Managers tell me they sometimes shy away from coaching because they're concerned about not having "all the answers." Be honest: we all like to feel "in control" to some degree when we're the boss.
The good news: employees say they don't want answers. They want probing questions that make them explore solutions on their own and probe more deeply into situations facing them.
A solid coaching relationship flows from the right combination of autonomy, shared responsibility, and building new skills. Here are some quick tips for managers who coach (and I hope there are many out there):
Autonomy: Let the employee decide on the best options in a situation, then be there for coaching support when it's needed.
Responsibility: Encourage your employee to make decisions by using a give-and-take dialogue that includes questions, personal experiences, and an "I believe you can do this" approach.
Nurture Learning: Coaching conversations highlight areas for skill-building. Identify what those are, help find the best way to develop the skills, and set new standards once they are learned.
Ask Yourself These 5 Questions
1. If I'm honest with myself, is fear stopping me from delegating more?
2. Does each of my people have a project from which they can learn something new?
3. Do I support the ambitions of each of my people?
4. Who is ready, now, to move up to a new level?
5. Is there a project that I really could be handing over to one of the team?
Coaching is a key part of treating employees as partners. It fosters commitment rather than compliance. And, it reflects a trust in the potential of each employee for bigger things.
Chances are, if your organization has a coaching and collaborative approach to business, you also have a "Winning Workplace."
My friend Mark Harbeke at Winning Workplaces has an opportunity for small companies to be recognized in a big way. Here goes:
Apply Now to be Recognized as a 2011 Top Small Company Workplace in Inc. Magazine
Winning Workplaces is collaborating with Inc. to recognize "Top Small Company Workplaces" that have built corporate cultures that foster a productive work environment and satisfied employees. The winners will be featured in the June 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine, the premier publication for entrepreneurs and business owners. In addition winners will be featured on Inc.'s and Winning Workplaces' websites and will gain additional exposure through a nationally distributed press release.
To see if your company qualifies for the award please visit: https://tsw.winningworkplaces.org/