Management Coaching Skills

Arguably, the most important thing to understand about management coaching is that it is a collaborative process. This means that the coach and the person being coached (referred to as the 'coachee' or the 'client') are working on creating changes together.

Collaborative Coaching

The coach does not explicitly provide direction from a position of superiority. A good coach assumes that the coachee knows more about their own situation than they do, placing the coachee in a better position to develop the insights and ideas needed to create the desired changes. This process is therefore different from management training.

Management Coaching

This type of relationship makes the responsibilities of both parties easier to understand:

• The coach is responsible for keeping the focus on a clearly defined goal, facilitating the coachee's thinking and delivering constructive feedback.
• The coachee is responsible for generating ideas and options, taking action to achieve the goal, and reporting progress.

Coaching Responsibilities

This is usually more difficult than it sounds and when these responsibilities are confused the coaching system tends to break down and the parties become frustrated and annoyed with one another.

The main skills required by the coach involve focusing on goals, active listening, asking non-leading questions, and giving non-judgmental feedback. All of these things require conscious effort and practice if they are to be done properly because they are to some extent the opposite of a manager's first instincts, which are:

• To fix problems as quickly as possible
• To identify the root cause of the problem as quickly as possible
• To take charge and give direction
• To make a judgment in order to 'reward or correct' behavior.

Coaching Skills versus Management Skills

One description of coaching is that it is a 'goal-focused conversation.' This means that even when the conversation begins with the coachee talking about a particular problem, the focus of the discussion should be quickly moved on to what a solution would look like and how it could be achieved. The coach will need to make a conscious effort not to assign blame for the problem and not to simply stipulate their preferred solution to it.

As a manager, restricting your actions to that of purely a facilitator can be difficult. This is especially true if you have a lot of expertise in the area being discussed because your overriding temptation is to simply tell someone how to do it.

However, the whole point of the exercise is to get the coachee to use their own creativity and initiative. If you tell them what to do, you not only take away a learning opportunity, you also reinforce the idea that they should come to you for guidance rather than working things out for themselves.

One of the functions of management is to reward good performance and correct poor performance. However, coaching often means avoiding pronouncing judgment in favor of giving specific, observational feedback that helps people examine their own performance and come up with a better approach in the future.

The challenge is to avoid putting the coachee on the defensive whilst drawing attention to the fact that they ought to think about how things could have been done differently, perhaps with a better outcome. This Coaching Agreement Template will help you to formalize the relationship between the coach and the coachee so that both individuals understand their responsibilities.

You may also be interested in:
Coaching Management Style | Differences Between Coaching and Training | Differences Between Coaching and Mentoring | Internal and External Coaches - Advantages and Disadvantages | Formal and Informal Coaching | Coaching Skills for Managers | Successful Coaching Skills.

Key Points

  • Coaching involves the coach and the coachee working together to create changes.
  • The main skills required by the coach involve focusing on goals, listening, asking non-leading questions, and giving non-judgmental feedback.
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