Managers who effectively harness coaching skills reap multiple benefits. Their employees are more committed, willing to put in greater effort and are less likely to leave.

Coaching skills have a huge impact and significantly affect people and profits within organizations committed to training managers to use coaching skills to guide performance and develop employees.

Most managers have had some training in coaching people for high performance. Ten years ago, 73% of managers received some form of training, according to BlessingWhite, a global leadership-development firm. But the firm’s 2015 report reveals that employees who receive regular feedback through coaching conversations are in the minority.

Why Don’t More Managers Coach?

Managers usually cite lack of time as the main excuse for failing to coach employees, but the real reasons may be different, note John H. Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett in The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow (McGraw-Hill Education, 2010).

Three common barriers stand in the way:

  1. Misconceptions of what coaching is
  2. A desire to avoid difficult conversations
  3. No clear game plan for initiating and framing coaching conversations

The problem is, once managers return to the office after training, many revert to old habits. Instead of taking time to ask questions and find solutions, they find it easier to explain and provide instructions. Finding a quick fix and moving on is their default response.

I’ve seen this happen in the organizations where I consult. In spite of training in coaching skills, managers don’t really use them like they are designed. Task updates are not really coaching conversations, even though many one-on-one conversations may focus on project status updates.

Think about it. If you define a coaching conversation as one that expands an employee’s awareness, thinking, and capability, then task updates that don’t do that aren’t coaching conversations.

Let me ask you this: as a manager, how often are you focusing on expanding awareness, thinking and capability when you have conversations with your people? What about your conversations with your own boss? Are you having good coaching conversations?

As always, I’d love to hear your perspectives. You can contact me here or on LinkedIn.

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