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Why Does Coaching Need to be a Manager’s Primary Job Function?

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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Organizations and responsibilities are rapidly evolving and undergoing constant change and disruption. Naturally, organizations across the world are focusing on upskilling and reskilling the workforce to meet the changing needs of today’s world of work. Keeping these shifts in mind, organizations are moving away from the annual performance reviews. A yearly conversation on performance is just not enough.

In a utopian world, managers would take this as an opportunity and lavish direct and real-time feedback to their team members in a format that would drive change. In reality, managers hardly coach as they are primarily focused on deliverables management and work allocation. 

According to an HR survey, managers are expected to spend approximately 36% of their time developing their teams. However, the actual time spent on the team and individual development is less than 9%!

The primary role of a manager is to drive the individual success of their team members. The key to distinguishing good managers and great ones is that the great ones do not spend any time bossing their team. They, instead, spend more time coaching their team. 

A Gallup survey discovered that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement across business units. Great managers engage with their teams at a more granular level. They help in building an environment where team members develop elevated levels of accountability towards individual and team performance.

Coaching has to become the primary job function for managers as disruption and change continue to influence the world of work. Some of the main reasons for this are:

Coaching is essential to reaching business goals

Most managers complain that they don’t have time to coach. They are too busy trying to meet KPIs and project deliverables. However, time becomes a problem only when you think that coaching is a ‘nice to have’ and not a ‘must have’.

In today’s dynamic business environment, a rising skills gap and the move to a hybrid work environment make manager-led coaching essential to help reach business goals. Closing the talent gap needs managers to understand and internalize that good resources are hard to find and retain. However, if you help people thrive, they will naturally gravitate toward you.

Coaching conversations are goal-driven. They are time-bound and specific. They help set clear expectations and offer feedback to improve and optimize individual strengths. Hence, it becomes an effective strategy to build the right skills and attitudes needed for today’s world of work. Coaching also helps the team members adjust and address the changing realities of the marketplace. Meeting business goals and targets then becomes the consequence of coaching.  

Career pathing needs coaching

Career pathing is one of the key roles of a manager. However, career pathing is often seen as an exercise where the manager and team members sit and identify where the career should transition to and leave it at that.

Career pathing does involve identifying goals. However, a goal without an action plan simply remains a wish.

The manager not only has to help the employee identify where their careers should move to; they also have to work on identifying ways to make that happen. Career pathing is all about developing clear action items that will bring change and help the individual move closer to the goal and build accountability. No one but the manager can help identify areas of improvement and build accountability by helping the individual evaluate hurdles and identifying reconciliations to move closer to their goal.

Managers need to see their roles as enablers of individual and team success. Their role is not simply to supervise production.

Coaching drives engagement

Employee engagement is not about sporadic exercises to make people happy, usually just before engagement surveys. Employees want deep, and meaningful engagement that gives them purpose and helps them derive meaning from their work. They want to know what makes them unique. And most importantly, they want relationships with managers that help them move to the next level.

Great performance comes from frequent, meaningful, and relevant conversations. It comes from building trusting and genuine relationships. None of this can be achieved using a directional form of leadership. 

It needs coaching since coaching gives managers clear insights into where the individual is on their journey, where they would like to go, and what are the best possible ways to get there.

Builds a culture of continuous learning

Coaching, unlike mentoring, is not about having long-drawn conversations. It is about having relevant and contextual conversations with the belief that the individual is capable of generating their own perfect answers. This approach is far more credible in driving continuous learning in a team and across an organization.

Manager-led coaching drives continuous learning. This is because creating a culture of continuous learning demands an individual understanding of why learning is important and how that learning benefits them.

By having clear and insightful coaching conversations, manager-led coaching can help organizations get insights into what people want and what they value. Manager-led coaching further ensures that all learning and development programs and training initiatives translate into actionable goals through continuous conversations that drive accountability.

Develop high-performing teams

Research shows that meaningful engagement with team members six hours a week can lead individual performance to increase by 29%. However, the quality of the conversation and its content plays a major role in inspiring affirmative action.

Manager-led coaching can be the silver bullet to developing high-performing individuals and building high-performing teams. Engaging with each team member as a coach, identifying specific, time-bound, achievable goals, and identifying pathways of improvement contribute toward building high-performing teams.

Instead of cracking the whip till goals are met, managers can weave development opportunities with performance coaching and bring clarity and strategy to goals. This allows the team members to perform to their best capabilities and enables them to remain on the path of continuous improvement. High-performing teams then emerge as a natural outcome of constant assessment, evaluation, and continuous action.

Manager-led coaching builds a healthy work environment that ensures that everyone within the team knows where they currently stand, where they need to go and how can they get there. They operate like GPS systems that help people reach the destination they desire by following the right route.

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered coaching platform can improve career pathing and enable manager-led coaching in your organization. 

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