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Coaching Skills For Managers - How To Get Better At Them?

Every career comes with its own set of challenges. But there is one peculiar challenge managers and those in leadership positions in organizations face: considering themselves a good coach when they aren’t.

Tackling this issue calls for a two-step approach:

1) Performing self-assessment and realizing the problem in the first place.

2) Taking the necessary steps to solve the problem.

The first of these steps calls for equipoise- the ability to monitor what’s happening in one’s own mind and find ways to improve any shortcoming(s) that may have been found there. As for actually becoming a better coach, there are certain skills you should develop, which would be discussed shortly.

But first, let’s see what exactly coaching means.

What is meant by coaching?

To understand the essence of coaching, the easier approach is to first understand what it isn’t. Coaching isn’t giving your subordinates directions to perform something. Suggesting they do a particular task is only giving an opinion at best and interfering in someone else’ work at worst.

Coaching in its truest sense enables a team member to come to their own conclusion about a task, allowing them to draw from their professional expertise to devise strategies on how to go about it.

Coaching in its truest form enables team members to achieve more

How to become better at coaching?

An article from the Harvard Business Review talks about how managers get blindsided into thinking they are good coaches when they aren’t. Drawing upon an in-house research, the article illustrates the importance of managers addressing this very crucial problem..

As for becoming a better coach, there are certain skills which the article points out as important. Here, we discuss the skills among these which we find to be of extreme importance, and the ways to develop them.

Listening

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Those are words from the American author,Brian H.McGill.

The idea of listening as a way of showing respect is important for a manager since unless the relationship with a team member is based on mutual respect, it’s not going to yield the desired results. But then again, while we like to talk about ourselves, listening is not something that comes naturally to most of us. As Ernest Hemingway said in his customary curt manner, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

But even if you fall in the category of the “most people” that never listen the Nobel laureate mentions, you needn’t be stuck in that group forever. For listening is a learnable habit.

The Temenos Vision Lab or TVL which is a unique session developed by Temenos+Agility is an excellent avenue to hone your listening skills among other things. In TVL, the change agents are encouraged to realize their True Personal Vision.

This vision is then shared by the change agent with others in the team, with the latter in a deep listening mode. Also, you get a deeper understanding of your employees this way, which naturally helps you listen and understand better to what they have to say in future interactions.

Providing feedback

Failing to provide meaningful feedback is one of the major drawbacks in a managerial approach.

The good news is that it’s not a rare phenomenon- so, you are not suffering from an extreme case of managerial ineptitude. In fact, it’s one of the most common leadership blindspots. However, you should take the remedial measures to tackle the issue, or else a problematic employee is probably not going to improve on his or her own.

The key here is to provide feedback that would actually help the employee.(“You are doing bad” is not going to help. You should add to that how s/he can improve.) A crucial element which helps you give meaningful feedback is understanding each employee- and their skills and aspirations better.

TVL, by promoting sharing of vision- which in turn is based on each change agent’s aspirations- helps you understand each individual on a deeper level.  This is made possible through the proprietary tool of Influence Maps. So, you know better what kind of feedback would help that person better.

Helping set a goal

It could be overwhelming for a manager or leader to help set the goal for his or her subordinates. While this is somewhat easier to do on an individual level, on a team basis, to set realistic goals(and to envision and put the strategy to reach a goal in motion) could be quite the task.

The problem is also that no matter how enthusiastically the individuals pursue their goals, unless those goals pertain to a vision that the team pursue as a whole, the desired result of a business process couldn’t be achieved.

With TVL, a team could realize their Compelling Shared Vision- a shared goal towards which they can progress. While the methods used in TVL are based on 25 years of business consultancy experience, some of the best leadership coaches help you and your team realize a True Personal Vision and Compelling Shared Vision.

Self-belief is a natural result of good coaching

Expressing empathy

For some strange reason, humans think that expressing human emotions like empathy in the workplace is somehow ‘unprofessional.’ And the higher you are in the hierarchy the more impersonal one tends to get.

The truth is that empathy could be a strong asset for the manager in understanding an issue which a team member might be facing, and more importantly, in helping them solve that particular problem.

Also, empathy promotes the idea of fairness in a manager-employee relationship, often helping the manager from succumbing to their own misguided conclusions about a scenario, before knowing what’s on the other person’s mind. Speaking about which, empathy is closely connected to the dynamic of attunement- which is the ability of a change agent to glean the contents of another person’s mind.

Banner image:  rawpixel on Unsplash

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For change agents and leaders, not to benefit from meaningful events and gatherings is a missed opportunity! We invite you to indulge in some of the most transformational events from Temenos; designed with hard-earned understanding, organized just for you.

Temenos Vision Lab- Online ( June 29, 2018)

We invite you to this special gathering, which brings together a group of wonderful people who fill workplaces with joy and energy. By connecting with each other, you embark on a journey that leads to better clarity about the changes you seek, gain collaboration opportunities and leave with a concrete action plan.

Temenos Vision Lab- Amsterdam, Netherlands( Nov 2, 2018)

a668f554-ff3a-46d4-8a6b-3b5dbac20edaAnother venue to take an exquisite inner journey, to find your true Vision.

Temenos Effect Gathering 2018- Bengaluru, India(Dec 8 to Dec 9, 2018)

An event dedicated to the idea of personal mastery, for nurturing your beautiful self, for change agents and leaders to become their true selves.

For more details, visit our website - https://www.visiontemenos.com/events


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