Corporate coaching is growing in popularity as studies reveal that 70% of coachees show improved work performance, engagement, relationships, and communication skills. Additionally, 86% of businesses that hired a coach reported a strong return on investment from the experience.
Leaders are using coaching strategies to build resilience, fight burnout, strengthen communication skills, and flex the emotional intelligence muscles. Coaching builds the skills needed to effectively solve problems and take on new challenges.
It is unusual for a new leader to be comfortable using coaching strategies with their team. Coaching strategies are learned and strengthened through intention and practice. So where, as leaders, can we begin when it comes to coaching? Leaders can take some of these initial steps with their team to get a few strategies in place to model coaching behaviors and begin building a coaching mindset in their workplace.
Be a Partner, Not a Boss
Oftentimes, a hierarchical structure between the boss and the employee can lead to alienation, fear of failure, and a breakdown in communication. It can inhibit positive outcomes.
However, when you can create a team dynamic where everyone is working synergistically to achieve goals, then, trust is built, creativity thrives, calculated risks are taken, and conflict is overcome. Removing yourself as the “top dog” opens the door to this coaching relationship, where ideas are shared, and feedback is given with the distinct mission of meeting the goals.
We can establish this new relationship dynamic by empowering decision-making on your team, participating in non-managerial tasks, and asking for and being open to feedback.
Learn the Basics of Coaching
Coaching is a process where a positive goal is established along with a path to get there. The toolbox of the coach is the quality of their listening and the creativity of their questions. Listen more, a lot more, than you talk. Resist the temptation to be a problem solver. Instead, use these opportunities to strengthen their decision-making and problem-solving skills.
Use simple decision-making strategies to identify the goal, list options, and put an action plan in place. Throughout the process, listen actively and ask powerful questions that elicit responses from the coachee.
Practice Committed Non-Attachment
Be committed to helping the coachee reach their goals but know that these are not your goals and your life. The method and outcome may be different than it would be for you or someone else. Do not be attached to the process or outcome. Instead, be curious about new ideas and flexible when something does not go as planned. Have a healthy relationship with failure to see it as a lesson and opportunity.
Understand Coaching is Not Mentoring
There is a difference between coaching and mentoring. Coaching does occur in a mentoring relationship, but mentoring does not happen in coaching.
Jay Caputo, a seasoned educator, trainer, certified master coach, speaker, writer, and TTA consultant explains, “In coaching, the solutions almost entirely come from the coachee. The coach’s job is to listen, ask questions, provide a framework for decision-making, and empower the coachee to solve the problem.”
This is different from mentoring where instruction and training are offered. The transfer of knowledge should be the skill of decision-making, but not necessarily the solution to the challenge. This is a learning moment, so embrace it, and teach them to be accountable, and solve it themselves.
Model and Set an Expectation for Coaching Behaviors
Like any component of corporate culture, developing a culture of coaching should be driven from top-down and bottom-up. Like all aspects of culture-building, everyone’s input at all levels of the organization is important and necessary for buy-in.
Model effective coaching with your team. Sharpen your soft skills so you are capable of effectively communicating and resolving conflict. Lead empathetically and be a positive force that sets goals, rises to challenges, and bounces back after difficulties.
Take care of your mental well-being and encourage others to do the same to fight burnout and optimize performance. Help your team find a healthy work/life balance by offering flexibility with working locations and times, when possible. Be open to their goals and how they will achieve them.
Coaching Improves Outcomes
High-performing teams rely on the efficiency, productivity, and innovation abilities to outperform their competitors. In order to do this, many building blocks must be in place including resilience, communication skills, collaboration, and problem-solving. When one or more of these components is not in place, coaching can be used to level up a team and develop the skills needed for individuals.
Having coaching strategies in place in your organization can strengthen relationships and improve productivity. The investment is often surpassed by the results. Try these strategies for strengthening your coaching skills with your team.
For more information on the importance of cultivating a coaching mindset, listen to Jay Caputo on the Bring Out The Talent podcast: Leading with a Coaching Mindset in the Workplace.