Today’s manager is expected to achieve targets and outcomes as well as ensuring their staff are aligned to the organisational strategy and vision. Furthermore, managers are also expected to develop their staff, nurture talent and manager performance. For many managers the temptation is to focus on the doing part of their roles, the day to day tasks and the transactional stuff. This approach is easy and time consuming but it is short sighted. Managers need to balance the transactional stuff with the longer term issues of strategy, development and vision, and coaching is one way to help achieve this balance.
Coaching is a powerful tool in two ways. Firstly, coaching can improve performance because it identifies an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and allows for a highly tailored approach to individual and professional development. Secondly, the act of coaching itself sends a strong message to the individual that their development is important, and that you are willing to invest time in their development. Coaching has the ability to change and shape organisational culture by focusing on individual development.
The key to coaching is you don’t have to have the answer. In fact, coaching is more about asking the right questions rather than having the answers. Here are some key skills for the manager as coach
- Listening – listen to your staff member with focus and attention
- Questioning – use open ended questions that move the staff member towards a goal
- Challenging – don’t be frightened to challenge the staff member if you pick up on any contradictions
- Accountability – be sure to hold the staff member accountable for what they said they would do
- Trust – don’t assume that there will be trust between you and the staff member
Next time you have a one on one with your team members think about how you might implement a coaching approach rather than a supervisory approach. In a future blog we will discuss the GROW coaching model and how you can use it.