Effective managers do less, not more
Let's look at the core skills required to be an effective leader of people, then over the next few articles I will go a little deeper into how you can use those skills in the areas of difficulty already discussed in this series; and the effect it will have on your results and the organization around you.
Lets start with performance coaching as a key leadership skill.
Perhaps it would be good to clarify what I mean by coaching, as the term is often used by managers these days to refer to giving their people instructions or training in and on the job.
Coaching in the sense I am using it means taking a non-directive approach. Developing people by helping them with their thinking and enabling them to solve their own problems.
The simplest definition is:
Helping people to get:
Absolute clarity on where they are now
Absolute clarity in where they want to be in the future
and Absolute clarity on what they need to do differently to get from here to there.
If you have been exposed in any way to professional coaching, you will have heard about Coaching Models. There are many; 4 step, five step, seven step and with as complicated a bunch of acronyms as you could find anywhere.
Don’t worry, they are all the same, they just break the basic three steps down more to help beginners see the detail. Which you use is just a question of personal preference. (though please don't make the mistake of thinking they are supposed to be the actual structure of your conversation; more about that another time)
The main process of coaching is to make people think. When they think, new neural pathways are created in their brains. Previously unconnected data becomes connected, resulting in new ideas and ways to solve their problems.
If as a manager you have ever found yourself complaining that “I keep telling them and telling them, and they still don’t do it.” You are seeing the effect of being directive, rather than coaching. When people come up with their own idea of how to do something, it is the option they believe in, and are therefore committed to doing. And therefore they take ownership.
When you insist they do it your way, there is no ownership by them, and if it fails, it will be your fault.
Look out for more articles to help you discover the core skills of coaching.
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