Managers are the backbone of a company, they keep individuals and teams on track and focused, they facilitate company growth, and they ensure goal achievement. However, like most things, the role of management is rapidly changing. Employees are no longer looking for someone to look over their shoulder and tell them what to do and how to do it. Instead they want someone that can facilitate their growth to allow them to excel in their role. They are looking for a coach; someone who can facilitate problem solving, who can make them think, who can support them and guide them in the right direction. It is essential that modern management styles are able to seamlessly integrate coaching in order to carry out this new manager-led coaching style.
In a study, *3,761 executives evaluated their own coaching abilities, and the results were compared to those of others with whom they interacted with on a daily basis. The outcomes weren’t very consistent. The abilities of 24% of the executives were greatly under-estimated by their peers, who placed them in the lowest third of the group while they rated themselves as above average. It goes without saying that a positive coaching style is necessary to bridge this gap.
Managers that adopt a positive coaching approach to team management can motivate and build trust among and between employees, improving performance and productivity without hindering the quality of the team's work. More so, with regular feedback, teams and individuals are able to identify and target issues that may arise. This shift in management style ensures performance-based development while promoting job satisfaction within the workplace.
How to implement a coaching approach
- Ask direct questions – Asking questions is pivotal to management led coaching. Ensuring a continuous effort to ask about the employee, how they are doing and how they can best be supported in their role will reveal a plethora of insightful information about how to help them navigate within the workplace so they can excel. As well as this, questions can challenge teams to come up with solutions to problems while promoting their independence.
- Actively listen - shutting down preconceptions and taking on a conscious effort to really listen to employees will make a world of difference. Instead of thinking about the next question or statement, managers should engage with their employees - they should take mental notes in order to understand what is being said, truly understand the learner and build a better picture of their needs.
- Be a learner – By asking questions and actively listening, managers are increasing the amount of information they receive. And naturally, with more information comes more learning - even for a well experienced manager! As a manger it is important that you do not assume you know all the answers already. Team members may have innovative ideas that the manager themselves may not have been able to think up. Once managers realize that they can learn from their employees just as much as employees can learn from them, they can tap into greater organizational benefits such as efficiency, innovation and growth.
Approaches to Manager led Coaching
There are a range of approaches that managers can take to support their coaching style. Guroo’s Academy LMS includes an eLearning platform designed to drive workplace behaviour changes. Its ‘coaching dashboard’ is adjusted to each individual learner through data driven coaching to promote the learners needs, skills and understanding. There are several approaches a manager can take when looking to shift to a coaching-based management style in conjunction with their LMS, each having its own benefits which can be adjusted to the current situation to best support each individual employee.
There are four main coaching styles that can be utilized when implementing manager-lead coaching:
This employee-centred coaching style seeks to assist employees only when required. It does so by assisting them on performance-based development, decision making and problem solving where employees are encouraged to give input to promote self-empowerment in the workplace.
As the manager leaves room for the team to make their own decisions and go about problem solving as a collective, the effects in turn surround that of improved teamwork, greater collaboration and critical thinking.
As the name suggests, this is where the manager takes on a more hands-on approach, telling those employees what to do and how to get there. This management style should be used sparsely and only in high pressure or inexperienced environments.
If continuously utilized, the employee may become unmotivated and disinterested in the work as they are asked for little to no input and given little room for creativity and independence. However, when engaged in correctly the method can bring a team together to achieve goals in a timely and efficient manner.
A coaching style that integrates all levels of employment and decision making for goal achievement. This method appreciates each individual employee as being an equal part of goal achievement. Managers that take on this style help to promote workplace satisfaction and fulfillment among their employees as they encourage career growth.
This management led coaching style in turn gives a perspective of the importance of the employee’s efforts and in turn promotes performance and job satisfaction. This type of coaching is difficult to achieve but holds desirable effects.
By giving a clear and direct idea of what the end goal is, vision coaching gives its employees the path to get where they need to be without compromising independence and problem solving for the teams.
This approach is useful when attempting to achieve larger-scale goals and can work well in both team and independent projects. It calls for precise and effective results as employees are given the space to get to where they need to without having someone breathe down their back.
It should be noted that each management/coaching style should be adjusted according to the situation, team or individual at hand in order to allow them to perform best in their role. A manager that is able to distinguish each style from one and other and implement it accordingly will be one of great success. By asking questions, listening and learning throughout the course of their career, managers are able to not only improve their employee’s performance but also are able to promote their own career success.
* Harvard Business Review. 2022. The Leader as Coach. [online] Available at: <https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-leader-as-coach> [Accessed 20 July 2022].