What is a coaching management style?
There are several types of leadership styles that a company or manager can adopt. A coaching style is defined by the following behaviors:
- Focuses on the employee. Coaches learn about an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, goals and dreams. They develop strategies based on that information to bring out the individual’s best.
- Accepts feedback. Coaches lead by example, accept feedback and make the most of it. They ask employees how they can better coach and are open to what they have to say.
- Gives feedback. Coaches give succinct and constructive feedback with the goal of improvement.
- Builds mutual trust. Balanced trust is the foundation of all good coaching relationships. Good coaches are non-judgmental, clear and friendly. They make an effort to show employees consideration, interest, and care.
- Celebrates successes. Celebrating benchmark goals and milestones keeps a team inspired and motivated. Coaches recognize individual team members’ successes and personal milestones such as work anniversaries, professional gains, personal achievements, and employee wins. They boost team morale and motivation.
- Sets clear goals and objectives. Coaches are strategists. They see the big picture and encourage teams to brainstorm and meet goals. They draw from individual strengths and use the commitment and dedication of their team members to boost each teammate. They set clear timelines, benchmarks and milestones to gauge progress, performance, and success.
How to develop coaching skills
Coaching helps your employees enhance their performance and attain their full potential. If you’re new to managing with a coaching style, here are some tips to get you started:
- Do your research. Think about effective managers who may have used coaching techniques that motivated you. What were their strategies? What worked? What didn’t? Read articles on business leaders and effective coaching to see which style is most motivating to you.
- Get to know your employees. Understand their goals and what motivates them. Identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Set concrete goals. Use SMART goals or another method to ensure goals are clear and achievable.
- Give recognition when it’s due. Make sure your acknowledgment is specific and highlights the employee’s work ethic, skills or innovation, if applicable. Be sincere.
- Work together on weaknesses. This takes patience and astute observation. Discussions of lifestyles and personal values tend to arise in a coaching relationship. Handle topics with sensitivity.
- Be open. Coaching is an open-ended process. Instead of providing solutions, help your employees explore aspirations and available options. And, ask for feedback on your own performance. Eventually, it’s your employees who will teach you how to be a better coach.
Effective coaching checklist
Use these action steps to make your coaching effective:
- Decide what you intend to accomplish
- Align coaching with the company core values
- Choose the right steps
- Stay on top of the process
- Understand what motivates your employees
- Understand the dynamics of your team
- Keep it collaborative
Here are some common questions about coaching in the workplace:
How can managers coach in ways that are time-effective?
Coaching can require a larger time investment than other forms of leadership because it is largely collaborative and you must get to know your employees individually. Once you’ve developed a good rapport, ensure you’re consistent. Quick check-ins are often more effective than longer sessions. Take advantage of video conferencing tools, emails or phone calls to get a quick read on employees’ progress.
What if my employee is resistant to coaching?
Not all employees respond immediately to coaching. In some cases, there may be reasons that have nothing to do with your efforts, such as past relationships with managers that did not go well, or frustrations with the job or company. Reticent employees may take longer to build trust and some very independent employees may not want to be managed or coached at all. Here are some tips for addressing a less enthusiastic team member:
- Step back and don’t push. Remember that trust takes time to develop.
- Ask the employee how the relationship can be improved or what they want out of their job. Use open-ended questions beginning with “how” or “why” to develop a dialogue.
- Be receptive to feedback. A good coaching relationship is cooperative and if your employee feels comfortable enough to share candid thoughts, that alone may improve things.
- Be transparent. Let the employee know that your coaching is intended to better performance. You may see a shift if they recognize that feedback isn’t personal, just a way to improve the work.
- Focus on the positive. Give the employee acknowledgment for work done well. It may take time to develop rapport and positive feedback is always a good start.