19 Jul When Managers Become Coaches: A Guide for Modern Leaders
Less Knowing, More Understanding
Develop a Framework
Be the Signpost
Reflection and Refinement
This should form an important part of any guide for modern leaders. As I was learning in my approach to coaching people, I made space for reflecting after each session on how things went. Make some time – ideally right after your conversations when it is still clear in your mind – to think about the following questions:
- Did I respond in the best way?
- For my people?
- For my company?
- For their overall performance
- What could I do differently and better next time?
It sounds like a lot of additional work, but a few minutes of reflection on the effectiveness of your approach and asking your people about their experience will go a long way to improving things for everyone. I used to start the next 1:1 by asking for their feedback on the last session, for instance.
Lead by Example
I talk about consistency a lot in leadership, but it’s a trait I look for and also try to uphold in how I approach my work. In the context of coaching others, it is imperative. If you agree to follow-up on pressing matters for your people, do it. If you’ve planned 1:1’s in the calendar, don’t reschedule. Be organised and prepared, and if you are genuinely overstretched and struggling to close out on actions for your people, be honest.
I recall several great developmental conversations with my team leaders. Some had ambitious career plans and goals that would ultimately involve great people leaving and investments required that didn’t align with what our company was doing. At all times, I would support their aspirations. I would always encourage them to go on that journey and that whatever we could do to support that, we would. I’d also be realistic about where that started and ended.