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Managerial Leadership

Coaching

Effective Managers Need to Coach

Improving Your Management Effectiveness

By Wendy Hearn, Business Coach. Used by permission.

Bearing in mind the fast pace of business today and the need to stay competitive, it's essential that managers should be effective. They need to be especially effective with their people and this requires learning to coach.

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For most managers, coaching has been added to their role anyway, but the majority haven't received any training in coaching skills. More than 80% of organisations use coaching to develop their staff, but only a fifth train their managers in coaching, according to a survey by the Work Foundation.

This lack of training can be costly and damaging. It's like putting a complete beginner in a car, telling them to drive and just saying "Good luck". They may have some idea of what to do, but they won't have sound training in the skills required.

Coaching is a specific set of core competencies and skills, not just a new label to add to what a manager has always done. Managers need training so that they develop those specific skills, know when and how to use them, and have confidence in themselves to coach people. With the right training, your company will benefit dramatically from this coaching. Benefits such as:

  • Improving employee performance to an optimum level

  • Being a stronger, more productive company

  • Handling change easily and encouraging growth

  • Bringing out the very best in people and unlocking potential.

You don't want your company to miss out on these benefits, do you?

I invite you to start the process of ensuring that your managers have been adequately trained in coaching skills. And not only trained, but most important, they need the opportunity to learn, experience and evaluate coaching. For help with improving management effectiveness, join a Solution Clinic.

First, they need to understand what coaching is and isn't, and how it's distinct from mentoring, training, counselling or teaching. Without this understanding, they'll be caught in the trap of not knowing whether they're coaching or not. They'll need to know at least one coaching model to give them a process and a structure to work with. This gives the coaching focus and clarity, and reaches a conclusion with agreed actions. To start with, they'll need a thorough grounding in basic coaching skills such as listening, questioning, evoking, clarifying, providing feedback, requesting, trust and rapport building, challenging, acknowledging, collaborating and action planning.

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As these are learned, practised and refined, they can be built on more.

Being trained in coaching skills is the first step and the real learning comes from experiencing coaching for yourself personally and coaching others. Therefore, it's important that you don't just get trained in the basic coaching skills and leave it there. There needs to be a supportive structure and environment for you to continue with your coaching. How often have you learned something new, only to find when you're back in the workplace that you've only retained a little of it? Or that you're facing obstacles you don't know how to overcome? Managers need their own fully experienced coach to continue working with them after their initial training. This is where they'll dramatically improve their ability to coach and have confidence in themselves as coaches.

Training your managers in coaching skills doesn't have to be done all at once and overnight. You can choose to start in a small way perhaps with only a couple of managers and as you experience the results, build on this. As you start thinking about training for your managers, I suggest you first find out what your managers really need to be effective; what they already know about coaching; what more they need to know and which of them already has a keen interest in learning to coach. Asking these questions of your managers will give you a clearer picture of what's needed. This may involve some time and commitment now, but it will ensure they get the training they most need. Knowing your company as you do, what's the most important action you can take today that will move your managers closer to being coaches?

 
 

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