How You Can Become A Coaching Manager

Have you ever had a coach?

It seems like nowadays everyone has a coach for something! From business and executive coaches, to fitness, wellness and even spiritual coaches. Couples and families have coaches, too, to help them work through and improve their relationships.

If there’s something in life or business you want to improve, you can almost certainly find a coach to help you!

As a coach, I believe coaching is an excellent tool for learning and growth. Plus, having someone to keep you accountable can bring you closer to your goals, in less time.

With all that said, I believe that in the business world, plenty of coaching opportunities are left on the table. And those who could benefit most from having a coach, never get the opportunity.

Now, I’m not saying everyone in the organization should get a coach, because that’s not viable or cost effective. But, what I am suggesting is that most organizations already have a structure in place through which to provide coaching — the manager or supervisor.

My Definition of Coaching

An interaction or conversation between two people where one person (the coach) asks questions, listens and provides feedback (and occasionally offers suggestions or guidance) in order to help the second person (the coachee) gain insight, identify gaps between actual and desired performance, and develop a plan for improvement.

These conversations can be formal or informal and can occur between any two people at any time.

If managers and supervisors spent more time developing their employees, imagine the effects on engagement, productivity, competency, retention, motivation, and so on…

There are plenty of coaching models and methods, all of which have their own merits. My favorite is drawn from The Coaching Manager by Hunt and Weintraub and Quiet Leadership by David Rock:

  • Define the desired outcome
  • Identify a coaching opportunity
  • Request permission
  • Ask thought provoking questions and listen
  • Allow the coachee to come to their own conclusions and gain insights (this is where the learning occurs)
  • Determine areas for growth or development
  • Develop a plan of action
  • Follow-up

A Concrete Coaching Example

You are Jill’s manager. Jill is a talented young lady who has aspirations of becoming a manager (the desired outcome). You believe Jill has the potential to do this, but she is hesitant to share her ideas in a group setting and gets flustered when presenting (areas for growth and development).

As a coaching manager, you meet with Jill to ask her questions:

  • about her goals and identify her desire to be a manager;
  • to help her gain insight into what strengths will support her in achieving that goal and in identifying skills and behaviors she will need to develop in order to achieve the goal (asking questions and listening).

Finally, you ask her if she wants some coaching from you to help her move toward her desired goal (asking permission).

Later in a team meeting, you notice that Jill is hesitant to share her ideas for the direction of a new project (coaching opportunity). After the meeting you ask Jill if she would be open to discussing the meeting and her participation with you (asking permission, again). She agrees.

You ask her several questions and listen for her response (questioning and listening, again). She acknowledges that she had some ideas she didn’t share, and she is disappointed in herself (gaining insight). You ask how you can support her to share her ideas in the future.

Together, you develop a plan. You then follow up to see how it is going.

Listening Has the Most Impact in Coaching

Too many leaders have the habit of telling rather than asking and listening — it’s exactly at this point that coaching goes wrong.

I’ve been a coach for over 15 years, and even I still find myself starting to tell someone what to do.

Have you found yourself in the same position? Next time, try using some of my favorite questions to steer the conversation in the direction of coaching:

  • What are your thoughts?
  • If you were me, what would you do?
  • Is that true?
  • What else could be true?
  • How are you feeling about the situation?

Do you want to become a coaching manager? Or, need guidance in the next steps to developing your coaching style?

I can help!

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