When asked what’s more powerful – managing employees or coaching them – most business leaders are correct in responding with “coaching.” Many will add that they have adopted a coaching leadership style, but when asked to elaborate, it’s more common to discover that their coaching skills offer significant room for growth (to put it nicely). The truth is that most managers don’t know how to coach their employees, despite their desire to do so. However, the good news is that coaching skills can be learned and will drive transformational change within an organization.
Understanding the Difference: Managing Your Employees VS Coaching Them
Managing is rooted in a problem-solving focus – which doesn’t sound negative until you consider how a tendency to provide “the solution” impacts your staff. Teams who work under a problem-solving manager report that this leadership style limits creativity, reduces motivation, lowers job satisfaction, fails to empower individual problem solving, suppresses self-starters and contributes to resentment or conflict. The reason is that managers don’t encourage their employees to take ownership over their work or empower them to develop problem-solving skills.
Coaching focuses on unleashing the potential of each team member. It’s a process that improves team members’ abilities to learn, perform and achieve goals through collaboration, mutual learning, trust and respect. Instead of offering solutions, coaches encourage individuals to analyze situations, explore options and generate strategies.
The Importance of Developing a Coaching Mindset
Engaged employees drive innovation and achieve results, but a 2015 Gallup study found that only 32% of workers are engaged at their jobs – leaving 50.8% who are not engaged and 17.2% who are actively disengaged. This means that more than two-thirds of the workforce is either ‘checked out’ or undermining the work of their engaged colleagues.
The Gallup findings were based on key workplace elements, such as “having an opportunity to do what they do best each day, having someone at work who encourages their development and believing their opinions count at work.” These key elements aren’t only the sign of an engaged staff; they’re also the sign of a successfully implemented coaching mindset.
The Six Principles of Coaching
Cultivating your coaching skills begins by understanding the foundation of this leadership style. Here are the six basic principles of coaching.
- Coaching is based on a trusting and collaborative relationship.
- Coaching follows the coachee’s agenda.
- Coaching is a peer-to-peer style of interaction.
- Coaching works best when people find their own answers.
- Coaching means the coachee does the work.
- Coaching leads to action.
For more on this topic, read our post The Coaching Mindset: 5 Steps for Becoming a Highly Effective Manager.
Are You Ready to Start Developing Your Coaching Skills?
At FocalPoint Canada, we guide our clients in overcoming challenges and leveraging opportunities with proven processes and methodologies that have been used by thousands of successful businesses over the past two decades. Our FocalPoint business coaches use their expertise to teach our time-tested methods through individual coaching, group sessions, or trainings and workshops.
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