How Can Coaching Impact Organizations?
It can be really easy to confuse the term “coaching” with “managing”. Managers often assume that because they are a capable leader, they must also be a good coach, and this is not necessarily true. Unfortunately, coaching is not a skill most people are born with, nor is it a skill naturally acquired along the route to learning how to manage. The problem with this is that a manager who cannot coach won’t get the most out of their employees. Let’s look at what coaching can bring to the table, where managing alone falls short.
A lot of the top companies in the world not only teach coaching, but expect managers to spend over 50% of their time engaged in coaching their subordinates. Here’s why:
- Higher employee engagement
- Greater productivity
- Increased employee retention rate
- Stronger perception of company leadership
- Improved customer loyalty
The Key To An Effective Team
The key here is employee engagement; all the other benefits stem directly from that one concept. So what, exactly, is employee engagement? The most basic way to describe or measure engagement is the level of commitment to and involvement with the company displayed by employees. Committed and engaged employees tend to be happier, which will increase productivity. Their lower stress levels will improve their general health, resulting in a more present and efficient workforce who are less likely to jump ship at the first opportunity. The engaged employee will also work very closely with their supervisors in a collaborative effort, which will improve their perception of their superiors.
To gain access to all of these benefits, managers have to learn how to coach. One of the primary differences between coaching and managing is the attitude towards working with their subordinates. A manager is typically a directive individual: distributing work, overseeing projects, and keeping their eye on the bottom line. Managers are masters of clear, one-way communication. Coaching, on the other hand, is collaborative. Coaches work with their team members, joining them on the frontlines and working as partners in open communication. Employees who are being coached are more likely to feel that their work is challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding, which, in turn, gives them a sense of worth and value within the team.
Four Important Areas of Coaching
Let’s look at four primary aspects of coaching and how each of them will improve the areas outlined above.
- Leadership – The strength of leadership in a coaching environment comes largely from having a strong company vision and transmitting this effectively to your team members. When staff members understand what the company is all about and have a clear idea of their value in this vision, they will respect your leadership and contribute their whole selves to the group effort.
- Voice – Give your employees a chance to be heard. This means really listening to them. Many managers feel they give their employees ample face time with them in one-on-one scenarios, but the important distinction here is to really practice active listening, rather than doing all the talking yourself. When the employee feels heard, they will feel increasingly engaged and respected.
- Behavior – Company values and behavior start at the top. Simply put, employees will never respect a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality from their superiors. If you have clear-cut principles and guidelines for employee behavior, it is absolutely essential that this code is upheld all the way up the chain of command.
- Empower – Empowering your employees comes from shifting the managerial mindset. The manager who views his subordinates as people who need to be micro-managed and controlled will fail to earn the respect and commitment of his employees. Begin, instead, with the viewpoint that each member of your staff is a valuable and intelligent person who wants to do a good job, and make it your goal each day to support them in this endeavor.
The last bullet point there is vital to the essentials of coaching. As a coach, you must begin working with your employees on the premise that their goal is to be the best employee they can be and develop the relationship from there. After establishing that outlook, you can help guide them and eliminate obstacles to working with and understanding them effectively. When your employees feel that you respect them, they will begin to trust you. When you take action to support and strengthen this trust, they will develop faith and confidence in you. With these principles established in your work environment, the possibilities are endless. Your employees will thank you and your bottom line will reflect it.
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