So, the manager’s job is one requiring great range and versatility is it not? And we must be all things to all people all the time, fixing their problems, supporting their needs, managing their expectations, do we not? No – we do not!!!
It is so easy to fall into this trap as a manager – the fixer, the counsellor, the mediator – but it is a trap and once caught in it you will find it very difficult to unravel yourself from its ropes and chains. But there is a better way – for you and your staff. Coaching!
I am a trainer with the Directory of Social Change and I love being in the classroom imparting bits of advice and guidance on managing people, time management, effective communication, developing relationships. (Job description has the clause “this list is not exhaustive” – does yours have that?) Anyway, apart from anything else it’s great for my ego – sharing my wisdoms, providing guidance from my own ‘invaluable’ experience, giving advice on the best solution to problems. I am a flippin’ management guru – am I not? NO! Got some experience and as a trainer I love to share it but as far as guru’s are concerned my belief is that everybody’s best appointed guru is themselves. And this is the great thing about coaching! As a manager you are NOT the fixer, you are NOT the source of all solutions, you are NOT the best placed person to help people get out of their own way.
Many of the problems we/they encounter in our experience at work are set within ourselves – procrastination, self-doubt and lack of confidence, poor relationship management and so on. When someone tries to ‘manage’ us out of this problem it can often muddy the waters. It may come with good intention but when you share your experience of how you fixed it, or tell me what I should do about it, or give me best advice – there is a very good chance that I don’t own that action, may not have bought into the rationale for it, and probably won’t do what you suggest . Or – worse – because I don’t understand I will go the wrong way about it and cause myself more… procrastination, self-doubt, problem relationships, blah-di-blah-di-blah.
So, here’s the thing! (My CEO always says that and it is very convincing – so I am about to be convincing OK!!). Using a coaching approach as a manager means that you do support people – to solve their own problems, to unravel their own confusions and doubts, to gain their own perspective and to decide on and commit to their own action and strategies. In other words – to get out of their own way and move forward. The benefits for all are obvious! What’s not so obvious at this point, I concede, is the ‘how to’.
Come and join me at our Coaching for Performance course on 19 May and find out how to incorporate coaching into your management approach, what makes a great coaching conversation – and why your jigsaw isn’t any better than my jigsaw. And what’s all this about jigsaws anyway?