For Leaders, Coaching May Be the Most Important Thing You Do
Coaching is an essential tool for achieving business goals, but that doesn’t mean it’s always instinctive for leaders.
Leaders are used to taking charge and guiding team members. Coaching uses a slightly different set of skills. Great coaches do more asking and less telling. And a leader who takes the time to learn how to coach his team will see dramatic improvements across the business as a whole.
An organisation moving into a culture of training will see a transformative change come over the business.
The Importance Of Coaching
It’s important to know what constitutes coaching and what each participant gets out of it. For example, coaching is not:
- A weekly “report card”
- A to do list of tasks
- Performance management
- Product training
- Soft skills training
Rather, coaching is a structured process to help team members, in one-on-one situations, improve their performance through goal setting. By identifying behaviour that needs improvement, coaches can mentor and encourage team members to adapt and grow. Instead of being seen as performance management or corrective measures, effective coaching can translate into a pro-active investment into growing employees.
“Ask a lot of challenging questions and let the person come up with the answer.” – Phil Dixon
Coaching is about connecting with people and helping them see how they can do better. It is about inspiring team members and helping them to grow. It’s about asking the right questions to help them find the right answers on their own.
Why Coaching Is Important
Coaching has benefits for team members, leaders, and organisations. It can help create better and more engaged employees. It can create more productive teams. It can translate to higher profitability.
Benefits For Team Members
The better team members perform, the better they will do their jobs. This sense of accomplishment translates into a host of benefits, including:
- Improved confidence
- Job satisfaction
- A sense of continual improvement and progression
- Constant learning
- Potential for promotion
- A constructive relationship with manager
- More positive workplace culture
Because effective coaching is an interactive process, participants feel they are being listened to and that coaches have their best interests at heart. All of this leads to more engagement from your employees, a better workplace culture, and a happier workforce. That’s important when you look at the results of a recent Gallup report which shows that only 31 percent of employees feel engaged at work. That means the other 69 percent are unhappy, unengaged, and unmotivated!
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard
It isn’t the authority a leader has that makes the difference. It’s the ability to positively influence the behaviour of others that is the key to success. That’s why coaching skills for leaders, along with leadership skills, are so important.
Benefits For Coaches
Managers that practice effective coaching techniques typically find the practice rewarding. They can take pride in watching team members grow and respond. They also realise other benefits, including:
- Improved performance of teams and individuals
- Improved motivation and productivity
- More time for essential management and leadership activities
- A more constructive relationship with employees
- A greater understanding of skill levels, capabilities, and attitude
- The necessary information to be able to delegate successfully
- Improvement in personal leadership skills
47 percent of employee say poor culture is the main reason they look for other jobs. Coaching improves the culture in a positive way.
One of the most difficult things leaders have to deal with in business is turnover. An engaged workforce immersed in a positive corporate culture can go a long way to preventing turnover. 59 percent of engaged employees are less likely to look for a new job. 9 out of 10 employees say empathy from their boss is a reason to stick around. An effective coaching process increases both engagement and personal investment from the boss.
Another reason why coaching is important is that it helps identify future leaders and gives them the skills to advance their career.
Tech company Google recently asked its employees to rank the most important things great managers must do to keep their teams happy and engaged, the number one skill they identified was coaching. The importance of coaching ranked higher than any other skill set employees could identify. Coaching skills for leaders are critical.
Strong coaches can not only help keep key employees, but those known as good coaches will attract talented and motivated people that want to grow. This may help you land a star employee that can make a significant impact. At the same time, you cannot afford to have team members that aren’t performing at minimum acceptable levels. Coaching helps build solid team members by providing them with skills, training, and coaching to achieve.
“Leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results.” – Tanya Clemens VP of Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM.
Benefits For Organisations
Coaching that leads to more cohesive teams and happier employers isn’t just to make everyone feel good. For organisations, the increased engagement pays off in the bottom line.
A Gallup study demonstrates that highly engaged business units have a 10 percent higher increase in customer ratings while increasing sales by an average of 20 percent. This culture of engagement translates into 21 percent greater profitability.
Organisations also benefit from:
- Increased performance
- Increased efficiencies and goal achievement
- Increased productivity
- Effective succession planning and identification of future leaders
- A more robust, high performance culture
- Leadership training
“The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.” – Harvard Business ReviewOne of the best investments you can make in your company is leadership training that develops coaching skills for leaders. Creating a coaching culture increases employee engagement and productivity, helps retain key employees, and helps grow your profitability.