Many organisations are shifting to a consultative and participative management style. Leaders and managers are looking to transition from the traditional role of controlling and monitoring performance to a more consultative role. There is an increased awareness of the benefit of a “coaching management style” to be able to unleash potential in their organisation.
The Foundations of Coaching
Several basic assumptions by the manager form the underpinnings of successful coaching:
- Employees want to succeed at work
- Employees can contribute ideas on how work should be performed
- Employees will work hard to achieve goals that they have played a role in developing
- Employees are open to learning if they recognize the value to them in terms of improved success on the job and subsequent reward and recognition.
When managers are acting as coach, they don’t tell the individual what to do, instead they ask questions. The allows the individual to create their own solutions. When they go through the thought process to get to resolution, colleagues are generally much more bought-in.
Coaches focus on the colleague, it’s about their development.
Coaching is not about “fixing” anyone. Again, it’s about development, and as a manager being better equipped to facilitate the learning process. The coaching process is set up to provide a clear accountability structure for action and outcomes. It helps keep the individual focused on achieving the desired goals.
Coaching is something that can / should happen as needed and in-the-moment, which is the best way for learning to occur. It’s a great way to reinforce what may have been learned in the classroom by capitalising on those on-the-job learning experiences.
Acting more like a coach
So how can a manager behave more like a coach?
- Ask good questions rather than”tell” or provide solutions
- Meet the individual where they are, improvement is different for different people
- Guide the conversation (through questions, not directives) to a mutual agreement of the priorities of development
- Ensure that the feedback information is heard and understood by the employee, clarifying questions is a great way to do this
- Provide support to the individual through a shared commitment to their goals responsibilities and action steps.
Research has shown that when a manager operates under the coaching assumptions and adopts coaching as an ongoing approach to managing people, team members respond positively; the manager creates a motivating climate for high performance and there is a higher probability of individual team member’s success.