How Does Managing by Coaching Really Work?

The phrases “managing by coaching” and “manager as coach” describe a management practice involving the application of various coaching principles to the management of employees and employee groups.Managing by coaching is a more practical, real-world implementation of the phrase “managing by walking around,” since, to me, the walking around part did not give the employees or the manager much opportunity to chat.At its heart (and soul), managing by coaching is about the manager talking with his employees to understand what motivates and excites them and how the manager and the employees can develop a continual dialogue on a variety of work related topics.It might be that the manager has an idea to improve a specific work process. He may not know exactly what is needed so he engages his employees in a problem-solving discussion. He enters the dialogue with his employees confident that, collectively, his employees will develop a solution and will be able to implement it. He understands his role to be that of the facilitator, the encourager, the coach.The manager may have the talents to facilitate the process review or he may have a team member who has been trained in that process. The central element here is that the manager understands it is more his role to encourage dialogue, problem solving and discussion. He understands he is more effective as a manager by encouraging his employees to arrive at solutions.I have worked with quite a few managers who were not certain, at first, that they could perform this managing by coaching role very well. Certainly they could learn how to manage, create a productive work environment, or establish effective motivating procedures. But they were a bit uncertain about the coaching role. They also sensed that they were missing a better understanding of the management role they occupied.When I see this uncertainty it is important to quantify its cause. I have found that diagnostic profiles assist managers in understanding what their strengths and talents are in motivating their employees better. These profiles help managers to understand not only their own behavioral preferences and drivers; they also help the managers to understand how to assess their employees’ behavioral preferences and drivers.It is important, as part of a managing by coaching program to help the managers and their employees become more success focused by training the manager to learn successful management techniques, successful coaching techniques, and the effective use of appropriate diagnostic profiles.The use of formal authority to lead and manage others does not yield effective results over time. Managing by coaching is effective at motivating and managing employees to excel.

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