Today’s Organizations Need Managers Who Are Great Coaches

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Today we work in a business environment like none before.  As we move beyond the Pandemic most organizations have reduced headcount and created skills gaps, only to be followed by a slow economic recovery that brings with it a brand new challenge:  the entry of new generations, forming a workforce more diverse in age and culture than at any other time that I can recall in 25+ years and counting.

Interestingly, Gallup’s research* indicates employee engagement has risen to 39% since January, 2021, up from 36% in late 2020. In 2020 engagement rose and fell frequently, and in years leading up to 2019 surveys showed just 30% of employees were engaged, passionate and motivated to do what it takes for organizations to thrive.  At such low engagement levels, experts stated that many people brought only about 40% of their capacity to the workplace.  To realize a recovery, today’s organizations need managers who can build engagement,  develop people for current and future needs and create the next generation of leaders. 

Coaching is a skillset and a management style that is right for our time.   

  • ILM research shows 95% of learning and development managers report that coaching has generated tangible benefits to the business
  • 90% of organizations with over 2,000 employees have adopted coaching
  • Coaching can build knowledge and skills quickly and cost-effectively, especially when it supports application of education and training
  • Coaching can help smart, new recruits to find their fit within your company culture
  • People need to understand organizational forces, both positive and negative, to overcome obstacles, find short-cuts through the system, and make effective choices as they navigate through layers and across functions. A manager who coaches and sets the stage for an employee’s success enables win-win opportunities, performance and team relationships.

There is a 4-Step Model for Coaching, known as the GROW Model, that provides a framework for a manager to leverage in building his/her coaching impact: 

1.  Goal:  What is your employee’s next career goal?  Is it to become a manager within a year or two?  How closely aligned with the organization’s strategy and projected needs is this goal?  Linking an employee’s goals with those of the organization builds an emotional and intellectual bond, engaging the heart and mind of your employee.

2.  Reality:  What is this employee’s current reality?  Does he/she have a few years of related experience and expertise in the function?  What knowledge and skills does he/she need to make that next step?  

3. Options (or Obstacles):  How could this knowledge and these skills be developed?

4.  Will (or Way Forward):  Perhaps you can provide an opportunity for the employee to lead a project.  Or, to mentor a new hire.  Or to represent your department on a cross-functional team.  Success in one developmental activity can lead to more such assignments. 

While you’re developing your people, you’ll need to remember to anticipate and remove organizational obstacles, or to coach them over them. Remember that you’re always coaching, by what you do and don’t do.  Lead by example, exemplifying the organization’s values.  Ask questions that bring about your employee’s reflection, learning  and discovery. Encourage, celebrate, and advise.  And, provide frequent feedback in regular 1×1 updates. 

A manager with a coaching style builds a culture of coaching simply by the way  he manages his people.  Will coaching solve every organizational problem or dilemma?  Probably not.  But it could very well prevent quite a few of them while at the same time solving some skill gaps, engaging people, and improving performance both short and long term.

What is your experience giving or receiving coaching?  Please share your thoughts and suggestions.

Updated May 14, 2021 – Copyright 5/18/2021 by Rosanna M Nadeau, copyright 9/9/2015 by Rosanna Nadeau, Prism Perspectives Group, LLC

*US Employee Engagement Rises Following Wild 2020, by Jim Harter, February 26, 2021

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