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A Coach Approach: Create A Bright Future, Empower People

Today’s organizations are faced with an engagement crisis that can only be fixed by developing and energizing employees. Above all, recognize we all want and need to feel like we are making a difference.  Many top leaders realize this need and are taking a coach approach leadership style.

Undoubtedly, taking the time to coach your people means you care about them. Begin by developing a growth mindset allowing employees the opportunity to learn, grow, experiment, and change ensuring psychological safety. As a leader, your goal is to look for a person’s strengths and to align those strengths with organizational needs.  When a leader encourages and supports, employees gain confidence allowing them to achieve more than they thought possible. Finally, a coach gives honest, compassionate feedback with the intent of building the employee up, not tearing them down.

Telling vs. Mentoring vs. Coaching

Telling is giving direction only and is an integral component of the traditional command-and-control leadership model. 

Mentoring means using your knowledge and experience to guide and nurture another through a process.

Coaching is a collaborative effort to facilitate change and growth in another person. It is not about telling someone what to do, talking about your own experiences, or giving advice. 

In general, the coach approach begins with training your managers to understand how they can better connect with their personnel to find common ground even when they do not share the same beliefs. Teach them how to ask clear and specific questions and provide feedback appropriately without raising the other person’s defenses. Start managers off by encouraging them to practice coaching conversations in a peer setting to get comfortable before coaching employees.

On the whole, by encouraging more frequent conversations between employees, you will improve communication companywide. Everyone will begin to trust each other and share ideas. In addition, a team spirit will be built giving you a competitive advantage and retaining your top talent.

Types of Coaching

Executive coaching is generally a company-sponsored perk for top high potential employees to work with an external coach.  In the 1980s and 90s, executive coaching was used to primarily “fix” a leader who was underperforming.  Today, the goal is to help the leader build a powerful vision of the future.

Manager-to-employee coaching is where you as the leader can empower your people through coaching conversations. These conversations facilitate a work environment where your people will recognize that you care about them not just their performance.  This type of environment nurtures relationships with your personnel which resonates in positive emotion, empathy, and mutual respect. It’s what builds a great team.  Do not be afraid to talk about or inquire as to what is going on in someone’s personal life.  Once you learn the interests, likes, and dislikes of your team members, you will know what makes them tick.  Actually, getting to know your employees will always make you a better leader.

Peer coaching is where two people of equal status work together to sharpen one another’s skills.  The process is confidential, so the advice is straightforward with the goal being advancement within the organization.  Companies that use peer coaching state they see higher employee engagement and develop the team’s camaraderie.

In conclusion, I have found a coach approach leadership style suits my organization. Personnel work together to advance company goals. When the market requires change, we are able to be agile and adjust our course quickly since everyone is empowered to make decisions using our core values and mission as their guiding light.

Do you use a coach approach leadership style within your workplace?

For more information on a coach approach, visit https://hbr.org/2019/09/coaching-for-change.

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