“Coaching: The manager’s multi-purpose tool”

We all have coaching needs, particularly if accelerated growth is required. Managers all have coaching responsibilities within their respective roles. Coaching is not just reserved for professionals, however, although they can be incredibly helpful in certain circumstances. Their professional approach and practised skills make coaching sessions meaningful and bring clarity to barriers that are holding those being coached back from achieving important milestones of growth in their lives. The manager, however, has an important role to play in growing employees to achieve their best potential.

Julie Starr notes: “Coaching is about people being more, doing more, achieving more, and above all, contributing more.” In other words, it is about becoming better at what you do and realising your potential so that you can give back into society in more meaningful ways.

Alinda Nortje, executive chairperson and owner of Free To Grow, notes seven applications of coaching for managers in their dealings with employees:

  1. Building Skills – setting up opportunities for new skills to be learned and practised.
    • Using coaching to break up large-scale tasks into smaller ones, gradually introducing new skills.
    • Before selecting a training program, coach your staff to identify performance targets they want to achieve.
  2. Progressing Projects – overseeing progress and monitoring any problems on projects.
    • Link coaching sessions with progress reports over the life of the project.
    • Work through problems that could hinder the successful completion of the project.
  3. Solving Problems – helping staff to identify problems and possible routes to a solution.
    • Encourage staff to define the problem and to come up with their own route to a solution.
    • Remain sympathetic to your staff’s difficulties, while encouraging them to deal with problems robustly.
  4. Developing Careers – preparing staff for promotion or showing them a clear career path.
    • Work on coaching goals that could result in recognition for staff achievements.
    • Focus on long-term projects that are challenging and bring out potential rather than small-scale jobs.
  5. Overcoming Conflicts – defusing disagreements among team members.
    • Coach staff to develop greater insight into others’ perspectives and therefore avoid misunderstanding.
    • Overcome friction by directing attention to results rather than personalities.
  6. Remotivating Staff – restoring enthusiasm and commitment within the team.
    • Establish peoples’ needs and aspirations and link these to performance targets.
    • Be prepared to dig for the issues that really concern the employee and be ready to talk them through.
  7. Brainstorming – directing the creative input of the team to keep projects on track.
    • Accentuate the generation of creative options rather than getting bogged down with problems.
    • In team coaching, take the lead by offering creative ideas of your own and then invite the team to assess them.

Employees look to managers for opportunities to grow. It’s not that they can’t grow on their own, but it is more about working together with managers to gain some form of guidance and encouragement for their respective journeys. Coaching for managers is about working with people instead of on them. Managers, coach for growth.

Free To Grow offers the Coach 2 Excel workshop for managers to enhance their coaching skills and subsequently grow their employees (www.freetogrow.com).

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