The Coaching Effect Blog

Taking the Coach Mentality Over the Manager Mentality

Posted by Rochelle Carrington

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March 3, 2015

By Rochelle Carrington, CEO of Sandler Training

Understanding when to take a coaching approach over a managing mentality can make a huge difference in your effectiveness as a leader.

To be an effective leader you need to be both a coach and a manager, the key is to know when to wear which hat.

Managing:  When you're managing, you're often organizing a project, providing instructions, outlining the end goal for your business and you may find yourself being more directive and task-oriented.   

Coaching:  Coaching, on the other hand, is more developmental and geared toward helping someone solve a problem or issue.       You want to help your team members become better and more valuable individuals by mentoring and guiding them to where they need to go. Taking a coaching approach has been shown to be extremely beneficial for organizations.

A recent study was conducted on how coaching can help an organization achieve better business results. The results showed that organizations with upper - senior management leaders who effectively and frequently coached their employees improved their business results by 21% as compared to those who never coached employees.   

As you are coaching your employees, keep in mind five concepts for best results:

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood – attempt to understand the situation through the employee's eyes

  2. Taught not caught – ask questions so team members can see alternative strategies and discovers way to improve actions

  3. Discovery vs convincing – let the employee analyze the situation and identify areas for improvement

  4. Listen more than talk – allow the employee to talk so they can  “discover” the best course of action

  5. Stay positive, not judgmental 

The key to coaching is to ask questions and help your employee discover the answer themselves.  Although the questioning approach is far more effective than telling it is also more difficult to execute.  After all, in a time pressed world it is faster and easier to tell employees what you want them to do rather than guiding them to determine it themselves. 

So, what types of questions can you ask?  

  • What were you hoping to accomplish when you asked….?

  • What was your strategy when you….?

  • How could you have asked X question differently to get a different result?

The coaching approach also exhibits great role-modeling to the overall team. Working in collaboration with an individual to guide them in the right direction can rub off! Before you know it team members start to coach and help one another and everyone benefits through the teamwork. 

And this type of culture presents a more enjoyable work environment and the team's benefits map perfectly to the achievement of organizational goals.


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