Managers, sharpen up your coaching game

Who is your favorite sports coach?

Well, if you’re a manager, you might want to pay closer attention to their leadership skills. The role of the manager is evolving, and coaching skills are becoming necessary for managing and leading in a changing business environment.

Yes, not only do you need to be a manager and a leader to your direct reports, you also need to be a coach. Many people have untapped potential that needs to be engaged, and one way to unleash that is to develop a coaching managerial style.

But if you don’t understand why you need to develop coaching skills, first check out these definitions from Wikipedia:

Management is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.”

Coaching is the practice of supporting an individual through the process of achieving a specific personal or professional result.”

Not so different, is it?

A coaching management style focuses on developing employees and providing opportunities for them to improve their skills and produce better results through mentoring and training. Adding coaching skills can help managers create a motivating environment that can increase the probability of an employee’s success by providing feedback, recognition, and support.

Keep in mind, incorporating coaching skills into your management style does not mean that your responsibilities as a supervisor no longer exist. But instead of checking and monitoring the work on a consistent basis, coaching enables managers to develop a relationship with their employees that create a shared understanding about what needs to be achieved.

If you don’t take the time to develop coaching skills, you may give the impression to your direct reports that you are not available to support them when they are having problems. You may be perceived as a leader who lets group members “sink or swim” based on their own ingenuity.

If you want to be viewed as an advocate or mentor in your direct reports’ career pursuits, here are some development tips to keep in mind:

· Sharpen your skills in coaching by working with someone who will give you feedback on your coaching skills.

· Attend meetings of coaching groups to gain expertise in coaching skills.

· Hire your own coach for a period of time. Notice what this person does to help you succeed in achieving your goals, and practice using similar methods with your team members when appropriate.

· Find out about the training and development opportunities available in your organization, and pass this information along to your team members. Encourage team members to participate in these activities, and allow work time for this whenever possible.

· Identify the weakest performer on your team. Together develop a plan to improve his/her performance, jointly setting the goals. Include regular assessments and rewards for success.

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