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A large part of being an effective leader at work is the ability to coach the people in your team. Most people, when asked, would say that they do coach their team members, but when they really understand what true coaching means, they realise that they actually don't coach. They give advice, they solve problems, they give instructions, but they don't actually coach.
The ability to hold meaningful coaching conversations that improve performance is something that can be learned. With some tools in your toolbox, you'll start to see results that have a flow-on effect to your whole team. Your team members will be more motivated and you'll be able to address issues quickly, thereby avoiding escalation.
Not only is effective coaching important for developing high performing teams, but it is absolutely critical for the support of participants on training programmes. It’s widely known that if people attend training and then return to work with no workplace support, then little or no application of learning will happen. This is true whether the training is for building technical skills or for behavioural development. The flip side is that participants who return to work and have a line manager or coach who has really meaningful coaching conversations with a clear goal, are much more likely to apply their learning, even in risky situations.
Take the example of Jono who has sound technical skills and has been promoted into a team leader role but with no training or experience. This is a very typical scenario and one that we strike in most organisations we work with. If Jono’s organisation recognises the need for an investment in leadership development, he’s the lucky one. If, however, they believe that leadership development means sending Jono to a training programme and all will be well, Jono is not so lucky. Training in isolation will not turn Jono into an effective team leader.
Jono’s best chance of transitioning to being an effective leader is for his organisation to support his leadership development back at work and this is best done by workplace coaching, preferably by his line manager. However, just as Jono did not miraculously have leadership skills when he transitioned from being a technical expert to being a team leader, so it is for his line manager who does not miraculously turn into a skilled coach.
The good news for Jono’s boss is that the skills of coaching can be learned. There are a number of coaching models being used within organisations – one that is well recognised is the GROW model which can be used as the basis for a coaching session:
GOAL: What do you want?
REALITY: What is the current situation?
OPTIONS: What could you do?
WILL: What will you do?
The flow-on effects for Jono of being well coached are that he in turn becomes an effective coach for the people within his team and henceforth a further win for the organisation.
If you’d like to know more about developing your own coaching skills or those for a number of people in your organisation, call us on 03 943 2373 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.