Looking back on your career so far, who was the one person that really made a difference? Whether it’s an old boss, a teacher, or mentor, we’ve all had one – and if we’re lucky, we might have had a few.
They did way more than teach you how to complete tasks and hit deadlines. They taught you how to ask questions and to conduct yourself, both personally and professionally. They empowered you to think differently, find your own answers and take on new challenges. They were your coach, and in hindsight, they changed your life.
Whether you’re an executive-level manager or a brand-new, first-time manager, introducing a coaching leadership approach into your management style is vital in today’s workforce. Learning to coach, rather than “boss” or manage your employees is a role with effects so emotionally gratifying, it’ll give you goosebumps!
A coaching mindset is all about learning what really drives people, what they’re great at, what they really love to do, and when they feel they have made the most impact.
People who follow the coaching leadership style usually have one unique characteristic that other leadership styles don’t offer. Rather than show their direct reports how to do something, or delegating work to them directly, the coaching leader will encourage people to try something new on their own.
They help people see how their work fits into the big picture. They show their team the different puzzle pieces that are used to put everything together and they take a personal interest in helping others maximize their own success. Here are 5 coaching tips to help you up your coaching game.
Ask Guiding Questions
Open-ended, guiding questions often lead to more detailed and thoughtful answers, which lead to more productive coaching conversations. As a manager or leader, it’s essential that you develop great relationships with your employees. This will help you figure out if your employees are curious, can perform and improve, and what kind of attitude they have towards their work.
Acknowledge What’s Working
In order to coach well, you need to balance criticism and praise effectively. If your coaching conversations are completely focused on what’s not working and what the employee must do to change, it’s demoralizing.
Recognizing the things your employee is doing well can be a springboard into how they can build on that to improve.
Listen and Empower
Coaching requires encouragement and empowerment. As a manager or a leader, your job is to build one-on-one relationships with employees that result in enhanced performance.
Most likely, your employees are going to have a lot of input, questions, and feedback. It’s important for them to know you care enough to listen to what they have to say, so encourage them to share their opinions.
Understand Their Perspective
When you’re coaching employees to improve performance and engagement, approaching things from their perspective, rather than your own, will be imperative for seeing the changes and results you want.
Everyone has different motivations, preferences, and personalities, so if you ask questions to help you understand where their “why” comes from and what their preferred “how” looks like, then you can tailor your coaching conversations to align the way they work best with the improvements you’re both aiming for.
Coach in the Moment
If an employee comes to you with a question about a process or protocol, use this opportunity to teach them something new. If you’re not able to stop what you’re doing right away, schedule time with them as soon as possible to go over it.
Better yet, why not keep a weekly one-on-one meeting scheduled with each employee so you can go over questions and challenges regularly, while maintaining productivity. Coaching employees with a goal of improving performance means making them a priority each week!
While coaching is quite different from other leadership styles, there’s one thing they all have in common: even the best coaches need a coach of their own. That doesn’t mean you need a specific manager to act as your coach, but you certainly need a person or group that you can rely on for support. Whether you need a fresh perspective on something or want to work through a problem you’re facing, having somebody or a few people that share your work ethic and values is a great resource to help coach you through challenging or testing situations. We all need a sounding board!
About Great Place to Work®
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