Developing Coaching Skills in Managers

So you want your managers to be good coaches to their direct reports and teams?  Where do you begin?  A good way to start would be to get them to attend a coaching workshop and then have follow-up coaching sessions where they are coached as well to help them apply what they have learned in the workshop.

The coaching workshops for managers provide the concepts and skills, and practice coaching sessions. These may focus on skills for overcoming individual and team performance problmes, and developing employee skills. The practice sessions promote gut level learning.  The follow-up coaching sessions is where they coach their direct reports and teams and get support and feedback from a professional executive coach.

Benefits of developing coaching skills in managers include fostering a positive coaching culture in the organization, building on strengths and developing new skills, increasing individual and team productivity, rekindling employee motivation, and creating promotable subordinates.

Depending on the goals of each manager to develop specifc coaching skills, maybe 8 to12 follow-up coaching sessions may be sufficient to help them move forward and achieve their goals.

Is Training Enough?

I’ve often been asked about what training people should take to learn a specific skill, for example, public speaking. My reply is that training alone is not enough and that more time and effort must be focused on applying and practicing what was learned. Learning a few critical things and applying them has more impact than learning a lot of things but not using these.

Developing yourself and the people you are responsible for is one key to your success as well as theirs. Enlightened leadership calls for investing in continuous personal and professional development of everyone in the organization. Often, the top of mind approach is sending people to some form of classroom training to learn about the concepts and skills they need to be more effective and productive on the job. Experience, however, has shown time and again that such training alone is not enough to achieve better performance on the job.

People need help and support to transfer what they have learned in the classroom to on-the-job situations. Questions you may want to consider asking yourself are: What opportunities are our people given at work to apply what they learned for the benefit of the organization? How do their managers or supervisors encourage and reinfore the use of what they have learned? What more can be done so that training investments can be optimized?

One approach for helping people apply what they have learned is the use of managerial and professional coaching in tandem with training initiatives. With someone encouraging them to practice what they’ve, and holding them accountable for results, the organization gets a higher return on its investment.