There was a time when business coaching, or mentoring, was considered somewhat of a novelty. However, those times have changed, significantly. The value of those who are capable of helping others develop their own add value, has become paramount, and many organizations and business leaders are quickly catching on. Essentially, employee development is becoming a job skill in and of itself. Yet, the reality of the situation has indicated that – even with the best of intentions — few team leaders are actually sufficiently prepared to coach successfully.
The Conference Board conducted a recent Executive Coaching Survey, which reported 63 percent of organizations utilizing some type of in-house coaching program, with half of the remaining planning to partake. Nevertheless, coaching still seems to remain way down on the list of managerial job descriptions. In fact, it was shown that approximately half of all managers devote less than 10 percent of their time to coaching in the workplace.
Given the limited circumstances, it’s even more crucial that companies educate their managers on how to coach effectively. It’s recommended that each manager be provided with concrete tools and information to assist them with their efforts in coaching those who directly report to them. This system is shown to drastically improve the impact as well as the quality of already existing efforts. Normally, periodic meetings and random advice are deemed sufficient by managers in coaching positions; yet for coaching attempts to be truly effectual, managers must also understand the reasons for their coaching endeavors, and specifically, what actions must be taken on a scheduled basis.
It’s also vital that coaching managers remember that the act itself is based upon assisting another to learn and understand in a way that will allow he or she to continue developing and emerging within their role, and possibly beyond. Rather than giving orders, managerial coaching should incite thought; rather than dictating, coaches should focus time on listening. Additionally, team members should have the opportunity to be accountable and responsible for their own objectives and goals.
In general terms, the aim is to boost efficacy, make room for more expansive thinking, recognize strong points and areas in need of further development, and establish and accomplish difficult goals.
According to “coaching portfolio manager for the Center for Creative Leadership”, Candice Frankovelgia, research from the center, itself, has shown that managerial coaching can be condensed into five basic categories: “(1) Building the relationship: It’s easier to learn from someone you trust. Coaches must effectively establish boundaries and build trust by being clear about the learning and development objectives they set, showing good judgment, being patient and following through on any promises and agreements they make. (2) Providing assessment: Where you are now and where do you want to go? Helping others to gain self-awareness and insight is a key job for a coach. You provide timely feedback and help clarify the behaviors that an employee would like to change. Assessment often focuses on gaps or inconsistencies, on current performance vs. desired performance, words vs. actions, and intention vs. impact. (3) Challenging thinking and assumptions: Thinking about thinking is an important part of the coaching process. Coaches ask open-ended questions, push for alternative solutions to problems and encourage reasonable risk-taking. (4) Supporting and encouraging: As partners in learning, coaches listen carefully, are open to the perspectives of others and allow employees to vent emotions without judgment. They encourage employees to make progress toward their goals, and they recognize their successes. (5) Driving Results: What can you show for it? Effective coaching is about achieving goals. The coach helps the employee set meaningful ones and identify specific behaviors or steps for meeting them. The coach helps to clarify milestones or measures of success and holds the employee accountable for them.”
Business leaders should plan to root their companies with role models for those they wish to perform coaching duties. The very managers who are responsible for coaching team members also need direction and support. While many organizations might not be able to realistically work a large scale training program into their budget, there is always the option of creating an encouraging work culture, conducive to shaping managers into the best coaches they can be. The main strategy is to foster a group of managerial coaches who are supportive of the mentoring approach.
The idea of a coaching-friendly culture can often create a positive cyclical effect on your organization. If the best people are chosen for the role, and investments are made in their development as coaching advocates, you are clearly setting the stage for particular coaching duties to far surpass that of an individual manager/subordinate relationship. When the actions of the role models within your company become the norm on all levels, the rest of your team leaders and employees will be inspired to do the same.
For best results, leaders should be sure to connect the reasons and results of coaching to the actual betterment of the business as a whole. Pride in the well-being of the organization should encourage managers to add value through their own ability to coach and develop others. Asking questions relating to the specific goals and leadership necessities of the company will assist managerial coaches in providing the proper feedback to their team members, while assessing the knowledge and skills need to reach these targets. Coaching should also be included as an individual component in establishing deliberate goals and strategies for the organization.
In closing, maintain your sense of patience. There is a very good reason why managers often feel pressed for time when it comes to successful coaching. As a business leader who is also working under time constraints, remember to be understanding of everyone, and the regular responsibilities they uphold on a consistent basis. A gradual lean-in to the coaching mindset will enhance your ultimate goals and procedures. As these coaching processes become more automatic over time, you will find that your managers will grow along with this ideology, developing the skills necessary to coach team members effectually and successfully. As Frankovelgia concludes, “Individuals and groups will strive to build new skills and achieve goals. And your business will be on track to a more efficient, comprehensive system of developing people”.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200