Reverse engineer a great manager-coach and we might quickly brainstorm hundreds of ideal traits, skills, and capabilities. The following Top 10 Coaching Tips for Managers list, while certainly not exhaustive, contains the DNA of those bosses who don’t just manage people, but instead help make their team members great while achieving significant business results.
- View coaching as a strategic priority, not an action to be crossed off a list. Dedicated managers/coaches understand that adapting to tomorrow’s business uncertainties requires building team members’ capacities today.
- Treat calendar real estate as the holy ground for business priorities. They prioritize their time and let their team know it. A good practice to follow is scheduling all your coaching 1:1s twelve months out. This loud act signals to the team that coaching and development is a key driver of performance.
- Use coaching models as a framework, not a cage. They have a proven coaching process but remain flexible to meet each unique team member’s motivational drivers and goals.
- See coaching as a collaborative partnership built on trust. Great coaches think and say “we.” Their actions communicate to team members that they have their best interests at heart. The old adage, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” sounds trite but remains true.
- Remember that complacency is the enemy. Effective managers/coaches swarm complacency and eradicate it like the disease it is. Expecting and demanding high performance incubates a culture that attracts and retains top talent.
- Model and demand a growth mindset. They reject any team member beliefs that talent alone— or even experience— creates enduring success. High-performing managers are driven and guided by Jack Welch’s management mantra:
“Change before you have to.”
- Stretch, not stress, their people. Effective managers/coaches leverage the performance power of good stress, known as The performance curve (Yerkes-Dodson Law) informs how you appropriately challenge each individual.
- Sharpen core coaching skill sets. Top managers/coaches ask better questions. They deepen their listening. They behave like a business “thinking partner and trusted advisor.” They provide candid and caring feedback. They co-craft SMART next action steps that emphasize growth and accountability.
- Never consider hope a strategy— inspect what you inspect. This is not micro-management! A culture of accountability is built on two fundamental, self-reinforcing processes: 1) Individuals continually making and keeping agreements, and, 2) Management holding themselves, and all team members, accountable to established agreements. At the end of the day trust is built on agreements.
- Make work fun but not everyone gets a trophy. Mangers/Coaches know that they must make regular time for relaxed team gatherings and to celebrate effort and results. They ensure that recognition and reward initiatives focus on individual and team performance.