3 Uncommon Steps to Coach Better
Managers coach better when they have been coached well. What happens if they haven’t experienced good coaching? Unfortunately, research indicates that only 75% of managers do more managing of tasks than they do coaching. In addition, they only invest 18% of their time in people management activities. In other words, good coaching doesn’t happen often for anyone.
People learn best through experience, right? That’s a fundamental lesson we know to be true about humanity. Watch any young child, and you’ll see her observe others, imitating behavior until she feels as though she’s as competent as she wants to be in that particular task. Adults go through the same process. We see someone doing something that we want to learn – and we practice or get training on it, and then we make it our own. So, there’s essentially 3 parts to the process:
- Engage – we learn by watching, reading or listening to something, in order to determine if it’s skill, knowledge or a principle that will help us make a difference.
- Practice – we take whatever we engaged, and repeatedly imitate it.
- Inherit – by taking what someone else teaches or shares & making it our own through our learning process, it becomes less of an act and more of an art.
Learn to Coach Better from a Coach
That process is one of the main reasons why I believe hiring yourself a coach might be a good first step if you’re hoping to become one yourself. I’d even go as far as to suggest you ‘shop around’ a bit. Get a taste for the various types of coaching personalities, approaches and techniques that exist. You can learn what you like, determine what you don’t, and try it all on for size to find your own style. You see, chances are that your boss isn’t a good coach. If he or she is great! So seek out someone who is.
Empathy Leads You to Coach Better
Another reason I’d suggest finding your own coach is because it will help you to empathize with your employees and co-workers. You can’t know what it’s like if you haven’t sat on that side of the relationship. Empathy is the ability to understand how another feels, and to say it’s essential to good leadership and business is an understatement. It involves asking good questions, listening effectively and insightful feedback based on experience. Understanding how someone feels allows you to better answer their questions, console their concerns and exceed their expectations. Empathy is your way of saying to your employee, “this is about you, not me.” Empathy is the antithesis to selfishness and ego. These two things plague managers at all levels.
The final reason I recommend being coached by another before really coaching others is because it’s an act of humility. It’s our way of showing that we’re not above being helped. It’s our way of saying that we don’t have it all figured out. And although we’d all like to pretend we do. Sometimes we think it’s to our benefit to be that way. Yet, there’s something to be said about the person who’s willing to say, “I’m still learning, too.”
So, just think about it. A doctor is a better doctor when he understands his patient, and a teacher is a better teacher when he remembers what it was like to be a student. The experience, the empathy and the humility – help you to become a better coach.
Coaching well is paramount to a manager’s success. As John Maxwell said, “The best leaders are humble enough to realize their victories depend upon their people.”
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