When you think of a manager, what comes to mind? Not a coach. But here’s the thing, the official definition of coach is to train and/or instruct. Hmm. There’s something to think about.
Now, does your manager perceive themselves as a coach? Probably not.
In order to be versatile between having the mindset of a manager and a coach requires some easy and essential skills. While there may be some challenging times if your manager knows the correct way to respond and the role they are playing, this aids in team growth and overall achievement.
What Opportunities Are There For Managers to Incorporate Coaching?
Anytime there is a 1:1 conversation, coaching can be beneficial. So not only can these opportunities present themselves during yearly permanence reviews, quarterly meetings, and team building, but also when you discuss career goals and improvements.
Take these tips into consideration when managers are needing to become better coaches.
Listen Before Talking
Managers and leaders have a tendency to do all of the talking, leaving team members and employees with little opportunity to chime in or to give feedback. So rather than asking all of the questions and dominating the entire conversation, see what questions or feedback they have first.
Does this require you to solve the problem or can it fall back on the team member with a little guidance?
If you are familiar with EOS and have heard of the Quarterly Conversations, you will know that when you start having 1:1s the questions are going to fall into 3 categories: The manager has to solve, the employee must solve, or the situation cannot be solved.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Avoid telling the team member what to do. Instead, ask questions that require them to think and react versus you providing the solution. Being the problem solver is a common problem with managers when? But, in the end, this just causes the team member to be crutched and the manager taking all of the responsibility when it's not necessary.
For example, instead of responding with, “ Do this…” say “What do you think is the solution?” “How can you be a part of solving this problem?” “What are the outcomes if we do A, B, or C?” This is your coaching talent shining through and is the perfect time for it.
If you have ever hired a coach, you know a large part of their job is accountability. We are more likely to follow through when we have a consistent check-in, meetings, and frequent conversations about whatever the topic may be. The manager aka coach should be doing the exact same thing with their direct reports.
Once a solution has been established, create a timeline, and milestones in between the desired goal. When things aren't going as planned, this is where you would step in again with those open-ended questions and be prepared for those 3 categories to present themselves again.
Thinking of the Future
Not all people can see and envision the bigger picture. Your job as a manager is to give a detailed description of what that vision looks and as a coach you should identify potential barriers and ask how they will overcome those obstacles.
It's also very important to make them aware of the ways they will have to adapt and reform their processes if everything doesn't go as planned. Not everyone has that adaptability gene. It actually can be terrible for some and even worse when it's not thought about.
By planting that seed, that can start their thought process and lead to potential solutions before the problem actually arises.
Some days you are a manager while others you are a coach. No situation is the same. But if you can start making these changes in conversations, you will increase employee productivity, engagement, and trust. This in turn builds valuable leadership and are great assets to the company as a whole.