Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Turning Managers into Coaches

Work is more complicated than it used to be.  Most jobs require not simply a person who will be a “cog in the machine” but a motivated contributor.  Especially with younger generations, motivation comes not just from a paycheck, but in the ability to learn, grow, and contribute.  This requires managers who will adopt a different supervision style.

In a recent article, Gallup provided a strong argument for managers adopting a coach approach to supervision.  Coaching requires a more personal, interactive style, but the writer states, “When managers provide meaningful feedback to employees, those employees are 3.5x more likely to be engaged.

Although becoming a coaching leader requires significant training, here are some ways that a manager can become a coach.

First, recognize the uniqueness of the person you supervise.  Every individual has different experiences, skill sets, and abilities.  Their uniqueness can make a valuable contribution to the mission of the organization.

Second, help the person discover their uniqueness and affirm those abilities. A coaching leader can help the person to identify their abilities and strengths if they are not already aware of them.

Third, seek alignment between the person’s abilities and the organization’s mission and goals. This benefits both the individual and the organization.  If there is not a good fit, recognize that and help the person find a better role in which to use their abilities, either in the organization or elsewhere.

Fourth, give the person you supervise opportunities to develop their abilities with challenging assignments or the freedom to try something different.  You can help them to develop “stretch” goals and the resources to pursue them.

Fifth, provide accountability on an on-going basis. This is not micro-management, but regular contact to provide feedback and support.  Gallup discovered that “employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are 3x more likely to be engaged than those who receive feedback once a year or less.”  Annual performance reviews don’t provide the type of accountability needed.  This requires regular communication and dialogue, often on a daily basis.

Of course, the downside for a manager who uses the coaching approach is that he or she may lose this employee to a more responsible position.  The opportunity to engage persons in affirming, growth-oriented relationships should offset that eventuality.  In most cases, both the coaching manager and the employee being coached will be much more motivated.

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