The manager as coach

Most of those that know me know that my primary source of insight in coaching is my great friend and mentor Gareth Chick.  One of his (rather well known) clients did some research that concluded that coaching is the single most important managerial competency that separates highly effective managers from average ones.

Building upon that I recently came across an article in the Harvard Business Review that reinforced the point and suggested five key tips for leaders and managers aspiring to get the best performance out of their team.

5 tips for great coaching conversations

Listen deeply

Don’t let your brain be distracted. Focus entirely on the person you are coaching.

Ask, don’t tell

As I share in this article, we have to be aware of and manage the Beast (our worst management habit under pressure), pause and ask great questions.

Build a positive feedback loop

Give your employee the time and resources to follow through on the plan that emerges and support them in doing so.  Follow-up is critical to build trust and to make your coaching more effective. It’s a virtuous circle.  More follow through means more effectiveness which leads to more results which generates more trust and more engagement.

Move forward positively

Often the person you’re coaching will get caught up in detailing their frustrations. Take a moment to acknowledge them – it’s important for them to be shared, but then move the thinking on to how to move past them.

Build accountability

Many people see coaching as a ‘touchy-feely’ distraction from being a proper leader. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Good coaching results in an individual accountable for delivering plans that they themselves have put forward.