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Could Every Manager Use a Coach?
Submitted by Jennifer McCoy on November 3rd, 2010
Does the question really need to be asked today? Coaching has gained credibility, and respectability, as its effectiveness has been proven in client feedback and business outcomes. Nonetheless, I’ll use the question as a starting point for my occasional series of entries for this blog.
Coaching in the workplace is still generally associated with executives, who are given the opportunity of a confidential listener, to reflect on issues like strategic business decisions, their leadership, how to lead change, or simply to explore how to get balance into their frenetic lives. But is there a place for management coaching further down in the organization?
Look at this list of high-priority needs for professional development, put forward by different groups of middle-level managers and team leaders:
- Team-building: What makes a team? How do I develop a team?
- How can I create a positive climate, deal with negative people?
- How do I handle conflict – in various scenarios?
- How can I get everything done at work?
- How can I maintain balance and my health?
The needs are similar to those senior executives: leadership, staff management and work/life balance. Usually in these groups, there is a sense of isolation as well, of being reluctant to admit to problem areas, a vague fear of failing. Not a healthy situation for any individual, nor for the organization. Add the burning issue of staff engagement in a time of economic recovery; plus the fact that staff-manager relationships are a major factor in why staffs leave a workplace – and it’s clear something has to change.
It is all too easy to lay blame though. Logically it’s not helpful to dismiss a generation of managers as inept, without acknowledging their concerns and finding solutions. It is also important to recognize that management training alone is inadequate for the responsibilities they now face; and it’s generally recognized that most learning takes place outside formal training sessions: at work, from practice, conversations, reflection and sharing. However, learning on the job for most of these time-poor and stressed managers is a matter of trial and error – especially if the workplace culture discourages collaboration at this level.
Can coaching assist these managers? Coaching helps a person to gain perspective on their situation, and discover in their strengths solutions to the challenges they face. A coach’s responsibility is to challenge beliefs, question assumptions and expect commitment. Group coaching involves several people to come together to explore challenges and solutions and, when facilitated by a coach, there’s the real possibility of breaking down the barriers that seem to be destroying collegiate learning at that level and then build a respectful management team from there.
If you need help in taking your performance to the next level, then check out our Management Coaching Program. The program is designed to assist you get from where you are now to where you would like to be. Areas in which this program can help you include management and leadership, career planning, workplace generational issues and small business coaching. Find out more about our Management Coaching Program and download an information brochure.