Leadership Coaching for Managers
In an increasingly fast-paced and competitive global market, many businesses are looking to give their managers, teams and leaders an edge to help them to perform better, develop their skills and enjoy their professional and personal lives more. It’s also often said that employees don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers – and in today’s corporate climate, retention of good employees is crucial. The solution? Coaching for managers. Read on to discover the benefits of executive coaching, how coaching can help develop effective leadership behaviors and skills among your managers.
What is Leadership Coaching?
Leadership coaching is tailored specifically to managers and executives. It connects professionals with a highly skilled coach who will be able to develop and support them through one-on-one sessions. Nothing beats an hour of speaking face-to-face with an experienced, impartial coach who not only understands the issues that you and your organization are facing, but is able to offer constructive feedback and support.
The best coaches are able to help your managers improve any aspects of their leadership style that they want support on – such as better communication skills, time management methods or help with effective delegation of tasks.
Not only is leadership coaching a great way to support your people and show how much you value them, it’s also a sound investment in the future success of your team.
What makes a good manager and leader?
‘Leadership’ isn’t a quality anyone is born with – which is great news. There are a number of key leadership behaviors that individuals can learn, practice and develop in order to become a better manager. When practicing all of these behaviors, it’s important to have a ‘growth mindset’ – the belief that it’s possible to develop and change – rather than beating yourself up for not being ‘perfect’ and embodying all the characteristics at once.
Developing empathy and compassion for your team is one of the most powerful tools that you have. It often goes hand-in-hand with emotional intelligence. Successful managers take the time to understand what is going on for their team, their stressors and struggles, and their desires and aspirations – and as a result, they are much better equipped to take positive action to benefit both the individual and the team as a whole.
In today’s fast-paced, tech-heavy world, face-to-face contact is increasingly limited, and it can seem like emails can take the place of meetings. In many cases, they can – but one area in which you really do need to sit down with your employees is during your catch-ups. Scheduling these regularly is important for building trust with your team members.
Try to practice effective listening techniques such as maintaining a good level of eye contact, putting away distractions such as laptops or phones, paying attention to what your employee is saying and giving them the time and space to express themselves, without interrupting or passing judgement on their thoughts.
Often, companies with high retention rates and effective teams are those which demonstrate how much they value their employees by directly investing in their learning and development. However, this doesn’t necessarily relate to pay grade – instead, successful leaders regularly point out the potential in others and give employees the opportunity for career development through training, new challenges and setting stretch goals. Offering your employees corporate coaching can also be a great way to provide the support and encouragement that they need, in a confidential and impartial setting.
Behaviors and qualities of a good manager
The most effective managers are those who motivate, inspire and develop their teams – while supporting them through any challenges or issues they might face. Try implementing these behaviors of a good manager to improve your technique.
Check in regularly
The perfect time to practice effective listening skills is during a weekly or biweekly catch up, when you can sit down with your employee and discuss how they’re finding their role, specific projects, or any other issues they might have. When you do this, try to ‘hold the space’ by giving them the time that they need to express their thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental setting, before working together towards a resolution or next steps.
One-on-one check-ins can give your team the privacy and space they need to be open and candid with you. Whole team check-ins can be also useful to foster a strong sense of community and allow individuals to see the big picture. Allow everyone a chance to update the rest of the team on their projects and invite ideas or assistance from others.
Give (and receive) constructive feedback
Many people associate giving and receiving feedback as awkward or embarrassing – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Focus on giving constructive feedback that’s specific, timely and purposeful. A good approach is to give at least as much positive feedback as negative – for example, start the interaction by pointing out an area of strong performance and celebrating it, before moving onto an area which your employee might like to focus their attention on next time.
Finally, great managers invite their direct reports to give their own feedback on their management styles. For example, asking your employee if they feel that they’re getting the level of support that they require can be a very useful way to avoid future issues.
Empower your team
There’s a difference between managing effectively, and micromanaging – and that largely comes down to empowerment. Showing that you trust an individual’s decisions, respect their opinions and believe in their ability to do a great job goes a long way towards fostering a culture of empowerment and responsibility in your team which, in turn, will help you to develop your project management skills.
There are many different behaviours of a good manager, and the most effective leaders have a variety of leadership styles in their toolbelt. These include:
- Visionary. These leaders are inspiring, confident and aren’t afraid to make changes in an organization. They have an innate ability to foster trust and motivation, helping others to see a shared vision of the future and how they can contribute towards it.
- Autocratic. These leaders focus largely on results and efficiency within an organization and use their authority to give detailed instructions and clear expectations. This leadership style is most useful in industries with strict levels of compliance rather than more creative settings.
- Laissez-faire. Also known as ‘hands-off’ managing, this style focuses on delegating tasks and allowing team members plenty of freedom in how they complete them. This approach works best with experienced, trusted teams who don’t require supervision.
- Democratic. Also known as participative leading, this style welcomes input and feedback from their teams during decision making. As a result, employees feel heard, respected and valued – which can boost engagement and satisfaction in the workplace.
- Coach. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most effective forms of leadership. These leaders are able to help their team members to grow and develop through goal setting, constructive feedback and challenging projects.
Coaching can help managers to better understand the different leadership styles and which would be best suited to them, their organization and their team members.
Improving leadership in the workplace – how can you do it?
Coaching is one of the best ways to enhance leadership in an organisation. A skilled coach will help managers to gain a greater understanding and awareness of their own leadership style, as well as alternative approaches that might work well in any given situation.
Every organization, team and manager is unique – so there’s no one solution to every problem. Regular coaching sessions provide the valuable structure and support that every leader needs to achieve his or her potential.