
each employee needs and appropriately adjust their style. Some workers might come to training with a “give it to me straight, I’ll be able to take it” attitude. Others need time to think and form their own conclusions. A trusting, connected relationship helps managers better estimate which approach to take. And coaching managers do not place too much stock in the hierarchy. As a training manager recently told us, “We all have a job to do, we are all important, and we could all be replaced. Ultimately, nobody is above anyone else. We simply have to work together to find out what we can accomplish.”
For managers who wish to begin coaching, one of the first steps would be to seek out a trusted business advisor. What do they recommend? What is it that your business needs?
Secondly, understand that until you start coaching, you want to develop a culture of confidence and a good relationship with those you’ll be coaching. Notwithstanding your good intentions, all of the techniques on the planet will make little difference if those you’re attempting to coach do not feel connected to you somehow. Business advisors acknowledge that the relationship you develop is more significant than the all of the best training methods that can be found.
Third, learn the fundamental principals of managerial coaching that can help you to develop your own experience as a coach. One of the core lessons for managers is that coaching is not always about telling people the answer. Rather, it’s more about having a dialog and asking great, open-ended questions that permit the people you are training to reflect on what they’re doing and how they could do things differently in the future to enhance performance.
Finally, the mindset ought to be focused on the people you are training. Always remember the major principle: coaching is all about them, not about you personally.