Building Coaching into your Management Style
Coaching can be incorporated into your management style.
Pressure for People Managers
Being a people manager is an extremely demanding role today. There is enormous responsibility. There are many pressures for people mangers today and they can often find themselves in meetings or reading e-mails that speak primarily of stats, numbers, figures, business performance and changes. Then there is the added pressure of people not performing, coming in late and to top it all off, they are expected to coach people.
Managers often attend multiple meetings and business pressures can at times, leave managers feeling worried, frustrated, overwhelmed and time poor. Managers can be mentally exhausted before they even get back to their team and become challenged with how to best engage their staff to get the results they need.
These pressures can manifest in negative actions such as managers telling their team what they need to do, shutting down mentally or even ignoring their team while they process information they have received. Coaching becomes the furthest action from their mind and the least likely action for them to take, even though it is the most needed action and can act as a pressure release for the manager as they focus their attention on their team rather than their own emotions.
Some managers come out of business performance meetings and dump new information with their team straight away telling their team all about the challenges, what the team isn’t doing right and what they have to do to fix it. Even coming from a good place (eg: “Knowledge is power” mentality) dumping this information passes the pressure onto your team. This action can also come across as dictatorial and ineffective. Sometimes this approach is absolutely necessary and critical to the business. On a daily basis however, this style of management can create discord within teams. It can also make your job as a people manager a lot more challenging as people will have their own reactions to the pressure and then you are managing behaviours instead of coaching.
In an attempt to gain back some form of composure, managers might even bury themselves in paperwork and tasks that they feel that they can action and control. All the time, ignoring coaching their team.
Yes. Being a people manager is a challenging role. Through all the challenges, blood, sweat and tears, there are amazing rewards to be had when you get it right. Coaching can be a huge part of this reward.
Successful People Managers
The most effective and successful people managers are the ones that coach their people.
They know how to get the best out of their people and coaching has become a natural part of their management style.
The leaders that are able to understand that as a manager, they are the mediator between the staff member and the company. That their role is to align the teams’ abilities with business needs and outcomes.
No matter what happens in a meeting or within the business, they know their people and know how to coach them to get the best out of them.
They are consistent and are constantly seeking ways to encourage, support and guide their team. They maximise their time by empowering their team.
Effective people managers step back and ask their team, “How can I best serve you?” “What can I do to help you achieve your goals?”
They understand what coaching is and it has become a part of their management style.
Understanding what coaching is.
To be an effective coach, the first step is to understand what coaching actually is.
Have you ever found yourself scratching your head with where to start when it comes to coaching other people? This could be due to your interpretation of what coaching actually is.
If you were to ask people in your work place what the term “coaching” means to them, you are bound to receive a variety of responses. People will assimilate the term “coaching” with their own perception and experience.
If you have been coached effectively in your career, you are more likely to go on and coach other people successfully as you follow in the footsteps of your coach. On the flip side, if you were never coached effectively and you are now a manager, it may be more challenging to coach your own team successfully.
Another reason you might receive varied responses from people is because there are so many different definitions of the general term “coaching”.
What is a coach?
If you look up the word “coach” in the dictionary, the word is linked to busses, trains, carriages and horse drawn carts – any transport that carried people. Back in the 1800’s, the word “coach” became a slang word that was used for tutors. It was perceived that tutors would “carry students through exams”.
The term “coach” has long been associated with being an instructor, trainer, teacher or tutor, so you might be forgiven to think that coaching is training.
In business today, the true definition of a coach is someone who develops another person.
Being a people manager, you are a coach. You are that someone who develops another person.
A coach looks at where people are at right now and helps them get to where they want / need to be.
A coach will help individuals choose a course of action, they will support, challenge and will provide feedback and guidance.
What is Coaching?
Picture your favourite sports team in full play. The coach is standing on the side line with their clipboard yelling terms of encouragement at the team as they play. This is often the final stage of the coaching process that we are witnessing.
Think of what the coach has been through with the players to even get them to the game. What steps has the coach taken to be in a position to provide encouragement and support?
Coaching in business is about helping employees become more effective within the business and within themselves at the same time as providing support and involving employees in the process.
It is understanding the needs of the business, identifying what your people (your team / your staff) need and then working with individuals to help them move forward to achieve success and positive business outcomes.
It is about helping a person to change and develop personally. To help move them forward from where they are today to where they want to be whilst working in alignment with business needs.
This means that coaching is for everyone in your team, even your over achievers need to be coached and developed.
Coaching should be a positive experience for everyone involved.
Why Coach employees at all?
Why bother watering seeds? Because they will grow and create produce. Effective coaching leads to extraordinary results in business.
When done well, coaching will increase engagement, empower people, improve skills, increase productivity and profitability.
Coaching contributes to the culture of a business and can influence attitudes and behaviours.
Becoming effective at coaching your team as a people manager has enormous benefits to the business, your team and to you! It can feel good to help other people and to achieve great results.
You are a people manager. When you help to grow and develop your people, your work load becomes easier to manage.
Coaching creates new experiences and with new experiences comes personal growth and development.
Take a moment to think about your team and ask yourself the following two questions:
- What will happen for you as a people manager if you became a great coach?
- What will happen for your team if you became a great coach?
Fundamentals of coaching.
There are a variety of coaching models that can be accessed, followed and used for business coaching. What they all offer is a structure to help you stay on track with individuals. They provide you with guidelines to work within and around.
When coaching models are rolled out to managers across a business, why is it that some managers get it straight away and become proficient in using the model while other managers seem to struggle?
The managers that are effective at coaching are the managers that have a genuine vested interest in the personal development of their people.
There are some key characteristics that the best coaches (People Managers) display.
Having read through the list above, is there one area that stood out to you that you would like to improve on?
This could become a part of your own action plan - an area for self development.
Dispelling excuses managers use to put coaching off. (what they are really saying)
Here are some of excuses that people managers use for not coaching.
There is always a deeper meaning to an initial statement and I hope to shed some light on them for you in this section by providing you with what it “could” mean. Remember, each response / excuse is unique to the person and questioning is always need to get to the real meaning behind the statement. This is to get you thinking about how some statements “excuses” might be interpreted.
As a people manager, have you ever used any of these to get out of coaching?
- It takes so long, I don’t have time in my day.
-This could be to mask incompetence. What the people manager is really saying here is that they don’t know how to coach, they don’t understand coaching and that coaching is not a part of their management style.
- Not coaching leads to underperformance and a greater loss of time.
- Make coaching your daily priority.
- When coaching is a part of your management style, it has no time limit applied to it. It is all the time.
- There is too much preparation involved.
- Believing there is a lot of preparation could be a sign that the manager is overwhelmed.
- It could also identify a skill gap in effective questioning. This gets easier with time, practice and genuine interest in their people.
- It could also represent a need for control by the manager. Let it go!
- What preparation is required? Knowing the people that you manage, their strengths, weaknesses, goals, beliefs, attitudes, who they are and what they want….this is the role of being a people manager. As a manager, you should know this anyway!
- What are you preparing and why? Is this preparation something that the team member could be doing?
- The business doesn’t give me enough time to coach.
- This might indicate that the manager has their priorities upside down.
- They might not have enough resources to draw from to support and guide people.
- They may not know how to coach effectively.
- They may be developing their coaching skills and are finding it challenging.
- Being a people manager means that coaching should be first and foremost.
- I don’t see the value in coaching
- This could be a cover for not feeling comfortable with coaching.
- They may have had a negative experience when they were being coached, or they have never experienced being coached themselves.
- This challenge needs to be addressed by the managers’ manager as they have been employed as a people manager and would have understood that coaching is a part of their role.
- My team don’t care, why should I
- This is avoidance of coaching.
- Care about your people. It will be reciprocated.
- Lead from the front and bring your people on the journey
- They have never done what I’ve told them to before – why should I bother
- This is a good indication that the manager does not understand coaching.
- They may not be interested in helping or supporting other people.
- Coaching isn’t telling people what to do. It is finding out what they want to do to change, grow and develop.
- Bother because you are a people manager and coaching matters.
- No one coaches me. Why should I coach others?
- This could be a backward way of asking for help. That the manager has never been shown and therefore does not know how.
- Find the people manager a coach or mentor.
- Besides the fact that you will get great results and feel good about your role as a people manager, people will respect you too.
- I am not a trainer
- No you’re not! You are a coach!
- If training is required, source training and get it booked as a part of a coaching plan.
- Being a trainer is a highly sought after skill. Some trainers are also coaches. You are a people manager and coach.
- I don’t know how to coach other people
- A direct response is great because this can become a skill that the people manager learns by mirroring other people, attending training themselves, reading and practicing.
- I’ve got more important things to be doing.
- This could be a negative cry for help.
- It demonstrates a lack of value placed on coaching.
- You are a people manager. What could be more important than coaching?
When a people manager is refusing to coach their people, there is always a deeper meaning behind what they are saying.
Think about the excuses that you have used to avoid coaching your team.
Now. Think about the reason behind the excuse.
This might be an opportunity for your own personal development.
Building coaching into your management style.
As a manager, you will use a variety of different management styles to communicate and manage your team. You can build coaching into our management style by becoming more confident and competent with coaching.
To incorporate coaching into your management style, here are a few concepts to start integrating into your daily routine.
- Build rapport and trust with your people.
- Genuinely care about other people and help them to achieve and succeed.
- Develop an in-depth understanding of what is required from people in their role to meet the needs of the business.
- Find a coaching model that works for you and use it for every coaching opportunity.
- Get curious about other people. Ask questions.
- Really listen to what your people are saying. Listen with intent.
- Take the time to ask open questions and allow people to answer and come up with solutions.
- Encourage people to choose their own pathways and to set goals that they feel are right for them.
- Trust and respect your people.
- Keep building your reservoir of resources. This will help you provide better support to your people.
- Challenge people’s thinking.
- Make coaching your first priority. Without people, you would not be a people manager.
- Being a people manager is a challenging role. Through all the challenges, blood, sweat and tears, there are amazing rewards to be had when you get it right. Coaching can be a huge part of this reward.
- The most effective and successful people managers are the ones that coach their people.
- Coaching has become a natural part of their management style.
- To be an effective coach, the first step is to understand what coaching actually is.
- In business today, the true definition of a coach is someone who develops another person.
- Coaching is understanding the needs of the business, identifying what your people (your team / your staff) need and then working with individuals to help them move forward to achieve success and positive business outcomes.
- Successful coaches (people managers) display key characteristics.
- Following a coaching model provides you with structure for coaching.
- There are many excuses for not coaching that are used on a daily basis.
- Think of the excuses you have used and get to the real cause of the excuse.
- Build coaching into your management style by practicing it every day.