How adept are you at mentoring colleagues and your team? When asked, many managers will respond, “Pretty good.” A Harvard Business Review study revealed that managers frequently overestimated their coaching prowess.
The term “coaching” is frequently overused in businesses and can refer to various activities, including instructing, advising, and training others. When executed effectively, the power of true mentoring at work may yield enormous benefits for all.
Why would we employ coaching at work, and what does it entail?
Coaching is just one end of a range of ways we may support others, be it with goal-setting, problem-solving, or learning something new. The most straightforward kind of assistance is to tell someone what to do; this is at the other extreme of the scale.
A wide range of unconsciously helpful methods fall between telling and coaching, including training, advising, proposing, directing, and instructing. By selecting any of these alternatives, you are assisting the other person in finding a solution to their problem. The primary distinction and advantage of coaching is that you help the other person in finding a solution independently.
The primary result of mentoring others is their personal development, maturation, and independence. Coaching is a crucial ability to master if you want your team to be more knowledgeable, solve problems, and generate new ideas.
When is the right time to coach?
The ability to teach, build resilience, and boost a team member’s confidence makes coaching so effective. Telling, recommending, and advising have their place, but knowing when to coach is a skill.
How, then, do you coach?
To train people, you must possess specific traits. The good news is that there is a lot you can learn to become an effective coach. A combination of talent, emotional intelligence, and sound judgment is required for effective coaching.
Engaging in active listening
As coaches, we must actively listen by focusing our entire attention. Not only do we pay attention to what someone is saying, but also to their tone, their body language, and the gaps in between. When we listen to someone, we learn much more about their situation than listen for pleasure. Additionally, active listening fosters empathy, an essential component of successful coaching.
Posing open-ended queries
The most common question types we employ in coaching are open-ended inquiries or questions that start with What, Where, How, When, Who, or Why. Asking open-ended questions helps the team members think about and thoroughly investigate the problem. Examine the distinctions between these two questions:
Have you had a conversation with your manager? And “With whom have you discussed this?”
In addition to being an implicit suggestion, the first question is closed and only accepts a yes or no response. The natural next step would be to ask, “Well, why don’t you speak to them and see what they say?” if the answer was no. This is one path that could lead to the answer.
Self-awareness is crucial. Unawareness hampers listening questioning and impacts team members negatively. Being mindful of our conversational approach is pivotal to effective coaching.
Self-management is vital, too. Coaching demands emotional clarity; thus, managing stress and emotions becomes imperative. Recognizing when coaching isn’t viable due to personal limitations is crucial for effective management.
Empathy is critical for building rapport. Understanding a coachee’s emotions fosters trust, ensuring open and honest conversations.
Judgment matters. Knowing when to coach is essential. Mentoring might be more fitting if a team member needs more expertise or confidence. Also, in urgent or policy-driven situations, coaching might not be feasible initially but can aid reflection post-resolution.
Any organizational skill set must include coaching, and as leaders, we can all benefit from knowing how to apply coaching in our daily interactions with teams and colleagues. Enrol in LBTC’s leadership training courses to learn more about coaching, its potential benefits for your business, and how leaders may hone their coaching abilities.