Coaching as a Manager. Are You Doing it Right? 

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Written By Kevin

The insights I gained over the years help me lead and motivate teams to achieve business and operational goals. Allow me to share my learnings with you.

In this article I will explain what coaching is, why it’s an impactful tools for business leaders and managers to use with their teams, and I’ll list some tips on how you can begin the coaching process with your own staff. 

Let’s get started.

What is Coaching?

Workplace coaching is a big buzzword and we often hear it in different contexts or interchangeably for mentoring or consulting, but what is coaching?

I define coaching as a process of empowering people to find their own answers to challenges, and create greater self-awareness. While encouraging and supporting them throughout that process it uses open-ended questions designed to make the person you’re coaching think about the topic at hand in new ways.

Ultimately coaching is a way of leading people to make empowered choices.

A business coach is different from a consultant. In the latter, an expert provides advice based on their specific knowledge, experiences and skills.

Coaching is also different from mentoring. In a typical mentor-mentee relationship one person has more knowledge or experience in something and shares that learning with the mentee to foster their growth.

Coaching is not the same as teaching either. 

A business coach doesn’t give advice to the other person or teach them new things. The coach’s job is to lead a process that empowers the other person to come up with their own answers, conclusions and choices.

Coaching is a process that asks open-ended questions to get the person you’re coaching to think in new ways, or better understand how they’re feeling about something.

As a business coach your job is to empower and support the person you’re coaching to tap into their own wisdom and strength.

This may sound counterintuitive to you as a manager and leader. 

We’re used to giving direction, mentoring staff and sharing our knowledge and expertise. However, don’t underestimate the positive effects of coaching. 

Benefits of Coaching in the Workplace

Coaching is an added tool in your repertoire which you can use to empower your staff, create buy-in, and inspire your teams. 

Since business coaching encourages people to come up with their own solutions, it is a great way to grow the leadership of those on your team and prepare them for new roles, responsibilities and decision-making within your organization.

Coaching creates Buy-in

Coaching in the workplace creates buy-in because we know that when people come up with their own solutions or their own ways of accomplishing their goals they are more deeply invested in the work.

Coaching Builds Trust

Coaching can also build trust with your team. By giving them the space to come up with their own solutions and encouraging them to tap into their own wisdom you actively show your team that you trust them.

Building trust in turn inspires your team and creates more commitment to the work that they’re doing. 

Coaching Enhances Self-Awareness

Through the coaching process, individuals gain a deeper understanding of their personal goals, values, and motivations. This introspection is a foundational skill for both personal and professional development.

Once this is in place, employees can work to build deeper insight into what they want and future areas of growth. This heightened self-awareness can lead to improved decision-making, better problem-solving skills, and increased effectiveness in the roles they perform.

Coaching Boosts Resilience

Resilience is another key benefit of coaching. With feedback and improved self-awareness, people develop improved stress tolerance.

When employees become more resilient, they’re better able to adapt to changing or unfavorable circumstances successfully. This decreases the likelihood of burnout and improves overall job satisfaction.

Resilient employees can better manage stress, bounce back from adversity, and adapt to change, all of which are crucial for a thriving workplace.

When to use Coaching

It is important to note that coaching should be one of the many tools in your executive toolbox, but not the only tool. 

There are times when coaching will be the most empowering choice to use with your team and staff, but there are other times when mentoring, teaching, and providing clear and direct feedback are more appropriate.

Let’s look at the ideal situations when to use coaching.

Career Coaching for growth moments.

You can use coaching during routine processes to help employees grow, such as guiding an employee to decide how they will accomplish a project or goal that you’ve set for them. 

Use Coaching to help in Difficult situations

Sometimes you should use coaching to assist in difficult situations. Example, when deciding how to improve performance issues, or when employees are doubting their capabilities. For example, in cases of employees recently promoted in new senior roles, who might be experiencing imposter syndrome.

In this case, coaching is being used to help bring greater clarity and self-awareness to a situation. 

Coaching for Long-Term Career Goals

Long term coaching can be a process to help younger employees decide what they want to accomplish in their career. Understand what their expectations are, what their role is, and in some cases, just help them come to terms with something they might be struggling on.

One-on-one and Group Coaching

Coaching can be done individually or with a group. Whatever the situation, however, it’s always best to ask permission to coach someone before you begin the process.

Keep in mind that coaching can be used around any topic that you and your team choose. 

You do not need to be an expert on a particular topic to coach your employee on it, because you’re not coming up with solutions. Instead you are leading a process of asking open-ended questions.

The Coaching Process

Now that you understand why coaching is impactful and when to use it let’s look at the actual process of coaching.

Establish a Clear Topic

First, establish a clear topic that you’re coaching on. 

For example, you may choose to coach your team on how they will work together to meet a specific goal, or you may coach a staff member on how they can better form a relationship with one of their colleagues.

Be specific, and narrow down an exact topic as this will allow the person you are coaching to have greater clarity throughout the coaching exercise. As a consequence you will get more impactful results, rather than bouncing all over the place and not really getting anywhere new.

You can plan a coaching session in advance with a specific topic, or you can use your coaching skills during regular conversations when a topic comes up that would be a good fit for coaching.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Be curious in your approach, and ask open-ended questions on the topic in a non-judgmental way.

Even if you think you know how the other person may respond, don’t assume anything. Now is the time to really lean into being curious with the person or people that you’re coaching.

Encourage your staff to come up with their own answers by asking open-ended questions. Here are some examples of open-ended questions I like to use in my coaching sessions;

  • How are you currently thinking about the topic?
  • What is troubling you?
  • What have you tried?
  • What do you think is missing?
  • What other things do you want to try?
  • What are your goals and expectations?

You basically want to ask questions that spark new thinking as opposed to simple questions that can be answered quickly with just a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer 

Encourage them to think about the next steps

After you’ve asked open-ended questions and the employee has been able to think through the topic, encourage them to come up with the next steps.

Most probably, this will not occur naturally, but you can always ask supportive questions to encourage them, and help them get there. For example, what’s next? or where do you want to go from here?

Be sure that the person or people you’re coaching are making empowered choices about the next steps and that they feel committed to those steps.

Encourage and support your staff throughout the coaching process 

As their leader and coach, you must be sure to support your team throughout the whole process. 

Here are some tips on how you can be more supportive during the coaching process:

  • Uplift anything mentioned in the conversation that resonates with you
  • If you notice growth during the coaching session, point it out
  • Champion your team and tell them the things you’re excited about 

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you some useful insights on the process and benefits of coaching at the workplace. Feel free to reach out if you would like further details or information about this topic.

In the meantime keep in mind that coaching is a process that needs proper planning and ongoing commitment. It’s not a one-time event, but a continuous journey of learning, growth, and development.

Regular feedback, open communication, and a supportive environment are key to a successful coaching relationship.

Remember, the goal of coaching is not just to improve performance, but to empower your team members to become the best versions of themselves. It’s a process to create greater self-awareness in the team, while encouraging and supporting them throughout. 

Do you feel ready to begin coaching?  Give it a try with someone on your own team.

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