Coaching By Managers and Leaders

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Coaching By Managers and Leaders
Graf, Robert, Business Consultant, Austria, Member
I've been a long time manager in multinational companies and I am since 8 years a self-employed business coach. As a professional coach I support my coachees in finding their own solution of their own problems. Their solution is completely neutral to me.
Managers and leaders can use coaching methods and attitudes to help and facilitate their co workers to find solutions for their problems and questions. But by definition a manager/leader can´t be a coach as such solutions must be accepted by the leader - he/she is not in a neutral position.
So coaching from a leader's perspective facilitates solution focused thinking, participation and "growing" of the coworker - if the leader wants to develop the coworker. In some cases leading is the preferred method (e.g. emergency situations, new co workers, single time opportunities, etc.).

Coaching versus Supervising
Alidou Moussiliou, Coach, Benin, Member
Leaders can be supportive to their subordinates if they are able to distance situations and make a difference between coaching and supervising.
What can support that different role is to choose a good place (NOT the office of the leader; but rather the one of the subordinate to break the psychological aspect) and clarification of the understanding of coaching by both parties.
Feeling supervised instead of being coached can hinder the coachee’s openness to share and to ask for coaching by his manager or leader.
A skilled leader can use coaching as a natural method to engage with the coachee when he/she comes with an issue for which he is looking for solution or instructions. It supports the subordinate to grow by learning from his own experience, knowledge and work context.

Coaching versus Supervising
Glenn Marshall, HR Consultant, Qatar, Member
An internal coaching role is often mandatory, and the atmosphere becomes a supervisory one.
Indeed as suggested by Alidou Moussiliou it is better in the case of internal coaching to move the coaching experience to neutral grounds (a cafe, restaurant, off site location, hotel lobby where both can feel more comfortable with the role).
When an independent coach is employed, the situation is often different. There's more freedom to enter the personal aspirations of the person being coached, rather than the "fit" between the person being coached and the goals of the organization.

Coaching by Managers
Charles Oloo, Liberia, Member
Coaching can be detrimental if not handled properly.
Personal prejudices, supervisory influences and the coaching environment play significant roles in the outcome.

Coaching by Managers and Leaders
Madhukar Sakorkar, HR Consultant, India, Member
I agree with you. Using coaching methods leaders can help a person to further enrich a solution, however, this may not be the solution the leader prefers. This is where the catch is.
We know, delegation is also a powerful way of developing people. But in my experience as a leadership coach, I have seen that many leaders-managers do not delegate, they actually outsource - give step-by-step instructions thereby expecting the person to do exactly what the leader-manager would have done to deal with the matter / issue on hand.
Thus most managers actually become "a solution provider looking for problems" love giving solutions and solving their direct reports' problems.
Whenever I have demonstrated the non-directive style of coaching using the GROW model, they are fascinated and realize that there is another way of being available... And that they need to use more an "ask" orientation instead of a "tell" orientation.

Coaching Versus Supervision
Prakash Deshpande, Professor, India, Member
In a business set up the supervisor's primary unwritten job description is coaching. But that should be limited to polishing the behavioural and technical skills very subtly and skillfully.
In fact when coaching of new behaviours in terms of new technology operations, cultural amalgamation etc, an external consultant is more suitable as he does not have any personal prejudices and may prove to a better trainer as he/ she has the reputation and continuity of assignments with the organization.
An external consultant naturally behaves very congenially in his own interest and of course that of the organisation.
A participatory method is better for both the coaches, whether supervisor or not. This reinforces and helps internalization of what has been learnt.

Leaders Must Be Coaches
Lloyd Madzokere, Student (Other), Zimbabwe, Member
In the book 'Becoming a Leader' by Myles Munroe, he describes leadership as:
"The ability to inspire others to become and fulfill themselves. Leadership includes the capacity to influence, inspire, rally, direct, encourage, motivate, induce, move, mobilize and activate others to pursue a common goal or purpose while maintaining commitment, momentum, confidence and courage".
From this definition, it shows that while leading, people or followers acquire and practice behavior from the leader.

Managers as Coaches
JAMIE LOCKWOOD, United Kingdom, Member
It sounds like there is a whole debate to be had around how coaching fits with a managers responsibilities.
I work in management development and have just finished a coaching qualification. I have previously worked as a manager and intend to again in the future.
Coaching is a huge part of a managers role but in my organization some managers don't realise that applying some of the coaching models really make a difference.
Some managers have a light bulb moment when you show them that you can "ask" rather than "tell".
So, managers are definitely coaches however there is a totally different dimension to it than when someone is a professional coach. The key here is combining the coaching skills with skills of delegating, directing and guiding.
In my opinion as a manager it is always better to ask your people first before telling them. Sometimes they need mentoring not coaching however sometimes coaching can be the most powerful way to get your people motivated. Getting managers to use questioning skills is key!

Effectiveness of Coaching by Managers & Leaders
COL SUNDER LALVANI, Coach, India, Member
Coaching aims to improve performance at work or facilitate achievement of life-goals.
A coach is obliged to keep the coaching process with a client, confidential; even if a company hires an external coach for their employees. Also, the basic tenets of coaching dictate that there must exist a relationship of trust, openness, truth & equality between the coach & coachee.
Thus, these perquisites preclude effective coaching by managers or leaders of the same org as the coachee. It therefore follows that effective coaching of employees would be ideally executed by competent external coaches.

JAMIE LOCKWOOD, United Kingdom, Member
Depends on your definition of coaching!

Coaching by Managers and Leaders is good for Themselves
Blanche Magnotti, Student (Other), United States, Member
This requires excellent coordination of leader and manager styles.
Such training is indeed very fulfilling to the individual doing the coaching, not just the subject.

Switching the Management Cap and Leader Cap
Madhukar Sakorkar, HR Consultant, India, Member
I completely agree with you, Blanche. I like the metaphor of a manager possessing two 'caps'.
There is a time for wearing the managerial cap when the manager is action oriented - does things and makes things happen.
Then there are times when the manager needs to wear the leadership cap - being reflective, raising appropriate questions, making the members to think and find solutions - individually and/or collectively.
This is where the challenge is - the manager needs to learn to be patient, suspend judgment, trust the process and give team members a chance to arrive at their solutions.
Yes, it is extremely fulfilling, I have seen managers excited with child like enthusiasm learning to build attitude and skills required for being non-directive. Skills on using questioning techniques also helps a great deal.

Coaching by Managers and Leaders
Sonny Vicente, Coach, Philippines, Member
I have worn both hats, being a manager and much later, as a consutant-coach. I believe managers and leaders with the right coaching knowledge and skills will be effective in identifying the potential of people under them as well as the most effective way of drawing out that potential during their "coach-coachee" engagements.
Having done that, it will be a lot easier for the leader or the manager to put that potential to good use in the organization.

How to Build Coaching in the Daily Managerial Practice?
ton voogt
Under the umbrellas of 'leadership' and 'coaching' many interventions are gathered that intend performance enhancement of the employee. Coaching interventions and leadership interventions evolved from separate theories and methods and even professions with special accreditations. Some try to combine it in courses: 'Coaching for Leaders'.
This analytical diversification of 'normal' integrated behavior complicates managing and leadership. That is not needed. From the perspective of leadership one is always coaching = setting targets and giving feedback on performance. The challenge for a manager, leader is to balance your 'coaching' between all actions focused on direct 'performance coaching directed on performance improvement now' with 'development coaching directed on talent and strength development for better performance in the future".
To make this happen, the leader has to develop behaviors like: giving good descriptions, emotional sensitivity, optimism, focus on growth in strength, more self confidence and has strong value connection himself. The leader learns to integrate in his daily actions: to challenge, give feedback on performance, reinforce strength, value orientation, guides to self steering, push confidence, reframe blockades.

Benefits of Coaching by Managers
Kasper Hiddema, Student (University), Netherlands, Premium Member
There are managers who coach and managers who don’t. Those that fall into the second category are not necessarily bad managers, but they are missing an effective tool to unlock potential. In a recent study by Joseph R. Weintraub and James M. Hunt (2015), hundreds of managers were interviewed. The most distinctive quality of managers who coach is their mindset. Effective managers strongly believe in the value of coaching by managers, and they see coaching as a natural part of the leadership role. These managers are not professional coaches, they are busy, hard working men and women. Here are four important reasons why these managers create time in their schedule for coaching:
  1. THEY SEE COACHING AS AN ESSENTIAL TOOL FOR ACHIEVING BUSINESS GOALS: Managers do not coach just for the sake of being nice. They see personal involvement in the development of talent as a vital activity for their success in business. Most managers who do not coach will say that they do not have the time. Managers who do coach will say that time is not the problem, if you see coaching as a ‘must have’ instead of a ‘nice to have’. Whether a company is competing for talent, trying to retain future leaders or aiming to unlock new potential in their solid players, they believe that taking time to coach is simply something that has to be done.
  2. THEY ENJOY HELPING PEOPLE DEVELOP: These managers are somewhat like artists who look at material and imagine that something beautiful, more interesting and more valuable could emerge. They don’t assume that their employees show up and are totally ready to do the job. They believe that people need to grow to fulfil their potential. Coaching managers see this as an essential part of their job, not just as a favor to their employees. They believe that those with the highest potential still need a little help to realize their goals and ambitions.
  3. THEY ARE CURIOUS: Coaching managers ask a lot of questions. They are interested in finding out about the challenges people are facing, how things are running and were the gaps and opportunities are. This type of curiosity facilitates the coaching dialogue, the give and take between learner and coach.
  4. THEY ARE INTERESTED IN ESTABLISHING CONNECTIONS: Coaching managers are managers who try to understand the feelings and desires of their employees. This empathy allows the manager to build a better understanding of what each individual needs, and adjust their management style accordingly. A trusting, connected relationship between manager and employee allows both to accomplish more.
Source: Joseph R. Weintraub, James M. Hunt “4 Reasons Managers should Spend More Time on Coaching”. Harvard Business Review, May 2015.

4 Coaching Profiles of Managers
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Research by Gartner distinguishes 4 types of coaching performed by managers:
  • TEACHER MANAGERS: They coach employees based on their own personal knowledge and experience, and their feedback is advice-oriented. They feel they should personally direct the development of the employee. Many of such managers have a technical background. Comparable to Mentoring.
  • ALWAYS-ON-MANAGERS: They provide continual coaching. They are on top of the development of their employees. They provide feedback across a range of skills. These managers consider coaching as part of their job and behave in the way that HR professionals traditionally like.
  • CONNECTOR MANAGERS: They tend to spend a lot of time assessing the precise skills and interests of their employees first. They give targeted feedback in their areas of expertise. In other areas they connect employees with people in the organization who are experts in those fields.
  • CHEERLEADER MANAGERS: They take a 'hands-off' approach😃. They deliver positive feedback, but put their employees in charge of their own development.
Which of the four coaching profiles of managers is most effective? Surprisingly the success of the always-on-managers is worst in terms of employee performance improvement. The best coaching style for managers in terms of employee development turned out to be connector managers. In order to become a connector, managers should learn to ask the right questions, provide tailored feedback, and help employees to make a connection with colleagues who can help them, rather than being directive and telling employees what to do as managers traditionally used to do.
Coaching vs. Connecting: What the Best Managers do to Develop Their Employees Today, Gartner white paper
Managers Can't be Great Coaches all by Themselves, HBR May-June 2018, p. 22-24

Removing the Barriers Preventing Changing to a ‘Coaching / Supporting’ Style
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
In the Performance Appraisal forum, in the topic “Obsession with Quantifying Human Performance” the concern was raised that outdated organisation structures and lack of empowerment are restrictions on managers moving to a ‘coaching / supporting’ style.
It’s been said that if you keep repeating what you do, the probability of a different outcome is unlikely.
Re the STRUCTURE CONCERN: Concerns about getting to the next rung while worrying about being held back means a tendency to fit in to the norms and not step out of line. So the change will need a move from the pyramid hierarchy and the personal power this bestows. Such a structure mitigates against effective cross-silo team working. So there is a need to consider replacing 'silos' with multi-function teams so that the T&D person, finance person, quality person, the marketing-sales people et al are all in the same team with the same senior manager as the 'production' (manufacturing or service &c.) people; managed as independent organisation-cost centres. Thereby enabling faster responses to changing marketing and supply situations.
Re the EMPOWERMENT CONCERN: Managers must rid themselves of some of their tasks (although many admit to being underworked😃) if they are to have the necessary time for the inspiring, coaching and assisting activities of their changed role. This role change for themselves and their work-group members will mean work changes. Traditional job description formats and demarcation lines may impact negatively to this, requiring a major re-think of their nature and format (after all they should change annually in accord with the business plan if they are to be meaningful and measured in ways valid to personal incentive and reward; shouldn't they?).
So, how to change the culture, management and working practices to achieve a vision such as this? How to get the ‘snowball’ to that 38th degree (angle of slope at which an avalanche starts) which gives the change the momentum needed?

Coaching by Managers and Leaders
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
The various perspectives presented are interesting when we consider that managers and people in leadership positions are working FOR a company or organization. When working for a company or organization, compliance with existing rules and purpose driven outcomes may be contrary to the concept of coaching or empowerment.
Nearly every company or organization administers assets in accordance with a stated and often published paradigm of expectations related to performance, behavior and even mind-set. This paradigm drives a majority of deliverables toward expectations of some other corporate type author. As managers and leaders within organizations we are like compliance auditors, not creative contributors, because it is not part of the job description.
As such, coaching which is an EMPOWERMENT and often used to profer a CHANGE agenda, is a very delicate mind-set or intervention. Help the client organization to be clear in what they seek. They may need an OD Consultant versus a Coach.

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