Manager’s Toolkit: Coaching Performance

Sep 24, 2021 | Culture/wellbeing

One thing the twenty-first century has provided is a swift change to our working reality. Where flexible working is a new normal and employee well-being is at the forefront of employers priorities.  With flexible working brings new challenges to managers, they are no longer expected to ‘Have  All The Answers’ and therefore instruct employees, they are encouraged to provide support, guidance and ‘nurture’ their teams. 

In other words, the managers of today are urged to swap traditional managing know-how with coaching that lets them lead from the place of empowerment, rather than the place of power.

 

So how can you become a coach yourself?

 

1. Believe in the potential 

You can’t be a coach if you believe that people — yourself included — can’t be effectively coached. To know whether you sincerely trust that people can be coached into their best performance, ask yourself: Do you see talent as more valuable than effort? Do you deeply care about the measures of intelligence? Do you see mistakes as the ultimate hazard to success? If all the answers are a firm “yes”, it is likely that you are yet to build your growth mindset muscle. But you have a solid reason to do so: employees evaluate their growth-mindset managers as better coaches. Once you trust that effort is more valuable than mere talent, that a measure of intelligence does not have a lot to tell us about one’s performance and that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, you will be ready to start coaching.


2. Adopt a coaching framework

Becoming an effective coach takes time and practice. One famous framework that can help you is called the GROW (Goal. Reality. Options. Will) model. Whilst this model is conceptually easy to grasp, it takes weeks to practise the model and realise it requires you to make a mindset shift too:  thinking of your own managing role in novel ways.

 

Goal: 

To coach someone, you need to know what their current goals are — what do they want to accomplish from the conversation with you today.

 

Good questions to ask:

What result do you wish to achieve?

What outcome would be an ideal one?

What do you need from me today?

 

Reality: 

Next, you both should gain an awareness of what’s going on — what is the context and what is the magnitude of the situation.

 

Good questions to ask:

Have you taken any steps towards your goal?

What is working well for you right now?

What could make this goal harder to reach?

 

Options: 

As a coach, you should help your employees think broadly — what are their options if they broaden their perspective?

 

Good questions to ask:

What has worked for you so far?

What could you do differently?

Who else might be able to help?

 

Will: 

Lastly, you should address your employee’s action plan (What will you do?) and their will to act (How likely are you to do it?)

 

Good questions to ask:

What is the one step you will take now?

What roadblocks could occur?

What support will you need to do it all?

 

To conclude, being a coach-manager means asking the questions that prompt insight that can help employees come up with their own, out-of-the-box solutions. In turn, managers not only actively learn from their employees, but they also strengthen relationships and increase the sense of fulfillment that comes as a result of playing a vital role in employee’s growth. Naturally, full institutional support is needed for managers to make the shift from telling to exploring and evaluating to empowering. And looking at everything we know now, this is a shift worth making.

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