Managers into Coaches? – why is it so difficult?

Managers into Coaches? – why is it so difficult?

The above question attracted by attention and I replied as follows: (references are at the bottom of the post)

Experience tells me that it’s not appropriate to ‘turn managers into coaches’ and that it’s much more relevant to support managers to have a ‘coach approach’ – seemingly subtle linguistically and huge in practice. Managers are managers (leaders too!), they are employed to manage / lead; this demands a whole spectrum of behaviours and styles. Daniel Goleman (Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, et al) talks to 6 styles, some long term, some short term, coaching is just one of them. I’ve worked in this field for 15+ years, bringing coaching styles and behaviours to managers and often I hear, “I don’t want to be turned into a coach!” – good news is, I say, that’s not on the agenda, and what is includes new ways to have conversations that motivate, empower and get more discretionary effort from your people – normally they want this! So I strongly believe that the way forward is to support managers to have different conversations. This involves some skill development, especially listening and questioning, as well as lots and lots of work around a change of mind set; a letting go of old ways, e.g. the manager has to have all the answers – also getting individual managers and their teams aligned around common values, beliefs, purpose etc. It seems to me that the leadership development community at large could benefit hugely by switching from TEACHING models for coaching to SUPPORTING mind set and behaviour change. In addition using real situations to practice has really big leverage, there’s nothing like being coached to learn about coaching others! Happy to continue the discussion as necessary.

PINOT: Performance Improvement Non-Training Solutions

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