With an advancing career, you climb the corporate ladder from being an employee to being a manager, and ultimately to a leadership position. But if you think being a leader, or even a manager for that matter, is a cakewalk, think again.
A blend of mental, physical and social stress is inevitable. This is where a team comes into play. However, managing a team of modern day employees who face many situations where they must take decisions without approvals demands that the modern day manager’s role must change accordingly.
Coach or Manager?
Managers are an essential part of the corporate command structure. They may not be involved in the production process directly, but they do help facilitate team productivity with minimum obstacles.
The question arises – why do teams need coaching more than managing? The answer to that is provided by a survey of professional coaches from UK and USA conducted by Harvard Business Review in 2009. Response from 48% of the participants suggests that the primary task of a coach is to ensure that the development potential of a team or an individual is not lost. Only 12% believe that the job of a coach is to address behavioral issues. That seems like a big bet to stop attrition?
However, attrition is not the only trigger for coaching. International best selling author Brian Tracy says, “management is transactional, leadership is transformational.” While the manager is expected to know what to do in any given situation, to lead a team, he must act as a coach – sharing strategic inputs and insights with minimal interference. The same HBR survey also points out that managers (22%) are the third largest initiators of coaching relationships, right after HR (29.5%) and professional coaches (28.8%). But is that enough to arrest attrition and ensure an individual’s professional development?
In a nutshell, the job of a coach is to –
- Observe more than assume
- Spend more time listening and asking questions than speaking and directing action
- Delve deeper into a problem to get to the root cause and eliminate that
- Supports the team members in developing their plans and achieving their goals
- Accepts responsibility of his team
While a professional coach may be able to assess your team after one session, as a manager who interacts with them on a daily basis, you are already placed in a position to assess each member much better. So when managers play the role of a coach, while you train your team to be the best, you are also acting as a trusted mentor to each individual. When they falter, you praise what you think they did right and suggest what they could tweak to do better the next time. You create engaged, empowered employees and prepare them for success, because when they succeed, you succeed as a manager.
Yes, managers are needed in times of crises to share insights and tell everyone how to navigate the team through the rough tides. But it is the coach who gets the upper hand through calmer tides to prepare the team for any eventuality. Manager as a coach rather than an autocrat, therefore, becomes the need of the hour when success is dependent on training, motivation and confidence levels of the entire team.
As the American author Napoleon Hill once said, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” So, perhaps now is the right time for you to get started on coaching your team.
Bringing Experience Back into the Learning Process
KNOLSKAPE is an award winning immersive gamification and simulation software company focusing on talent transformation. Using experiential learning products, we help organizations attract, grow and retain talent. Global Fortune 500 companies and Top-10 B-schools use KNOLSKAPE’s products and solutions for on-boarding, training, assessments and talent engagement.