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Why Coaching is an Important Skill for Leaders

Kerrie-Anne Chinn
Aug 26, 2018

Can you think back to an amazing coach you’ve had in the past? If you’ve ever had a really good sporting coach, you’re not likely to forget it. Good coaches make learning a positive experience, inspiring each individual to work hard and to their full potential.

Can you say the same for the managers you’ve had throughout your career? Just because someone is in a management role, doesn’t mean they have strong coaching skills.

Just like any sport, coaching in the workplace focuses on improving the skills of each employee, through setting goals, monitoring performance, and providing feedback.

More organisations are seeing the benefits of coaching, for both employees and the business. While many employers hire external coaches to work with staff, it’s also a good idea to build coaching into your company’s leadership methodology.

This way, managers across the organisation can be given the opportunity to develop their coaching skills and get the best out of their teams, on a long-term basis.

Incorporate Coaching into Your Business Philosophy

As we said, it’s becoming more common for organisations to bring in external coaches to work with employees.

According to the Academy of Leadership Coaching, while hiring coaches for leaders is widely accepted, training management to become coaches within their own teams is not as widely practiced.

“Often it appears as though coaching is embraced only as “self-help” for the top-level executives to “better themselves,” rather than a culture that is embedded within the organization,” says ALCN.

On the other hand, when you provide proper training for managers in this area, you’re helping them to develop the right coaching skills to benefit the organisation. With this mindset, coaching becomes an important part of professional development at all corporate levels and a component of the entire business philosophy.

Incorporating coaching into your leadership role will help managers to be more effective in motivating their team and connecting with them on a deeper level. As the Academy says, “it helps the leader to develop trust among team members and create an emotionally centered work environment.”

Become a Manager with a Coaching Mindset

So what do managers do differently when they are leading from a coach mindset?

Think about the difference between managers who tell employees what to do and managers who take the time to work with employees on professional development. It’s that commitment to coaching that is the key difference between the two.

Successful managers know how to offer regular support and encouragement to employees, helping them to maximise their potential so they can get where they want to go in their career.

Having a manager take on a coaching role will also help employees to stay motivated and focused on their goals. When there’s someone else you’re accountable to, who has placed a lot of time and energy into your career, you’ll want to consistently deliver your best work possible.

A good coach can also help to identify potential gaps in your skill set and push you to learn new skills, achieving new personal goals in the process.

Coaching Tips for Managers

Ready to start working on your own coaching skills as a manager?

The Academy of Leadership Coaching believes there are certain characteristics that a leader must possess in order to be successful in coaching their team.

“Coaching is not just about communication, it is about connecting on a deeper level,” ALCN explains. It’s about connecting with your employees in a positive way.

Here are some of the key characteristics of a good coach manager, according to the Academy.

  • Non-Authoritative – coach and employee work cooperatively to reach the predefined goals. The coach is only in charge of the process and structure but is not responsible for setting the agenda or leading the discussions.
  • Active listener – the coach is mentally present within the coaching conversation. They ask clarifying questions and listen carefully to understand the core concerns and objectives of the employee.
  • Powerful questions – asking questions that are open-ended, rather than those that elicit a yes or no response. Use questions that start with words such as what, how, when and where.
  • No hidden agendas – an effective coach does not have an emotional attachment to situations described by the employee. They are honest, direct, and respectful.
  • Provide direction – the coach should provide the employee with tasks that will help them move toward their goal and produce the desired transformation.

Remember, proper coach training is crucial to becoming a successful coach-leader. Take a look through GO1’s professional development training courses and start building a coaching mindset into your leadership role.


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