Increasingly, our clients are telling us that one of the biggest challenges for them is how to get the best from their people to achieve their business goals. Research (CIPD, 2009) shows that coaching by line managers is one of the most effective forms of development. However, it is also one of the most difficult roles for managers to perform successfully and the necessary skills come naturally only to a few (Goleman, 2000).
In response to this challenge, we have designed a Coaching Skills for Managers workshop that delivers a toolkit of practical coaching techniques to transform your managers into confident coaching managers. BUT, there is more to developing as a coaching manager than going on a course ….
All too often, however, organisations train their line managers in the use of coaching skills to find that, despite the initial enthusiasm, they revert back to old ways of a 'command and tell' style of management. Well-established behaviours are difficult to change and it probably takes three to six months before managers feel comfortable and confident in the use of a style of managing (Grant, 2010) which may to some seem counter-intuitive – asking questions rather than telling and really listening to colleagues doesn’t come easy to some managers!
So, what can be done to ensure that the managers’ use of coaching skills learning and a coaching management style of can be embedded and sustained in contemporary organisational settings?
There are some really simple principles to ensuring that the learning sticks and managers can become truly confident coaching managers. These tips and insights come from Idyia’s experience in working with organisations to embed coaching into management practice and in the culture of the organisation.
- The programme should include lots of opportunity for coaching practice and feedback on the course and back in the workplace which in itself encourages the application of learning into their day to day roles. On Idyia’s programme, managers have a period of workplace coaching practice between the sessions and feedback on this and in the workshops in a supportive environment accelerates learning and builds confidence with a coaching approach.
- Learning should be a mix of theory and practice. A conceptual framework underpinning coaching as an approach will appeal to some managers who may be dismissive of what are deceptively simple techniques in coaching – for example, asking good questions and really listening to colleagues. Equally, some managers who may be unimpressed by theory will be encouraged by the development of simple techniques in coaching which produce results that are readily transferable to their management challenges.
- Programme content should specifically address the real day to day challenges that managers experience. On Idyia programmes, participants are encouraged not to work with scenarios but to bring the real management challenges they are facing so that they can readily see the value of coaching both in more formal coaching conversations and the ad hoc opportunities for informal, brief coaching. In this way they will be more likely to continue with an approach which gets results with, for example, difficult colleagues or developing effective teamwork.
- Developing a strategy to embed coaching into management practice is key to the successful transfer of learning for managers. Encouraging managers to think about how they will continue with coaching once back in the workplace may be about encouraging them to review the resources such as learning and development or HR colleagues to support their development as a coach. Which other managers in the organisation may also be interested in developing their coaching skills? Where are the quick wins in their teams where a coaching approach may deliver rich rewards for the individual and the business? How will a coaching approach to managing fit with processes such as induction, talent, development, performance review?
So, what are your tips and insights into how managers can really become coaching managers?
To discuss further, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on: 01604 847589.
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