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Managers as Coaches

Can a Manager be a Coach? Much has been written on this. I believe that managers can and should DO coaching.

Think about the Manager you would follow anywhere. What did she/he say or do? What did he/she NOT say or NOT do? How did you think, feel, and act because of that manager’s behavior?

My workshop participants almost universally say “I didn’t want to let them down”; “I wanted to make them look good”; “I worked even harder”, etc.

These answers tell me that the manager invested in the person, their growth and development, and maybe even their life. That probably means they acted as a coach in addition to being a manager.

How does a manager do that?

  1.  Decide that your leadership style will focus on  not just the task, but also the people
  2. Focus primarily on growth and development (responsibility is more powerful than accountability)
  3. Ask open ended questions
  4. Use the STICS model to deliver performance feedback
  5. Listen to the messages from both the head and the heart
  6. Use positive non-verbal behaviors. Observe theirs.
  7. Use silence at appropriate times
  8. Agree on next steps

It takes time to build and refine this skill. If you commit to it, you will get there. Your direct reports will help you improve because of their responses to your efforts.

For those that are serious about this, we have a small “toolkit” that we can share.

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