If you stay around long enough in an organization, you will find yourself moved to management. This is not a bad thing. Managers have responsibility. They can direct resources to meet needs and to move toward the accomplishment of goals. Managers do more than deal with money, space, and materials, however. They must deal with people
When you become a manager, you will have people on your team who report to you. You are expected to be their supervisor. If you look up the word “supervision” in a dictionary, you will find synonyms such as “control,” “regulation,” and “govern.”
This reflects one particular approach to being a supervisor, but I suggest that you consider a different paradigm. What if you saw yourself as a coach rather than a supervisor? Both coaches and supervisors are leaders, but they take a different approach to their responsibilities. The synonyms that go with coach are “teacher,” “trainer,” “educator,” and “tutor.”
Too often, a supervisor is afraid that people are going to do something wrong. On the other hand, a coach challenges people to do their best and discover what they do best. A supervisor is afraid of failure; a coach helps a person learn from failure. A supervisor keeps things under control; a coach pushes the boundaries.
If you want to be a coaching leader, you need to do three things well.
First, ask powerful questions. A coaching leader does not provide all the answers but asks the right questions so that people can learn how to do things for themselves by becoming more self-aware as well as more conscious of their environment.
Second, seek clarity. A coaching leader helps a person understand both the boundaries and the possibilities of a task. Let’s be honest. Some tasks are not much fun but come with the job; however, there are tasks that provide the possibility of being creative and fulfilling. A coaching leader helps the person he or she works with to discover how the make the latter enjoyable by clarifying what is expected and providing the freedom to be excel.
Third, create accountability. A coaching leader not only provides accountability but offers it as a gift. The coaching leader helps the person with whom they work to discover who can come alongside to support, identifies milestones to help provide a sense of achievement, and celebrates completion of the assignment.
Are you a supervisor or a coaching leader? Which would you rather be? It’s up to you.