“Being a manager right now is tough, because we’re being asked to do it with a blindfold on, ear plugs in and our hands tied behind our backs.”
This is what one of my coaching clients said to me recently. The visual clues; seeing how someone walks into the office in the morning, how they behave, are gone. Listening to the themes and challenges coming from the phone calls their team are making and taking, gone. The friendly, ‘let’s go for a coffee and have a chat’, gone.
But what’s left is really powerful. Having purposeful, meaningful and connected conversations. Coaching conversations. Never has a coaching approach been so topical and so needed as we strive to connect with and support our people.
Maybe you’ve heard of coaching or a coaching approach but you’re not too clear on exactly what it is. You’re not alone. Many people use the term coaching when they actually mean something else.
In its simplest form, coaching is a conversation where one person (the coach) empowers the other (the coachee) to identify and resolve anything that is preventing them from achieving their goals. A coach will do this by asking questions, reflecting back what has been said, listening and encouraging the coachee to consider different options. A coach would not usually tell the other person what to do, offer advice or suggestions – even if they think they have some really great ideas!
A coaching approach in a place of work is where this type of conversation becomes ‘the way we do things round here’. So performance 121s, wellbeing check ins, ad hoc conversations, feedback sessions would all have this type of interaction at its heart.
But why bother? What’s the benefit? Well, that depends where you are starting from. Coaching and a coaching approach can support a whole host of things such as embedding new technology, changing working patterns, improving engagement and improving performance. And in these times, where we’re balancing employee wellbeing and business performance more than ever, coaching can be a truly powerful tool to support this.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be breaking this down into the Why, What and How of a Coaching Approach but if you’d like to know more now, why not attend a webinar I am doing for tech firm, SVL, on Thursday 18th June at 11am on this very topic. You can find the link here and either listen live, or on demand after the event.
Next week : The importance of ‘Why?’ in a coaching approach.