According to this study by the ICF, millennials do not want to be managed in the ‘traditional’ top down manner—they and other upcoming working generations prefer to be coached; i.e., involved in the process of their own management. It’s one reason coaching and the coaching industry has exploded—because coaches are skilled at helping individuals come to terms with, take responsibility for situations, and generate new and innovative solutions. If you become a manager who knows how to coach (and you’re able to create a coaching supportive culture), you’ll be an invaluable asset to your company because you’ll always have the tools to make your team successful and engaged.
So how do you start? If you’re a manager of people, start coaching by taking a step back in your 1:1 check ins with your team. The key difference between coaching and advising is that coaches assume that the person they’re engaging with is capable of solving their situation—so you must assume the same. Don’t be threatened by sharing the reins of responsibility and opportunity with your team member. Instead, make an effort to shift the focus of your conversations from problem solving to curiosity.
Ask open ended questions—what happened this week? What worked well? What didn’t? Why is that? How is that a problem for you? What ideas do you have for how to do things differently? It might feel unusual at first but the coaching process is designed to help the coachee discover ideas they may have otherwise dismissed. Some managers are afraid to put on the hat of coach because they think they’ll e responsible for all the amazing ideas that their team shares – but that’s not true! Allow the person generating ideas to be responsible for how they’re utilized, and recognize that you’re there to encourage them to greatness.
You can even practice tough conversations as coach. If I have to share constructive feedback with a client, it’s a coaching-wide best practice to ask them for permission – and the same works with team members. It helps individuals prepare. So start the conversation with something like “I have some insight that I’d like to share with you. I think it will help you —-. Are you open to hearing it?” When the individual says yes, you’ve created an immediate sense of buy in and they’re more likely to take your feedback seriously.
Work with a coach yourself and you’ll start to see how this process works. When you’re experiencing firsthand the stress management benefits and innovation that’s possible through coaching support, you’ll be eager to share that opportunity with your team—even if it feels unusual at first!
My name is Laura Weldy, and I’m a women’s leadership coach. I help women in the workplace become confident leaders through professional coaching, virtual coaching, small group masterminds and powerful courses. If you’re looking to become more successful and fulfilled at work, let’s talk! I’d love to help you build an action plan for success. Click here to apply for a free coaching consultation with me directly!