Coaching brings empowerment
Coaching works by increasing the performance of people. A business’s success depends largely on the results achieved by the people who work within the organization, which shows how coaching can be a huge opportunity. In today’s workplace, it is no longer enough for managers to be talented or expert individually. A ‘Super Manager’ needs to be able to develop talent and results from others.
The tendency, however, is not to do this by increasing the controls upon their team members or by monitoring them more closely, but rather by supporting them to learn the skills that will sustain them, like ‘teaching a hungry man to fish.’
This requires adopting a less directive style of management:
- Give less advice
- Give fewer answers
- Trust that people often know what they need
- Encourage your team to form their own thoughts and views about a situation
Can you ‘let go’?
To adopt this kind of management style, you will need to operate from a different set of principles:
It is important to clarify that a manager who adopts a coaching approach should not be mistaken for a ‘soft’ or ‘nice’ manager, but rather one that acknowledges and challenges their team members to come up with solutions, encouraging them to take ‘ownership’.
It is obvious that this is not something that can be done all the time in all management situations, but when it can it is extremely empowering to the team as a whole.
Three coaching principles to remember
- Develop potential
In the current economic context, having managers ensure that their teams have a high level of success can be done by taking on a coaching approach. Coaching managers provide support, challenge, feedback and guidance, but rarely the answers. Teams are made up of diverse knowledge and experience, so bringing out each person’s potential is a significant step to getting the team motivated.
- ‘I know how’
- ‘I tell you’
- ‘You follow instruction’
- ‘You know how’
- ‘I ask you’
- ‘You decide’
The Sherpa Guide, by Brenda Corbett and Judith Colemon [Cengage Learning 2006]
Brilliant Coaching, by Julie Starr [Pearson Education Limited – second edition 2012]
The Supermanager, by Greg Blencoe [ebook 2011] Leadership that gets results, by Daniel Goleman [Harvard Business Review March April 2000]