Coaching Skills & Leaders as Coaches
Leaders should be able to have effective coaching conversations with the people they lead, but how and when should managers and other leadership team members be making best use of these coaching skills?
The idea of leaders becoming effective coaches is nothing new. In fact, it’s become incredibly fashionable for business leaders to take the position of a coach in order to educate their staff and help them manage their difficulties within the workplace.
An International Coach Federation (ICF) survey showed that executives and entrepreneurs who use leadership coaches can increase their net income by an average of 46%. In addition, 70% accepted business coaching as “very valuable” and there were numerous benefits in improving self-confidence, lowering feelings of anxiety, and improvement in personal satisfaction. If leaders are experiencing these benefits when being coached, imagine the benefits coaching could have for your wider staff.
What are coaching skills and how do you apply them to your workplace? Here’s a look at what it means to use coaching skills as a leader and how you can educate and motivate your team to create a more effective business.
What leaders can learn from coaches
Coaching skills help individuals perform better in the workplace. Your leaders can pick up excellent habits and lessons from coaching methodology, and by having access to coaches themselves. Two of the most popular approaches are:
To focus on nullifying weaknesses
To concentrate on amplifying strengths.
Both techniques easily translate to the idea of a leader driving their teams to perform better with proactive and positive feedback.
Reducing the effect of weaknesses that staff are facing
We’re all human and that means even your strongest performers will come to the workplace with some weaknesses. A few common work-related stress factors include deadlines, interpersonal relationships, staff management, and problem-solving. Understanding these challenges will help you mitigate some of these issues for your staff, leading to a happier, more productive team. When we think about some of the most common ways for workers to reduce stress— drinking more coffee, smoking, and even excessive alcohol consumption— it’s clear that this is especially important.
Coaching is a much safer and more effective alternative to leaving your staff to their own devices. Statistics provided by the Association for Talent Development show that 80% of the workforce who have experienced coaching say it positively impacts their work performance, productivity, communication skills, and even their well-being.
Leaders have many unique skills at their disposal to help staff negate their weaknesses. These include:
The ability to empathize. When you can see a staff member’s issues and understand from their perspective, it gives you a better understanding of how to solve their problems collaboratively and identify root causes.
Sincerity. An honest desire to help a staff member struggling with their role or a specific task shows that you are a genuine leader who cares.
Listening skills. Listening to and observing your staff is essential for understanding the day-to-day issues they face. Without lending a supportive ear, how will you be aware of any struggles your team is experiencing and how you can help?
Treating each employee as an individual. No two personalities are the same. Two members of the same team could approach a challenge in two totally different ways. A person-specific approach will let you tailor your coaching to foster each team member’s workplace growth and personal well-being.
Playing to an employee’s strengths
As a leader, part of your role is to always be boosting an employee’s strengths. Along with addressing weaknesses, strengths must be identified and used to their maximum potential to help employees find their role and purpose within the workforce.
Teams that focus on the strengths of their employees have a 12.5% increase in productivity compared to teams that don’t. This approach can also help employees have more fun. Your team is more likely to enjoy their roles if they are able to play to their strengths and use their skills in a team environment that makes them feel like they’re fulfilling a purpose made for them.
When it comes to coaching skills, leaders should focus on the following to play to the strengths of their team:
Communication is vital because it helps leaders understand the strengths of their team. If you don’t talk to your staff on a regular basis, how can you understand their preferences and optimal roles for them within your workforce?
Analytical skills are also key. These help you identify strengths based on performance metrics. Not every employee is aware of their talents or strengths, especially when compared to other members of the team. By looking at how well your individual members are performing, you can identify talented employees and coach them to take advantage of their strengths.
Coaching can also help employees build confidence. Even once you identify a talent, unlocking its full potential within your team can be a challenge. By offering your guidance, you’ll help staff build confidence in their skills which will turn them into exceptional employees.
Putting your coaching skills to use in the workplace can be tricky, especially when it comes to merging them with business as usual. Whether you’re focused on reducing weaknesses or amplifying strengths, effective communication and feedback should always be considered first and foremost. This will help you give and take constructive responses.
And last but not least, be flexible. Flexibility in your employee coaching will greatly improve the effectiveness of your team. It will build morale and establish a clear sense of leadership and direction. No matter how good your coaching skills are, they are useless if they cannot be applied in the correct context.
Take your team to the next level with Ezra’s world-class employee coaching, built to fit into today’s working life. We’ve redesigned leadership coaching for the modern age to help transform people through affordable, scalable and high-impact solutions, with equitable access through our world-class coaching app. Find out today how digital coaching could make a big difference to your organization.