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Be a facilitator not a dictator! Know how to drive performance

Coaching is a powerful tool.  It must be yielded at the right time and for the right reasons.

A recent client of mine was finding it tough because every conversation with her manager turned into a coaching session. It was exhausting and had the opposite effect in terms of raising her motivation levels. Sometimes she just needed him to provide some direction!

A coaching skillset should be considered part of a managers’ overall toolbox – when used appropriately it’s empowering and facilitates growth, development and change which ultimately results in performance improvement.

So, when is coaching appropriate?

The art of successful coaching is to allow the person being coached to take ownership and problem solve for themselves.  It’s all about inspiring independence and resourcefulness.

A good coach will encourage others to reflect on the situation at hand and draw on their own resources to move forward.  If a manager attempts to directly solve team members’ problems, the results tend to be short-lived, often with no impact at all or can create a sense of dependence on the manager.It makes sense when you think about it -when we solve our own problems we take more ownership for the situation, we get a sense of achievement, and ultimately our belief in our own ability increases.

As coaches, when we tell someone what to do we are depriving them of the opportunity it learn and grow, we are implying that they do not have the necessary resources to work it out for themselves.

..and when is coaching not so appropriate?

There are times when a more direct approach is best.  For example if an individual lacks the skills or knowledge required to address the problem.  In these situations, as their manager or mentor, it’s more effective to provide clear direction on what is required and potentially what needs to be done. Equally, if something is time-critical, it may be more beneficial to give the solution so that it can be actioned quickly.  Lastly, if it’s a menial task or not truly a developmental opportunity.

However, the key is not to make this the default approach.  The aim should be to get the individual to the point where a coaching conversation is appropriate because it is at this point that they take ownership and can really start to tap into their own potential.

Manager as coach

The key to effective coaching is to develop self-awareness of your impact on others, and their impact on you.  Also understanding the situation at hand will help you gauge if a coaching conversation is appropriate in this case. For example, is this an opportunity for the individual’s development?  Do they have sufficient skills and knowledge to drive that development forward for themselves?

Know when to enter into a coaching conversation – understand your own impact, weigh up the situation and the individual involved.  This will lead to a more fruitful outcome for all involved.




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Filed under: Business Coaching

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