Key Point: If you want to succeed as a people leader in our organization you must practice, practice, practice at being a great coach. Why? It happens to be the number one thing aspiring employees look for in their leadership. The kind of people we want working with us thrive on self-development and improvement, and want leaders with a growth mindset. They understand that a leader, who deeply cares about them, will advance their objective of self-growth exponentially.
If you work for someone who doesn’t consciously commit to coaching, you have to “figure it out” by yourself, and that is wasteful for all. I was curious about a recent HBR article on the subject by Dr. Joseph R. Weintraub, and James M. Hunt, both professors specializing in leadership development at Babson College. They co-authored 4 Reasons Managers Should Spend More Time Coaching.
The following is an excerpt from their Harvard Business Review article:
“We’ve been researching managers who coach and what distinguishes them. What has stood out in our interviews with hundreds of managers who do coach their direct reports is their mindset: They believe in the value of coaching, and they think about their role as a manager in a way that makes coaching a natural part of their managerial toolkit. These are not professional coaches. They are line and staff leaders who manage a group of individuals, and they are busy, hard-working people. So why do they so readily give coaching an important place in their schedule? Here are four reasons:
- They see coaching as an essential tool for achieving business goals. They are not coaching their people because they are nice — they see personal involvement in the development of talent as an essential activity for business success.
- They enjoy helping people develop.These managers are not unlike artists who look at material and imagine that something better, more interesting, and more valuable could emerge. They assume that the people who work for them don’t necessarily show up ready to do the job, but that they will need to learn and grow to fulfill their role and adapt to changing circumstances.
- They are curious.Coaching managers ask a lot of questions. They are genuinely interested in finding out more about how things are going, what kinds of problems people are running into, where the gaps and opportunities are, and what needs to be done better.
- They are interested in establishing connections. As one coaching manager stated, ‘That is why someone would listen to me, because they believe that for that time, I really am trying to put myself in their shoes.’ This empathy allows the coaching manager to build an understanding of what each employee needs and appropriately adjust his or her style.”
- Adopt a coaching mindset regardless of what level you are on. Then practice. Then, practice more. This includes knowing how to coach each person in the moment AND in reflective debrief. You also need to know how to do team coaching.
- Remember that if you coach from a place of well intended care for the other person and act with authentic empathy/trust in the people you’re coaching, this genuine care will supersede any coaching clumsiness. Just do it.
- Ask yourself if people want to work for you. Do they recommend working for you? Can you identify how people on your team have progressed? Do others realize that? What do your answers tell you?
Continuous coaching in The Triangle!
One Millennial View: So, I’ve had some wonderful teachers all my life, and the other day I was thinking about this one great algebra teacher I had in high school. Unfortunately, I really don’t remember her name. I can’t do the “math” on why that is… I remember her class, her face, her quality lesson plan, but her name has completely escaped me… In contrast, I certainly haven’t forgotten the names of any of my high school coaches. As wonderful as that algebra teacher was, I don’t think her personal curriculum included the four points above. My coaches’ strategies sure did, though.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis