A recent article on the Winnipeg Free Press website caught my eye. In “Coach ‘em up: It’s how managers develop multi-skilled, committed employees,” Barbara Bowes points out what best-practice organizations are doing to develop the talent and skills of their employees. Rather than sending high-performing employees to offsite trainings, they are using in-house learning initiatives and shifting the role of manager to coach to engage all employees. “In my view, training managers to be effective coaches within their organization is the best talent-management strategy in quite a while,” Bowes writes. “After all, it has been proven over and over that creating a culture where employees are engaged, inspired and rewarded results in high-performance organizational success.” Eureka! Through our Affirmative Leadership approach, we’ve seen firsthand how powerful the coaching process can be. It’s the simple difference between telling people what to do and showing them how to do better. Bowes goes a step further and offers a list of some of the key coaching skills that a manager must learn. For example:
- Coaching requires trust. Employees and coaches must engage in open communication, so coaches must avoid lecturing and truly listen.
- Coaching requires big-picture thinking. Coaches need to help employees see how they fit into the larger scheme and how they can align their new learning with the organization.
- Coaches are good self-managers. They are always learning and are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.