Once upon a time, our culture thought that great managers delivered a command and made people carry it out. Times have changed.
The economy is uncertain. The political climate is daunting. The environment is on the brink. No matter if you’re in business, government, or the nonprofit sector, it’s hard to predict what the future holds. For our organizations to survive and thrive long into the future, we must learn how to lead in the face of complexity.
This is where management coaching comes in. Now, you might ask, why exactly is management coaching the solution? I’ll explain. Let’s start with a question:
What skills does a great leader have that a traditional manager does not?
There are no right answers, and the list is long. But, what first comes to your mind?
As a management coach, I’d answer that great leaders must have the ability to:
- Stay aligned with their purpose and vision, and help their team do the same.
- Create a safe container in which their team can be creative and take smart risks.
- Listen deeply and build healthy relationships.
- Be present, both at work and outside of work.
To be effective, a manager must be able to coach their team to excellence.
Now, you might ask, what exactly is “management coaching?”
Coaching is a process in which a facilitator (the coach) supports an individual (the coachee) to fulfill a commitment. For example, your commitment may be to become a more effective manager, improve your time management skills, have better work-life balance, or develop community skills. The list goes on.
An experienced coach also helps their client develop the skills they need to continue reaching similar goals long into the future. Management coaching (which is also called executive coaching or leadership coaching) specifically helps managers develop the skills they need to lead their organizations to success.
Yes, it’s a pretty strong statement that every great manager needs management coaching. But, I believe this to be true. Here’s why.
Most managers do not come to their roles with all of the leadership skills they need to be effective. It’s as if they’re thrown into the deep end and told to swim, without first being given proper lessons.
Even great leaders reach a point at which they feel stuck and need to learn new skills (even if they can’t see what these skills are yet).
Many managers are now becoming certified as coaches to learn coaching and leadership skills. This training can be life-changing.
However, to coach your staff, you must also walk your talk. If you don’t have the skills that you’re trying to impart, there’s no way you can effectively teach them.
The best way for managers to learn how to coach their team members is to work with a coach themselves.
In part two of this series, we’ll explore the what the style of leadership called “Coaching Leadership” is all about, and the skills you can learn with a management coach.