One of the most rewarding parts of being a manager is coaching a team member to successful performance. Coaching is a skill that can be learned and refined in the same way that you can learn and refine any skill.
Coaching differs from traditional management. Traditional management often involves telling employees exactly what to do and how to do it. When you coach, you gently guide the employee to find their own solutions.
You give ongoing feedback to help keep the employee focussed and directed towards the goal, rather than saving all your feedback up for an annual performance review.
Coaching is a key part of adult learning. Most adults learn and respond best by discovering solutions rather than simply being told what to do.
It is the difference between learning by rote and learning by experience. We all remember cramming for tests back at school and then promptly forgetting everything we learned. However, we still remember experiments and projects we did at school many years after we last wore our school uniform.
At its simplest level, coaching is all about asking the right questions, whereas traditional management is all about giving the right information and instructions.
Great coaches ask powerful questions to prompt reflection and action. Powerful questions are open ended rather than prompting yes/no responses. They are also judgement free and are focussed on outcomes rather than the task.
For coaching to be effective, there has to be a strong relationship and trust between the manager and the employee. If you don’t have a strong relationship, then build this first. Why? We listen more to people that we know and trust.
If you would like to build your coaching skills, talk with us about our coaching skills workshops.