The role of leaders or managers in any business continues to change. In the past, leaders were individuals with the answers to the problems facing a company, and they typically worked their way up through the corporate ranks.
The manager was more of a commander, overseeing the big picture and the small details. The manager created processes and set standards while also evaluating, critiquing, and developing employees that also knew the processes. Often managers took credit for the achievement of the team and spent most of their time micromanaging projects or day-to-day activities.
Managers today play a very different role in most organizations. This is partly a factor of the need for rapid evolution in how companies do business to stay competitive and partially a factor of the more mobile workforce. Today’s managers are effective when they are providing support and helping employees to harness their skills and talents to stay innovative and engaged in the workplace.
It is important to see the coaching role as a guide or a conduit for the team to discover more about themselves, to be present and focused, and to be challenged to learn more about their own performance.
Managers as coaches are not mentors, and they do not spend their time directly teaching skills, although this can be a part of the coaching process. Instead, the manager asks the questions that allow the employee to discover their talents and abilities and where they need to work to become better, more effective, or more knowledgeable.
The manager as coach needs to believe in the people on the team. He or she needs to allow the employee to have autonomy over the decisions while allowing them to explore the possibilities of how they can improve, take on new responsibilities, or determine how they can most effectively use their skills and talents.
Managers are more directly engaged with team members with the coaching model. They spend time talking, asking questions to help the employee think through options, and being nonjudgemental in listening to the answers. They focus on helping others to develop strategies to achieve their goals.
It is important to note that effective managers using the coaching leadership model do not have a laissez-faire attitude toward performance and productivity. Instead, by working directly to support the team members in developing their own goals or KPIs, the employees are motivated to meet or exceed those goals and are vested in being successful in their personal and professional growth.
Employees also feel supported, encouraged, and valued. Companies using this model tend to have higher employee retention rates and a more positive workplace culture and environment.