Enabling managers to become effective coaches

Business coaching has evolved from a fad to a necessity. Leaders and organizations have realized the value in enabling managers to become effective coaches and are now adding “the ability to teach and train others” to the ever-expanding list of abilities they require of all managers. Theoretically, this signifies more employee development handled more efficiently. In fact, however, few managers understand how to effectively coach.

As per the 2010 Executive Coaching Survey performed by the Conference Board, 63 percent of firms use some type of internal coaching, and 50 percent of the remaining organizations expect to do so in the near future. However, coaching is a modest portion of most managers’ job descriptions. Nearly half of individuals devote less than 10% of their time coaching others.

Due to the limited time available for coaching, firms must ensure that their managers have the necessary skills. To improve the quality and effectiveness of your coaching initiatives, begin by providing your managers with concrete knowledge on how to coach their direct reports. Managers typically fulfill their coaching responsibilities by providing reviews, conducting occasional meetings, and offering suggestions. For coaching to be effective, coaches must comprehend why they are coaching and what activities are required.

Coaching focuses on facilitating another person’s learning in ways that allow for continued development. It is built on asking rather than telling, on stimulating thought rather than offering instructions, and on holding an individual accountable for his or her objectives.

The idea is to boost effectiveness, extend one’s perspective, discover one’s strengths and growth needs, and create and attain ambitious goals.

Tips for enabling managers to become effective coaches

1. Listen carefully before giving your response:

It will be easier for you to assess whether or not this is a circumstance in which you should perform as a manager or a coach if you collect as much information as you can. It is simple to make an incorrect judgment about whether or not there is a chance for a coaching talk when the employee’s difficulties or worries to a greater or lesser extent are unknown.

2. Consider yourself to be more of a sounding board than a magic 8-ball:

You are in the role of manager-coach if you are there to assist employees in finding their own solutions to problems rather than instructing them what to do. Change your mentality so that instead of delivering solutions or suggestions to employees, you focus on giving them more independence and empowering them to figure out how to solve problems.

3. Ask questions; don’t just tell employees what to do:

Most of the time, managers fall into the trap of trying to tackle the issues that their direct reports are facing. When dealing with employees who are looking for the solution to an issue, it is best not to give them your solution but rather to ask questions that drive the employee toward finding a solution to the problem on their own.

4. Use open-ended questions, not closed-ended questions:

Open-ended questions, which are sometimes referred to as discovery questions, encourage the coaches to participate more actively in the conversation by requiring them to think of their own solutions. Open-ended questions are those that do not need a yes-or-no response; rather, they seek to elicit from the employee being coached their thoughts, downsides, prospective opportunities, and options.

5. If someone asks you a question, which should serve as your cue to respond with a question of your own:

You can immediately go into coach mode and ask, “How do you believe it should be solved?” when employees ask you questions like “How should I solve this problem?” or “How do you think it should be solved?” This interaction generates a fantastic learning opportunity, an answer that has the potential to be superior to the answer that you may have provided, and enhanced efficiency as a result of faster issue solving.

6. Inspire staff to consider the following potential roadblocks:

Being realistic about the things that could derail a plan of action is an important part of being a coach. When an employee has come up with a solution to a problem, it is vital for coaches to remind the employee of the potential problems that could arise and assist the person in developing other solutions and adjustments in the event that anything unexpectedly does not go according to plan.

7. Establish a legally binding responsibility agreement:

Action needs to be generated, and accountability needs to be established, for a coaching dialogue to be considered authentic. Follow up with the employee after he or she has made their decision, and then develop a timeline and a deadline for the required action to take place, and make sure it is carried out.

Coaching can be a part of a variety of settings, including a discussion about professional goals, an annual review, or maybe even a difficult chat regarding performance. There is a time and a place to be a manager or a coach in the workplace; neither technique is suitable in every circumstance. When managers become better coaches for their employees, however, the rewards are immense: it may enhance employee engagement, generate trust in employees, assist obtain a range of viewpoints, enable people to develop and grow as leaders, and achieve buy-in for choices.

The organization should be seeded with coaching role models. Most firms cannot afford to train their managers on the whys and hows of coaching, so the least you can do is establish a coaching culture. The idea is to cultivate a pool of manager-coaches who can serve as role models, advocates, and upholders of a coaching mentality.

When you choose the right people, engage in their development, and position them as coaching advocates, you sow the seeds for coaching to grow much beyond the manager-direct report connection. Your role models exemplify formal and informal coaching effectiveness, and they encourage others to use and develop their own coaching skills.

Always relate the aim and outcomes of coaching to the enterprise. Managers must understand the business case for coaching and developing others in order to value and effectively employ it. Where is the company heading? What kind of leadership is required to bring us there? How should coaches collaborate with direct subordinates to give the necessary feedback, information, and experiences for skill development? Establish strategic coaching objectives, methods, and metrics for the organization, and include coaching as an individual metric.

Finally, be patient. It is hardly unexpected that managers believe they lack sufficient time for coaching. Even if you make coaching and learning explicit priorities, everyone will experience time constraints. But as your coaching practices and objectives become more stable and esteemed, in-house coaching will flourish. Your managers would have a new method for training and motivating their subordinates. Individuals and groups will seek to develop new skills and accomplish their objectives. Enabling managers to become effective coaches will put your organization well on its way to a more effective and comprehensive system of employee development.