There’s no real argument about the power of using a coaching management style to transform the performance of your people. There are plenty of studies to corroborate this and, if you’ve ever been coached, you’ll be fully aware of its transformative effect.
Put simply, rather than its opposite, “command and control”, a coaching style allows your people to investigate, think for themselves, find their answers, express themselves, experiment, learn, grow and fulfil themselves.
And, unsurprisingly, people who have been invested in in this way develop a greater confidence and sense of self-worth, increase their knowledge more quickly and sustainably, and become happier, more engaged and more productive. Multiply that throughout your organisation and you’ve evidently got something very powerful. Simple!
So what’s the problem? Why isn’t everyone leading in this way?
Well, there are 2 major contradictions with the concept of leaders coaching – authority and time.
Coaching and Authority
The conundrum that most managers face with coaching as a style of leadership is how to balance it with their position of authority. Traditionally, authority has been synonymous with knowledge;
“I can justify my superior position, my job title, my higher salary and better conditions – I know more than you! Ask me a question and I’ll tell you the answer. You don’t need to think, just do as I say.”
This has always had major and wholly recognisable problems:
- People have been promoted because of their knowledge and have no idea how to manage people
- Managers don’t have the knowledge but pretend they do
- No-one is allowed to learn and grow
But it’s a difficult cycle to break as it takes courage – the courage to say “I don’t know” or even “I don’t need to know!” and let go. And we know it makes sense because most of us either have experienced or may still be experiencing what it’s like to work for a poor, often controlling leader.
Coaching and Time
The second biggest issue is time. It is far quicker and easier to tell people either what to do or what you already know than coach them to let them work it out for themselves. And aren’t you too busy anyway?! Well, if you are too busy, you’re too busy doing the wrong things!
As a leader of people, your prime responsibility is to lead and, in addition to inspiring your staff with an exciting vision, that means spending sufficient time with them to fully understand them, to listen to them, to appreciate them, to know their issues and motivators and to create an environment in which they can and want to give of their best. And that takes time. And if you don’t spend the necessary time on this key aspect of leadership, what you end up with is 50% of the performance levels you could be reaching.
- A coaching management style reaps performance rewards
- It requires leaders to shift their thinking of what their role is – from a centre of knowledge and power to a facilitator of growth
- Only with this new mindset will you be able to see that you can never be too busy to invest the necessary time in coaching your staff to improved performance
So, how do we go about achieving this new mindset? Simple – GET A COACH! Once you have experienced for yourself what being coached can do for you, you will be convinced of its transformative powers and want to unleash it in your organisation.
Too busy now? You can’t afford to be. Coaching my people to be the best that they can be is the best investment of my time as a leader that I could possibly make.