The Importance of Coaching
Coaching is about creating the intimate space for the person who is the subject of the coaching to talk freely, and through the use of powerful relevant questions enable the person to define the problem, explore the potential solutions, determine which approach will likely work for them and work out how they will do it.
At the PPI Network we view and work with coaching in two different ways. Firstly, we believe that organisations and teams will gain significant value added to their results and business by having leaders and managers who are able to coach their people. Secondly, we consider that coaching can provide a significant added value to individual leaders and executives and we have within the network significant experience and expertise in helping individual leaders tackle specific acute issues or take an important step forward in their business impact and/or career development.
Why do managers and leaders need to be coaches?
Why is there increased visibility and importance being given to managers and leaders being more skilled in coaching? Many companies are seeking to build a coaching culture with managers as coaches and team coaching as important pillars.
Research by McKinsey has found that ”to unlock a team’s abilities, a manager at any level must spend a significant amount of time on two activities: helping the team understand the company’s direction and its implications for team members and coaching for performance.”
With an increasingly competitive environment and pressure for achieving more with less, it makes sense for managers to help their people grow their competence and ability to take more responsibility and contribute more. This, in turn, leads to increased delegation, thus releasing the manager’s time for thinking and focusing on more strategic issues as well as providing opportunities for looking creatively at ways of enhancing the business.
Coaching by managers is also a great way of releasing and tapping into the creativity of direct reports. Coaching conversations, which will not happen if a directive management style is used, may result in discovering new ideas and avenues for the manager. Genuine coaching by the manager also gives the direct report more autonomy to take action, a key motivator these days. It will also broaden the competence of the manager, enabling him or her to cope with more complex interpersonal discussions.
So how do managers become good coaches?
- Firstly they need to have the right mind set, acting as facilitators nor directors.
- Secondly they need to have a good framework, which will provide a series of steps to work through with the other person to help them define their issue, explore options and determine a course of action.
- Thirdly managers need to be skilled in communication especially listening and questioning. Coaching requires being a very good active listener, listening both for what the person is saying and not saying. It is about helping the person, being coached, to get to deeper levels of understanding using probing questions, which build on what the person is saying, trigger new thinking and new discovery.
The benefits of coaching for leaders
Within the PPI Network we have a good experience in having coached executives and leaders in different companies. The value delivered by these coaching interventions has been varied and here are some examples:
- enabling a senior country level executive to complete a thorough personal review and make a step forward in his career contribution to the organisation;
- enabling an international executive to achieve a more objective view of himself and his impact on others in order to enable him to be more effective in leading international teams;
- enabling an international leader to take stock of her strengths and areas for development and identify an action plan for herself in order to be successful in handling greater international responsibility.
Having a coach helps individual leaders to gain new perspectives on themselves and others. It helps them to identfy informed and well considered development actions for themselves and often helps them to make more effective business choices.