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Managers coaching in the workplace


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Managers coaching in the workplace

  1. 1. ==== ====Questions on coaching? This is a great place to find out more: ====Workplace coaching has been for the reserve of executives or individuals within organisations.Now organisations realise that managers using coaching skills can provide direct performance andbusiness benefits.More than 70% of organisations with any formal leadership development activities use coachingas an important part of that. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) statesthat line managers typically deliver 36% of the coaching to their reports, while HR and Trainingand Development specialists were delivering 30%.This suggests an expectation for line managersto deliver more coaching.I will start with defining what is coaching in the workplace, and what it is not. I will cover how itworks as a development tool, the topic of the Manager as coach, their roles and responsibilities;the deliverables to the business and the pros and cons of delivering coaching.I will cover how a manager can coach, who they will coach, and different styles and to concludethe issues that it may raise, how they can be recognised and some solutions.How does it work?Organisations realise they can improve the performance and motivation of their people throughcoaching. A coaching style of management is preferred to the traditional command and controlapproach.Coaching is a more a management style rather than a tool. Application of coaching has manyexamples; delegating, problem solving, team building, planning and reviewing.Coaching embraces 2 fundamental principles, that of awareness and responsibility. Huge potentiallies within all of us. What blocks that unleashed potential? Restrictive structures and companypractices, the lack of encouragement and opportunities offered, and management style of thecompany. The most common internal block is self belief. Building self awareness, responsibilityand self belief is the goal of a coach.Awareness can be raised by focussed attention and by practice. It is the clear perception of therelevant facts and information. It helps in recognising when and how emotions or desires distortour own perception.When we accept, choose or take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions, our levels ofcommitment increase, and so does our performance. Performance is likely to improve if someonechooses to take action, rather than being told.
  2. 2. Effective questioning in conversation best generates awareness and responsibility. Questionsshould be open beginning with words like what, when, how (much/many), and who. Why isdiscouraged as it suggests criticism. Questioning will follow the coachees train of thought. If theyappear to be going way off track a simple interjection like "I notice we havent talked about", helpsbring things back on course.What should we ask, and in what sequence? Several coaching models exist. The most familiar isthe (T) GROW model. The G is for Goal, setting the agenda for the session as well as the longterm aspiration. The R is for reality, exploring the current situation. The O follows for options orcourses of action. Finally W is for what is to be done, when, by whom (the way forward).Other coaching models exist, such at the SHOOTS model. Here they cover Seek to understand,Hone the goals, Objectives set, Options and action planning, Try it out, Success review. Onefurther coaching model the "Coaching path", is another.The Manager as Coach the pros & consCan a manager coach and do their own day job? With the demands placed on managers thesedays, adding one more task to their list of objectives in an ever demanding workplace.Organisations realise they can improve both the performance and motivation of their associatesthrough coaching. Focussing on encouraging people to think for themselves, a coach providessupport, challenge, feedback and guidance, but rarely answers.A survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggestsmanagers who have been trained in coaching can also self coach. While operational coachingcarried out by line managers will help to improve performance, it is dedicated internal coacheswho will bring about long-lasting behavioural change that can really add value.Dedicated internal coaches within an organisation must raise the question of value for money andcost effectiveness. My own observations of cost-cutting programmes, flatter organisations, and theneed to demonstrate value for money leave little room for a coach to exist as a dedicatedresource.There are some additional pros and cons for coaching a team From the perspective of the coachis a successor could be created, avoiding team members being "off the job" to develop skills, andcould be cost effective. The downside to this is that they (the manager) feel their own job may bejeopardised, it can be time consuming, and giving people responsibility may encourage them todispute the coachs authority. The manager in coaching may develop a lack of confidence if thecoaching experience does not go well.For the team the benefits are that they will be coached by someone who knows them and theirdevelopment needs. Development is part of the job and is therefore directly relevant and useful,and it makes work more challenging and interesting. The downside could be if coaching isnt takenseriously.Coaching may not always be appropriate. A manager may have to switch from a coaching role toa directing role and then back again. As long as this is explained to the team this should not causean issue. If not then the behaviour can be seen as ambiguous.
  3. 3. For the manager to be successful he needs to build rapport with the people he is coaching.Without this coaching will have limited benefits. The relationship will often be one to one, howeverin the case of a development or performance focus; the manager may have to report to a sponsorto give feedback. All parties will need to know this from the start.How can a Manager Coach?Organisations need to decide how coaching will be deployed, who will do the training(internal/external) and how many managers are to be trained. This would usually be led by the HRfunction, supported by senior management. This could be built into the organisations objectivesand targets. By the creation of a "coaching culture" coaching will be more readily accepted.Various coaching models are available for the manager as coach. The most common is(T)GROW. Used effectively its relatively simple to use (previously discussed). Regardless ofwhich model the coach chooses to take, it will give them a repeatable model to use. Onedisadvantage of having many managers coaching in organisations is standardisation, a model willhelp.Assuming the manager has received coaching training, and is now armed with a repeatable modelto follow, what next? There are several dimensions in the coaching relationship to consider. One isbetween the coach and the coachee (team or individual).A third dimension which is the manager to the organisation. This may mean reporting upwards onprogress and developments of a coaching relationship.A manager can coach in various ways; coaching downwards, meaning coaching individuals whoreport directly. Coaching upwards, meaning the relatively unusual situation of coaching onessuperior. This can be dangerous as a senior manager may ask for honest feedback, but does notwant to hear the truth! I would advise extreme caution in this situation.Coaching sideways, meaning coaching colleagues peers or equals in the organisation. Thisoccurs in different areas and can benefit the coach, coachee and the organisation with anexchange of views and knowledge. It allows challenging questions to be asked, which might notnecessarily be raised if one had expert knowledge of the functional area.Team Coaching, is another dynamic where a manager can apply his coaching skills. For a teamthere are times when coaching intervention will be effective. These are the beginning, midpointand ends. The beginning helps establish boundaries, identifies what to do regarding tasks andtimings. This helps the group to have a good launch, and can significantly enhance memberscommitment to the team and the task. At the midpoint failures and successes can be shared, aswell as experiences. Teams are able to review how they have worked together and will be openfor some coaching intervention. The end of a task or performance should be time for lessonslearnt for future project work.These 3 coaching interactions can be summarised as motivational in the beginning, consultative atthe midpoint, and educational at the end. Evidence suggests that coaching a team in betweenthese points in the cycle may have small beneficial effects.
  4. 4. What issues does it raise?There are three angles, the coach (manager) the coachee (individual and team) and theorganisation.In all organisations politics have their place. It is important to remember that as a coach your roleis non-judgemental. The manager needs to recognise when there is a conflict of interests and flagat the earliest opportunity. By finding themselves "in the middle", this is potential for stress.Managers should be aware and take early action to avoid this situation.In commercial organisations, Return on Investment (ROI) or at least a clear measure of howcoaching will impact the organisation is required. Few initiatives will be approved or deployedunless there is a clear measurement system. This is where a "coaching culture" may support theinitiative. Being incorporated into the organisations missions, and values as well as one of theorganisations corporate objectives will support success and adoption.Tracking success of coaching can pose a headache. Process tools & guidelines will help with this.For example specifying how long the coaching will last for, the assessment instruments andagreement as part of the contracting phase.One issues a manager may face when coaching in an organisation is that of standardisation. Forexample coaching models, how information is recorded, and how coaching sessions areconducted.A barrier to coaching is the perception the time to do it. Small companies and some ownermanagers are likely to complain that they dont have the time to do everything. Smaller companiestend to have fewer dedicated resources. However it is accepted that some smaller businesses failas a consequence because they had not adequately developed their key staff.Managers as coaches may well come across the international dimension and are an aspect thatthe manager as a coach needs to be aware of, even within a single organisation. This isparticularly relevant in a more diverse workforce.Managers ought to understand how development impacts on people in the organisation. Managersneed genuine interest; otherwise they may only pay lip service to the "coaching culture" or theirorganisations "strategy and vision". In hostile environments (such as fast paced manufacturing)with aggressive attitudes and styles, change needs to happen quickly, and coaching is notautomatically chosen.Autocratic environments where management "tell" their associates display language andbehaviour in direct conflict to the coaching style. If managers have to "tell" their associates, theyhandle and remove any ambiguity in their role as coach. As long as this is explained to associatesthis should not cause an issue.If time is upmost then telling will be the fastest way. If the quality of the result is upmost, thencoaching for high awareness and responsibility is likely to deliver. If maximising learning isupmost, coaching will optimise learning and retention.Coaching is a tool for people development. What if there is nowhere for the people to develop to?
  5. 5. Organisations adopting flatter and leaner structures, particularly in the light of current economicsituations there may leave little scope for individuals to move unless someone leaves. Successionplanning helps here but people may have to "stand still" for some time.As a consequence of downsizing individuals find them with even higher workloads than before.Organisations typically shed jobs and restructure with little thought as to how the businessprocesses and people are affected.Other organisational barriers to coaching success are lack of time, where the managers did notfeel that they had the time; they want things done now so revert back to "command and control".Fear of skills coaching used, for managers who cant or wont coach will oppose its use. They mayfeel weakness in their ability. Fear from the associates side their mangers are not confident intheir role as coach, and some associates may be better than them. From the managers side thereis the fear of the coach, that the coach can perform better than them and perceive it as a threat.There is the fear of risk, that if it does not bring the results that are expected (whether reasonableor not) that it would be a waste of money (externally provided), or resources and time (internallyprovided).Coaching is not a "catch all" for everything and everyone and the manager needs to recognisewhen coaching is not appropriate. As a guide but by no means exhaustive, when faced with thefollowing situations, a manager may question if coaching is appropriate. If a criminal act iscommitted, serious health or emotional problems, stress, and substance abuse.ConclusionCoaching has been recognised as adding value in the workplace, not only for high achievers andexecutives. Responsibility for delivering the coaching still rests largely with the line managementteam in an organisation ( 70%).Coaching is applied in a non-directional, non-judgemental way. Before improving performanceawareness and responsibility need to be raised. Coaching models exist to aid the manager themost common being (T)GROW.Coaching may appear an additional task on f the managers already heavy workload. Donecorrectly, it allows the manager more time on core tasks such as long-term planning and objectivesetting. In developing staff it avoids them being "off the job" to develop skills. There are occasionswhere a manager will have to "tell" staff and needs to be handled by them appropriately.Coaching can be done at various levels within an organisation, team, individuals, peers, superiorsor themselves. It is important for the manager to recognise when coaching is not appropriate andseek assistance.The manager needs to be aware of any conflicts of interest, particularly in the area of values andbeliefs. A demonstrable measurement system will support the coaching approach. The standard oftraining and ongoing support to coaches is important to ensure that a coach does not have anegative effect on the workforce. Cultural and diversity dimension also needs to be considered.Coaching is clearly not a "catch all" or a sticking plaster for a manager to heal over their areas of
  6. 6. responsibility. It is extremely powerful when used as a management style, supported by a strongand visible coaching culture within an organisation.The final question I would raise to any organisation not using, or considering using coaching iswhy would they not want to benefit from the overriding benefits that it can yield?Wulston Alderman has been coaching within the BMW Group for the last 9 years across brandssuch as Rolls-Royce MINI and Land Rover.A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, he is also a practicing Mentor for themembership. He is passionate about helping others develop themselves both professionally andpersonally, therefore he takes a great deal of interest in career coaching for young professionals.To find out how you can improve your business performance, Wulston is offering an initialconsultation session for free.For more information contact Source: ====Questions on coaching? This is a great place to find out more: ====