Coaching and management are entirely separate beasts, yet most managers seem to believe that they are good coaches. The truth is that there is a lot of inaccurate thinking around the topic of coaching, as it is not as simple as just assigning tasks to your employees. First, managers need to identify the differences between coaching and management. Then, they need to understand how to utilize coaching in their role as a manager.
Identifying the Differences in Coaching vs. Management
The first step on the road to becoming a better coach is developing a strong understanding in the differences between coaching and management. Being able to define these differences shifts your entire perspective, and generates entirely new expectations. A manager needs to be more directive and transactional in their approach since they are solutions focused, while a coach’s responsibility is to be employee focused and determine how to help the employee with their goals.
After this understanding is developed, it can be very helpful to spend time practicing the art of coaching, which is essentially a level of training. Peer coaching is a great approach, as it allows managers to hone their skills as coaches in a group environment through the feedback of their peers.
Coaching is a different skill than management, and requires learning and time to develop. The upside here is that this is absolutely a learnable skill if you approach it with the proper mindset and seek training.
What is the Role of a Manager in Coaching?
As alluded to above, the issue is that a majority of managers simply misunderstand the role of a coach, and how to successfully play this role.
A majority of managers that don’t know how to properly coach their team tend to mistake coaching for consulting. This results in an abundance of advice and potential solutions. However, there needs to be a deeper focus on tactics such as setting goals, listening, providing substantive feedback, and allowing team members to reach their own solutions.
The goal here is to demonstrate empathy and offer a structure for your team members to learn and grow. This approach to management is much more encouraging for employees, and ultimately inspires a higher level of work and understanding. Improved behavior can be reinforced by spotting and highlighting strengths in the coachee.
American Football coach, Bill McCartney says “All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.” This quote rings true in the realm of business as well. A great coach can inspire an individual to reach new levels of performance, which is an extremely useful attribute when it comes to a manager. When a manager is also a good coach, they have an innate ability to improve employee engagement by motivating their employees instead of just relaying tasks to them.
If you’d like to explore coaching as a form of management in more detail and how the PREP profile management reports can help, please contact us.