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The Value of Coaching Skills for Modern Managers

By 09/12/2021August 26th, 2022No Comments

Psssst… the business world is changing.

Have your heard? Once-yearly reviews and directive superiority from managers is no longer the accepted norm. Your people leaders need to evolve with the times to bring out the best in your teams, positively impact the bottom line and attract and retain the best talent.

Read on to find out why your managers should be working as coaches and, most importantly, how to get them there.

What is the Difference Between a Manager and a Coach?

You may be thinking that the terms ‘coach’ and ‘manager’ are interchangeable. Let us explain the subtle, but very real, difference. 

manager monster

A manager is the leader of a team who assumes some superiority to their reports in intelligence, tenure, experience or a mixture of all three. They are generally output-driven and are not usually focused on the individuals within the team, but the team’s results as a whole.

manager versus coach
coach monster

A coach, on the other hand, is someone who focuses on the development of their people, aims to inspire them to be the best that they can be and acts as a facilitator for success. All of which is then reflected in the bottom line. A coach starts with the people as individuals and ends at a great business result.

If you had to name the best manager you’ve experienced in your working life, we bet a name springs to mind, and we bet their approach landed more on the side of a coach than a traditional manager.

Why Should Today’s Managers Become Coaches?

In a nutshell? To improve the working lives of their teams, reduce staff turnover and massively benefit the company’s bottom line. 

In a 2016 study, Forbes Magazine identified five key behaviours displayed by the leaders of high-performance teams. They found that highly effective leaders: 

Lightbulb Coach

  • Inspire more than they drive,
  • Resolve conflicts and increase cooperation,
  • Set ‘stretch goals’,
  • Communicate vision and direction,
  • Are trusted 

These behaviours sound far more descriptive of an amazing coach than a traditional manager to us…

It turns out that most employees could care less where your name is on the organisation chart or how long you’ve been with a company- they are motivated by leaders who are genuinely invested in their success. 

Combining the attributes of a great manager with the nuanced skills of a coach has got to be the way forward. 

Coaching and Performance Management 

There’s a definite cultural shift underway. According to  Gallup, “companies are shifting from traditional performance management practices to a new approach that focuses on performance development.”

As part of their Re-Engineering Performance Management study, they go on to say that “At the core of the performance management problem is a vivid and distressing picture of employees going to work every day and facing unclear job expectations, little coaching from their manager, unfair accountability practices and a lack of opportunities for development.” 

We think this comes down to the traditionally accepted norm of the dreaded once-yearly performance review. You know the one- where employees are asked to rate themselves against the goals laid out on the last standard performance review form that’s been languishing in their manager’s desk drawer for twelve months… 

Lighthouse put it brilliantly with their basketball example: “If a basketball coach only gave their team feedback and advice once at the end of the season, they wouldn’t win many games… Yet, that’s how many leaders manage their teams.”

With a less managerial and more coach-like approach, employees are more likely to feel heard, appreciated and inspired to improve. 

Attracting and Retaining Talent

The Forbes Magazine study we mentioned earlier went on to find that the team leaders who rated poorly on the five key coaching behaviours had only around 13% of their team “highly committed.” 

This is no surprise to us given that so many surveys and studies have shown that employees, especially millennials, value personal growth over most other perks. 

PWC’s study on Millennials at Work puts it nice and succinctly: “This generation are committed to their personal learning and development and this remains their first choice benefit from employers. In second place they want flexible working hours. Cash bonuses come in at a surprising third place.” 

So, it’s not just the plush co-working space and dress-down Fridays or even the substantial annual bonus that attracts and holds on to talent. People leaders must focus on the personal development of their teams to build loyalty. 

The Effect of Great Coaching on Your Team

As per our dedicated blog on coaching skills for managers, through effective coaching, managers can help their staff gain confidence, feel empowered to think for themselves and ultimately take ownership of their current roles and plans for the future- unlocking amazing benefits for any company. 

In the busy office haze, it can be very difficult to put your mind into big-picture mode. In a call centre environment, it can be a challenge to even think beyond lunchtime – never mind map out your ideal five-year plan. Coaching can bring about necessary clarity for your team and carve out time and space in which to focus on themselves and their aspirations. 

Another brilliant side-effect of coaching-based leadership is that it encourages the confidence and the psychological comfort needed for companies to build a feedback culture among their teams; something that has a profound effect on the happiness and productivity of staff. 

Directive vs Non-Directive

There are many coaching styles, and each style will suit different personality types (of both the coach and the coached). Two of the main styles we tend to focus on are Directive and Non-Directive. 

Directive coaching involves leading the individual down a direct path. It verges on mentoring and you can read more about the differences between coaching, mentoring and training here.   

Non-Directive coaching allows the individual to explore the options themselves.  

For example, if you were to coach the head of a customer service about which customer contact channels they could launch, you could use one of the two approaches by asking: 

  • Directive: Have you thought about providing live chat support? 
  • Non-Directive: What channels do you think would work well? 

Each style has its place and, depending on the situation and the individual in question, one may well be more effective than the other.  

That’s why it’s important to be aware of the individualities of your team and why it may be good to consider making use of our skills as Gallup StrengthFinder accredited coaches.

How to Turn Managers into Coaches

Shifting to a coaching-based model is not an overnight task and it may take some investment of both time and funding. We promise it will be worth it. 

In terms of what MadeYou can do to help turn your people leaders into fantastic coaches, look no further than our Coach the Coach Program and our Coaching Skills Training

Our Coaching Skills for Managers Training is packed to the rafters with information, training and tips including: 

  • Scenarios for you to demonstrate your ability to coach,
  • Using the GROW model in coaching for team development, 
  • Questioning techniques and phrasing of questions,
  • Understanding the LEARN model and how each team member can benefit through coaching development, 
  • Determining the difference between training, mentoring, direct and indirect coaching, 
  • The power of praise and it’s timely and appropriate use in coaching, 
  • What to say and when to say it.

And our NEW Coach The Coach Program is tailored towards developing individuals into a coaching mindset.  We do this through: 

  •  Building on the Coaching Skills course, we cement learning through coaching,
  • Installing coaching behaviours we navigate through practice sessions with a coachee,
  • Utilising Strengthsfinder results we dive into understanding yourself and what kind of coach you will be; and how to optimise your style for each coachee,
  • Drawing together all the learning we explore how you will coach your coach,
  • A coaching framework with feedback is then provided and cemented with more coaching sessions.

Our One-on-One Coaching

The value of external coaching for your team should not be underestimated either. 

One-to-one coaching with MadeYou is a personal and professional development service, headed up by our hugely experienced, professionally qualified and accredited coaches. 

Our sessions are delivered via frequent, confidential sessions (either face to face or via video call) where your coach will work to uncover and harness your strengths and achieve your goals, using the MadeYou GROW model to guide our approach: 

  • Goal: We’ll work with you to find out what your long-term goals are or what they should be if you haven’t quite got them figured out yet. 
  • Reality: We’ll balance your goals and expectations against the reality of the situation. While it’s great to have high aspirations, some people fail to understand the barriers (and opportunities) in their way. By not addressing these realities, we often set ourselves up for failure and disappointment, so we believe it’s productive to acknowledge them early on. 
  • Options: We’ll help you explore all your realistic avenues to success including considerations for training and discussions around what may be holding you back. 
  • Way Forward: Without agreeing next steps, all the coaching in the world will get you nowhere. As we’re invested in your success, we’ll help you cultivate the way forward needed for you to succeed. 

You can get to know our fantastic team of coaches here

MadeYou would love to help you along in your managerial journey. Get in touch with us so we can start the conversation.