I’ve been teaching managers how to coach for several years – in groups, and also 1:1 in a coach/client relationship. Having worked in the corporate world, and having an “aha” moment when I learned the process and skills in coaching, I find it an extremely valuable tool for managers to use at the right time, with the right people. It may come as no surprise that I love hearing stories from clients about the changes they notice in their organizations when they set about to intentionally coach others.
Here is a short list of what I’ve heard from managers about what they observe when they become intentional about coaching others; I’m hoping you’ll experience these changes in your organization:
New, creative dialog happens: The most profound thing that happens is something that rarely happens in our corporate spaces: real, honest-to-goodness dialog. The kind of open conversation where you spend more time listening, asking questions, and those you are coaching are less afraid to speak about what matters to them. New ideas are formed, new activities begin, and people are thinking more than just reacting. There is a feeling of freshness and possibility in the organization. People feel motivated and inspired.
You breathe a sigh of relief: Eventually, as you continue to coach, you find that you are not responsible for having all the answers. A burden has been lifted from your shoulders. People are coming up with their own answers and learning to figure things out for themselves. You can go away on vacation and things run well without you. You are developing others, getting them ready to take your place when you leave (therefore making yourself promotable).
Your staff begins to coach others: This is the thing that leaders find hardest to believe, but if they look, they’ll see it. Almost imperceptibly, a “coaching culture” develops and spreads. Those who report to you will coach the people that report to them. People are listening to each other, helping each other. They’re learning on their own and finding new ways to work together. Coaching flows throughout the organization; working relationships improve and reporting relationships don’t restrict or delay what needs to get done. In fact, there is a freedom that occurs that allows change to happen faster and with less effort.
I want to work at a place where these things happen, don’t you? What’s keeping you from coaching others?