There is a question that has puzzled me for the past 20 years, why is it that managers have such a hard time coaching their people and reinforcing behaviors that eventually will make their jobs so much easier?
Do any of these coaching excuses sound familiar?
“I don’t have the time to coach my people, I have too much paperwork to fill out.”
“I am constantly putting out fires, therefore I do not have time to coach anyone, much less reinforce behaviors they know they need to have.”
I realize that in the current business environment where managers are expected to accomplish more with fewer resources, under less time and with more demands, coaching carries “old school” implications.
You may be asking yourself, “What do you mean “old school” implications?” Coaching is associated with time and hard work. What I mean is that most managers have the idea that in order to be coaching someone they need to spend a lot of time with them. To further complicate things, if you search the word “coaching”, you will come up with so many different definitions!
In our case, we like to think of coaching as something managers do on a regular basis. Coaching takes place in every conversation, whether that conversation takes 5 minutes or an hour. Coaching is every moment of the day that you are interacting with your direct reports to help them further their skills in order to realize their full potential. I believe this is very doable and reasonable. Is it hard work? At times, yes. You will always have those individuals that will need more of your time.
Managers should think of themselves as coaches because they are typically really good at the core skill of what they do. With a little help and some skill development in understanding how to coach, managers are a power house to propel people into higher performers. The notion that coaching is a lot of work is an old myth. When coaching is done the right way, it is fun for both the manager and their direct reports. Coaching is fulfilling, rewarding and allows for conversations that make you grow as a manager and a human being.
Just like winning sports team coaches, great managers coach using similar principles in order to help someone perform at their highest levels by:
- Hand holding at times depending on where they are in their careers
- Positive reinforcement and feedback
- Words of wisdom
- A set of expectations that guides them to deliver on what is expected
No one ever said that being a manager would be easy. As managers, we need to empower our people to deliver their best work and that takes a bit of time and commitment.
Paperwork to be filled out will still be there tomorrow. Fires to be put out will always come. Time goes faster and we may get a bit slower as we get older, but coaching someone leaves a legacy in the life of another person.
So, go out there and be your best self and invest in your team and yourself by taking the time to continuously coach and model the skills that will lift your team to achieving their goals.
If you would like to further discuss coaching, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.