A Coaching style of management

Making time to reflect is invaluable in a fast-moving world.

Coaching is a useful way to do this, and this can take place in different forms.

  • Having a coach – having someone who acts as a confidential and objective sounding board who helps you to think, learn, grow and achieve your goals
  • Self-coaching – asking yourself questions and creating time and space to enable yourself to think, get clarity and move forward on challenges
  • A coaching style of management – instead of telling others what to do (being directive), asking incisive questions to enable staff to come up with their own answers so that they learn and grow and become more resourceful and self-able

For some professions and businesses, using a coaching style of management can feel time consuming and alien, but the benefits accrue over time, from the initial investment of your time as a manager.

This blog focuses on a coaching style of management, which is a fast-growing trend in business and a useful and empowering tool in life.

In this article:

Why is a coaching style of management growing?

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) shows that there is immense growth in the use of a coaching style of management in business, with more and more trainings in coaching skills as well as use of internal coaches and external coaches.  Why is this?

  • It is more empowering and motivating to come up with your own answers than be told what to do. The chances of you approaching something in exactly the same way as your boss is unlikely
  • Evolution in management thinking; the UK follows the trends in the USA where coaching is well established
  • Every person is unique and perceives the world and challenges in a different way
  • Organisations are often lean in nature and more productivity needs to be released from less people
  • Modern business is frenetic and stressful so time to think is rare and needs to be created
  • Organisations need to work harder to maintain their competitive advantage, and stress and busyness inhibit creativity and the emergence of insights

What stops a coaching style of management from being used?

Common reasons are:

  • Not knowing how. This can be remedied by either individual or group training and persistence
  • The process feeling time consuming with time pressures and sometimes stress creating a sense of urgency
  • Assuming that everyone sees the world as you and thinks like you when they are not you and they have had a different background
  • Ego and attachment to being right/superior
  • Misplaced belief that being a manager means telling your staff what to do and how to do it
  • Fear of losing control and what impact this will have
  • Lack of time and a perception that coaching someone is time consuming
  • Misperceptions about what coaching is e.g. that it is remedial and for problems when it is a brilliant and effective tool to make more of time and people’s innate resourcefulness
  • Poor planning and prioritisation. Coaching someone is important not urgent and it is much easier to check your e mails and focus on short term priorities
  • Unsuitable environment e.g. open plan offices with lots of interruptions and noise, which inhibit clear thinking
  • Overactive mental chatter due to busyness or a quick mind, which stops you from being present for the person you are coaching
  • Feeling uncomfortable with the silence required for insights to emerge

Benefits of using a coaching style of management

  • Free up time to focus on your priorities
  • Create more motivated and resourceful direct reports
  • Get greater performance and productivity from your employees
  • Develop your leadership competence
  • Spend less time managing direct reports – quality of time not quantity
  • Be perceived as a better manager, an important factor for developing in your career
  • Faster solutions to problems and hurdles
  • Create more clarity to reduce stress, confusion and enhance reputation
  • Increase your marketability and career potential
  • Free up time for strategic thinking and planning
  • The ability to use a coaching style of management indicates confidence
  • Makes the most of time e.g. ‘water cooler’ moments, in the lift to make staff more resourceful

Top 10 tips to successfully use a coaching style of management

  1. Hold the belief that the person has all the answers within them and that your job is to enable them to emerge
  2. Ensure that the conversation has a purpose and a clear outcome e.g. What’s the issue and how will you know that you’ve moved forward?
  3. Let go of being right and your view being the best, even if you have more experience than the person you are coaching
  4. Quieten your mind so that you are fully present and can listen without judgement and without the filter of your own beliefs, values, opinions and ideas
  5. Create a suitable environment without distractions so that focus is uninterrupted
  6. Listen with all your senses including your intuition, don’t interrupt and create space and silence for insights to emerge from the time to think
  7. Ask open expansive incisive questions, what, how, who, when, where, what (avoid ‘why’) to help the person you are coaching to think and come up with new insights
  8. Reflect back what is being said using their words not yours
  9. Notice body language, tone of voice and what is not being said as well as what is being said, avoiding making any assumptions that are likely to be a product of your value and belief system, not theirs
  10. Ensure that there is a clear and timed action with accountability which will move things forward, and offer further support if they need it

When you’re busy, it can be tempting to do something yourself instead of delegating, be directive and tell someone what to do or allow your ego to make you attached to being right. Investing time using a coaching style rather than a directive style of management is time you won’t regret and will provide many benefits and more time, once mastered. Younger staff in particular are hungry to be given responsibility early, involved in projects and decision making, and value attention, so using a coaching style of management will motivate and engage them.

What action will you take today to develop your coaching style of management?

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What next? Energise provide a free exploratory 1-hour meeting with the decision maker for human capital in progressive organisations open to change. Get in touch

Rachel Brushfield’s LinkedIn profile: Here

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