A common problem I encounter is business managers who find it difficult to both manage and coach their team effectively. This is because the role of manager and the role of a business coach are completely different.
A manager is responsible for controlling or administering an organisation or group of staff. Often you will hear people refer to their manager as the ‘boss’, the person they can look up to and someone they may perceive as being on a higher lever than them.
A business coach works with individuals to help them come up with their plan of action to achieve their objectives and goals. In coaching it is the person being coached that it at the centre of the process. They have to take they lead, think about what it is they want to achieve and come up with their own solutions.
Often it is uncomfortable for someone to be coached by their ‘boss’, as they may feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about being the centre of attention. From an employee’s perspective, their manager is the person that guides, instructs and gives them tasks to do.
If one minute they are being given instructions and the next they are being asked to solve their own problems, this can be extremely confusing. The roles become blurred and often the coaching process ends up being a frustrating experience for both parties.
The way for a manager to overcome this is by keeping the two roles separate.
- Always designate a specific time for a coaching session, keep to that time and let the person you are coaching know when you have finished the coaching session.
- Asking someone to take responsibility for their actions can make them feel uneasy and intimidated, so your job is to help the person you are coaching feel comfortable.
- Conduct the coaching session away from your office. I often use hotel reception areas or coffee shops, the coaching process works far better when people are relaxed and informal.
- Introduce the coaching process as a tool for their continued development; the aim is to help them become even better at what they are doing already.
- Always mention that this is a confidential process.
- Set the scene by saying that during the coaching process you are not their manager, you are now their coach. Keep to your role of coach and do not offer solutions or answers during the coaching process. Your job is to facilitate the answers from the person you are coaching, keep focusing questions back to them.
- Always finish with a plan of action, including what specifically has to be achieved by when and a date set for the next coaching session.
As long as you clearly keep the two roles separate, people will quickly get to know when you are being their manager and when you are being their coach and will respond accordingly.