For a long time, the key to career progression was all about having the right answers. The same set of answers formed the basis of decision making and were shared and repeated across an organization. ‘Command and control’, ‘tell and sell’- these were the mantras by which managers led.
In 2020 and the COVID world, it is no longer a manger’s role to simply provide answers. This approach is rigid and potentially detrimental to innovation and performance improvement. Instead, a manager must ask questions and guide their team towards exploring all possible alternatives. Their job is to be that of a coach.
What exactly does coaching involve?
As John Whitmore, a leading figure in the field, defined it, “skilled coaching involves unlocking people’s potential to maximise their own performance.” Effective leaders have mastered both parts of this process- they can impart knowledge, whilst also helping others to discover it themselves. They support their employees without judgement or blame and facilitate their development, instead of dictating what has to be done. They recognize that they do not hold all the answers and are prepared to listen to, and encourage their employees to search for alternatives.
Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.
~ Tom Peters
What are the benefits of employing and deploying a coaching mindset?
1. Promotes trust and good relationships within the workplace
Relationships are at the front and centre of the coaching process. Effective coaching requires constant and open communication between employees and managers, ensuring everyone is on the same page. This builds confidence and trust within the team, empowering each member to be their best selves.
2. Builds skillsets and supports career development
Investing in the coaching process benefits both the coach and the coachee. Professional capital is built by developing a set of essential skills that can be applied across any workplace, supporting career development.
3. Increased employee productivity and commitment
In today’s highly competitive market, employing and deploying a coaching mindset is not only a great way of attracting and cultivating top talent, but also of retaining it.
Coaching makes employees feel supported and motivated. This in turn, leads to higher performance and greater commitment both to their work and the organization.
4. Fosters creativity and a growth mindset
Adopting a coaching style of leadership allows organizations to be more agile and responsive to change. Different perspectives lead to more possibilities. Rather than accepting the first solution to a problem, a coaching mindset allows all options to be considered without judgement or ridicule.
5. Creates a culture of inclusivity and collaboration
Cultures that are inclusive and collaborative allow team members to feel valued. Shared goals lead to shared productivity and ultimately shared success.
While the benefits of coaching are clear, it is not easy to put into practice, and managers often resist it. It takes time and effort to teach people and help them grow and it is only with repeated practice and the right tools that the skill of coaching can be harnessed.
Article written by Ben Larkey
Learning Republic have extensive experience across coaching, including world class coaches and the highly impactful Real Coaching 4 Week Masterclass. Please contact Learning Republic if you would like to know more about our coaching services available.