Coaching Skills Series
This is one of many articles I intend to post this year considering the range of principles, skills and experiences you’ll need to be an effective coaching manager for the people in your team.
This post continues our look at coaching qualities. Check back in two weeks for a detailed look at when to use coaching.
How can we summarise the skills, knowledge and experience required to give us a profile of an effective coaching manager? It would seem that the first requirement is for the manager to find time to coach; to take ‘time out’ from their own duties to provide regular coaching input.
The coaching manager then establishes their credibility by undertaking their own job conscientiously and competently. They do not worry about being the font of all wisdom for the entire team. A manager who coaches will endeavour to set a good example and be an appropriate role model, but they are secure enough to avoid ‘pulling rank’ or having to rely on position power, i.e. that which comes with the job description and place in the organisation’s pecking order.
Managers who coach are natural advocates of their people, encouraging and supporting them, especially when things are not going well. They give praise when it is due, but deal with poor performance in a straightforward and understanding manner. Managers who coach treat each individual as a person in their own right; uniquely different from other employees with whom they interact at work.
So to be a coach in a work context, these are the attributes you must develop. But are these not the same attributes that we’ve always needed to be an effective manager of people at work? Whilst we use the terms coaches and coaching do we not simply mean employing the knowledge, skills and personal qualities that those people seen as effective people managers always have? Assuming you are reading this because you are, or are about to become, a manager of people, I think you can afford to feel encouraged because you must already have these attributes developed to some degree anyway. You would not be in the job if you didn’t. As managers of people we are coaches – and always have been – but we can certainly develop our capabilities and improve our results by becoming aware of the factors this blog highlights.