Why should managers take the time to learn how to be effective coaches? Studies suggest that coaching employees results in higher engagement levels, more productivity and enhanced customer service. Managerial coaching can also help employees overcome challenges, build self-confidence and accomplish aspirational goals. Additionally, adopting a coach-based approach to leadership offers managers considerable advantages.
Below, you'll discover what makes coaching different from traditional managing, the benefits of coaching employees and how to develop effective coaching skills. Keep reading to find out how coaching skills for managers can help transform workplace culture and foster greater employee productivity.
While many managers tend to think they are coaching their employees, they are often just telling them what to do. However, true coaching involves unlocking a worker's potential to maximize their performance. A good coach equips their employees to learn on their own, rather than spelling things out for them.
In particular, business coaching is different from strictly being a business manager because coaches do not simply provide employees with a solution or advice. Being a business coach is not a form of micro-managing or consulting — it is coming alongside individuals and helping them realize they can overcome challenges and sharpen their skills.
When done well, coaching can promote employee engagement and help boost motivation. Instead of merely doling out marching orders, effective coaches make employees want to do their best and bring their personal expertise to each project. This strategy also instills workers with a sense of ownership over their work.
Fortunately, managers can easily learn how to be better business coaches. Once managers understand what effective coaching really is, they can start learning constructive coaching strategies and correcting their micro-managing habits. If managers are willing to invest in improving their coaching skills, they can quickly yield positive results and form better connections with employees.
Becoming a better business coach requires some training. Just like any other skill, developing coaching skills for business management takes practice. As you hone your coaching skills, keep in mind that investing in your coaching capabilities will pay off.
In particular, becoming proficient at coaching will help you be a better manager in the following areas:
- Team communication: Coaching will help you enhance team-wide communication. The more a manager steps into the role of a coach, the better they become at listening, identifying root problems and helping their team reach a viable solution. Coaching can also help managers refine their articulation skills.
- Emotional intelligence: Because being a coach requires being perceptive and aware of social dynamics, learning to be a business coach helps managers develop a higher level of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence helps knowledgeable managers have the wisdom to discern when and when not to give their employees advice.
- Keen observation: A coach needs to have sharp observational skills and pick up on nonverbal cues to assess situations accurately. Great coaches can then use this information to probe their employees without intruding on their personal space.
- Powerful questioning: Going hand in hand with keen observation, powerful questioning is the ability to ask the appropriate question at just the right time within a given context. Doing so can trigger certain insights and reflections from an employee. While managers may be tempted to simply tell employees what to do, asking powerful questions lets them guide workers through an individual discovery process. After going on their personal discovery process, the employee will be ready to solve a similar problem independently the next time one arises.
More specifically, concrete coaching skills for managers include:
- Identifying key verbal and nonverbal cues and inferring their significance
- Performing active listening and forming insightful questions
- Giving constructive feedback
- Assisting with goal setting
- Practicing empathy
- Encouraging a solution-based approach to challenges
- Letting the employee arrive at their own solution for an issue
- Recognizing and pointing out an employee's strengths
- Providing structure
Of course, the skills above cannot be learned overnight. However, it is possible to learn and hone coaching skills over time. Even a small amount of training can help managers transform into effective business coaches able to lead large teams of employees well. Coaching training can help managers feel more prepared to supervise teams, support other managers, regulate their resources and use their energy efficiently.
While having business coaching skills might sound good, what are the advantages of converting to a coaching leadership style? Below, discover the top five benefits of coaching in a business setting.
Any manager who decides to embrace a coaching approach to leadership embarks on a journey of self-discovery in some way. Coming up with powerful questions requires accessing your mental, emotional and psychological reservoir to make the questions as effective as possible. With each question you ask an employee, you must reflect on your own thoughts and feelings, plus what it was like for you when you were in your employee's position.
Managers who act as business coaches can also help each team member become more self-aware and team-oriented. Once you've refined your self-awareness, you can instill these same reflective, outward-focused skills in your employees. Getting each team member to consider the group's well-being with every decision they make will help your team be more effective overall.
At the heart of each relationship lies trust. Because coaching necessitates building a strong rapport between a coach and team member, adopting a coaching leadership style will help you develop trust with your team members and ultimately deepen your relationships. Building stronger relationships with your employees will make them more motivated to work hard and take personal responsibility for their projects.
Coaching employees promotes greater trust between managers and their workers through several methods. Listening to team members without judgment helps managers make employees feel valued, respected and empowered. Empowered individuals are equipped to take ownership of their work. Additionally, using coaching conversations instead of giving outright commands allows managers to win over team members and develop closer connections with them.
Once a manager knows their team members on a deeper level, they can recognize each individual's strengths and weaknesses far better than they could by simply observing and evaluating their performance. These valuable insights can help you identify potentials, assign jobs and prepare your team more effectively for achieving long-term goals. Based on this information, you can strategically align your employees to work together as a fine-tuned, solution-oriented team.
Although managers are looked up to as team leaders, they can learn a lot from their employees, too. As a coach, a manager should help a team member reach a solution on their own instead of handing them an answer or in-depth advice. This approach often results in the employee forming a creative solution the manager would never have thought of. In this way, coaching can become a direct learning experience for managers.
The greatest benefit for managers who act as coaches is the deep sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that comes with knowing they have played a crucial role in the growth of individual team members. Helping your employees unlock their potential and build their self-confidence is an incredibly rewarding experience that makes developing coaching skills worth the training.
If you're ready to start developing your coaching skills, sign up for a leadership coaching program by the NeuroLeadership Institute. Programs offered by the NeuroLeadership Institute teach participants the latest science behind human behavior and how to apply this information in their everyday work roles. At the NeuroLeadership Institute, you'll learn the top coaching skills for managers and how to lead employees effectively.
To learn more about how the NeuroLeadership Institute can help you become a better coach, contact us today.