Executive Coaching & Coach Training for Leaders

Managers - how to know if you’re actually coaching... or not

Coaching is a skill set that transforms managers into leaders of people. 

Coaching between a manager and their employees can be a formal process, taking place at set times with a set agenda, or it can be practiced in ‘coachable moments’. 

Most managers I come across say that coaching is part of their role but unfortunately most of the 'coaching' they do sits in the teaching or advising space. 

So I'm going to call out nine key behaviours of managers who lead with a coaching style so that you can decide whether you're actually coaching... or if you're doing something else that might be undermining the speed of your people development.

You know you're coaching when:

  1. Your mindset is to learn about your coachee and discover what they know - rather than teaching them what you know
  2. You're as interested in exploring as you are in solving
  3. You’re curious rather than directive
  4. You’re actively listening, rather than waiting to jump in and say your piece - which is the type of listening that most of us do!
  5. Your coachee is doing most of the talking - not you
  6. You’re asking questions that have the potential to open up new ways of thinking and possibility. One golden rule for coaches is to never ask a question that you know the answer to (doing so comes from a place of wanting to steer a coachee towards your predetermined outcome rather than allowing them the space to find their own way forward)
  7. You’re allowing your coachee to relate to their own experience. Too often I hear a manager, in the middle of a 'coaching' conversation, offer a solution along the lines of “I went through that exact same scenario. Here’s what I did....” One question I always ask of the manager is: What happens if they come up with a better idea than you did?
  8. You’re silent at the right times. You give your coachee time to think and process and the space to speak fully. Often the best stuff comes out if we can just give a bit more space than we normally would. 
  9. The coachee is owning accountability for following through on any actions - and choosing the best means of accountability for them. Rather than being accountable to you, they are accountable to themselves.

So, are you actually coaching your people? If not, what's getting in the way?

Sam PattersonComment