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Coaching Development For Managers by Richard Nelson

November 28, 2012 - In Leadership in Management - No comments yet

The increase in the use of external coaches in organisations, especially for executives, may obscure the value of developing managers to be effective coaches.  Coaching is a critical element of the managerial role.  More precisely, it is a practical demonstration of leadership.  Leadership involves engaging the commitment of people, inspiring the emotions as well as providing clear performance expectations.

Likewise, coaching is as much about building confidence in people as it is about  developing their knowledge and skills.  In developing managers as coaches, we  recommend that coaching be positioned in relation to their purpose as a manager, as described below.

The role of the manager is ‘to obtain results through the efforts of others’.  This involves setting standards and objectives, i.e. ‘communicating the results expected’.  It follows that managers who want to make a difference in the way they manage will recognise the value of coaching, ‘enabling high performance and developing potential’.  So what would a practical Workshop on coaching for managers consider?

Any initial session needs to define coaching as a relevant management practice and place it in the context of the managerial role.  This session also needs to address the benefits that effective coaching can deliver to the individual being coached, the manager undertaking the coaching, and the organisation.  It is useful to examine situations that require coaching and those outside its scope , in order to establish realistic expectations of what coaching can accomplish.  Addressing attitudinal barriers and personal inhibitions can also be important.

At Nelson Consulting we frequently design a Coaching Workshop around real cases that participating managers bring with them, although role-plays can be used as substitutes.  However, we believe that the environment of a Workshop provides a special opportunity for managers to address development opportunities suitable for coaching.  Focusing on a real issue increases the value.

A critical part of the Workshop is to provide managers with a coaching model that illustrates the main activities involved and also structures the integrity of the coaching process.  This model should define the steps the manager will work through, including agreeing desired performance outcomes, the activities to be undertaken and how the coachee will be supported.

We find that developing managers to use more than one coaching style is vital in developing their confidence and their willingness to practice coaching.  Many managers know intuitively that trying to use a style best suited for people new to the organisation is inappropriate for the more experienced.  We encourage managers to build an assessment of their coachee’s capability in relation to the tasks that need coaching as part of their initial diagnosis.  This will focus the nature of their approach.

Clearly the skills involved in coaching are an essential part of managers’ development.  Communication skills and the relevant behaviours are important as are questioning skills.  Being confident about giving and receiving feedback and using the relevant behavioural skills is essential, especially with experienced people that are good performers and have the ability to be excellent.

Finally, the most important part of the Workshop is the coaching practice.  Using a real case, managers will enrich this throughout the Workshop by applying learning from the main sessions.  They will then undertake a ‘dry-run’ with a partner.  The tutor will orchestrate feedback from other participating managers.




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