When staff are asked in interview ‘how do you like to be managed’, they give the same answer globally: ‘I like a coaching style!’ What they mean by that is they like to be developed, questioned and engaged in their work, and see their best results when they feel supported by their boss.
For managers and supervisors, coaching is a situational style they can use as part of their management toolkit. Not every situation calls for coaching, so it’s important for managers to know not just how to coach effectively, but also when coaching is the right approach.
In situations where managers have high performing staff, and a skill development opportunity exists, this is prime time for a coaching approach. By contrast, where managers have a performance issue, there’s sometimes an inclination to coach, but that’s where a management approach is needed - direct feedback and clear instructions to get the employee on track.
In order to identify these situations, managers need training and case studies to see the outcomes of each approach. Using a coaching style in a low performance situation causes a spiral of ambiguity, where the employee is left guessing as to how they should improve. Coaching by its very nature leaves ‘space’ for staff to find their own path and work out solutions to their problems, and this simply doesn’t work in a low performance situation. By contrast, where an employee is on track with their work and is motivated to continuously learn and improve, this is when a manager can be of service to support their development, effectively using their coaching style as a reward.
The skills managers need to take on to be effective at coaching staff includes goal setting, powerful questioning, effective listening, a strong understanding of how careers work, and a lot of practice coaching! As there’s so many possible coaching scenarios, it’s impossible to practice them all, but with a strong understanding of a credible coaching model, they can be set up for success in any development situation.
BOLDLY is here to work with you on coaching skills for supervisors. Our dynamic programmes include observed coaching time, and personalised feedback, to ensure coaching skills are transferred onto the job by managers. Reach out to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org