Businesses that have been thriving in the last decade focus on coaching. Essentially, by asking powerful questions, coaching is about elevating the competence of every person in your charge. As a result, the person you’re coaching finds their own path to excellence. It’s simple to explain but difficult to master.
If you open up your Linkedin feed, you will find a lot of chatter relating to the topic of coaching, and it’s getting more and more momentum. The reason for this growth is easy to understand. After the Great Recession, organizations did everything they could to make sure their employees developed professionally and thus increased their performance. So, naturally, coaching them to become better at their job was and still is a price worth paying that will pay dividends.
But how exactly can a coach help an employee?
Janet Lockhart-Jones, Ed.D., is the president and chief learning leader of Project Partners Consulting. She explains that with the help of coaching sessions, people can identify their strengths and opportunities and, of course, better understand themselves. Yet, that’s not all. Coaching can help teams act more as a whole and not as individual pieces.
But can’t a team leader do most of this work? Shouldn’t they really know each person they work with and provide the guidance they need?
In a Positive Psychology article, Gabriella Lancia, Ph.D., clarifies a very important aspect. She highlights the fact that the heart of effective coaching is asking the correct questions, such as “Where do you want to get to?,” “How will you get there?” or “How will you know you have arrived?” Furthermore, she emphasizes that, in the end, the coach has to bring the coachee around important topics by using no more than five questions. And the purpose of this succinct questionnaire is to help the employee acknowledge their past, present, and aspirations.
So with all these on the table, we cannot help but wonder - what if we would stop using employee survey apps in an ad-hoc fashion? What if, instead of getting people into survey fatigue loops, we stop and ask them just a few but powerful questions? What if we start to consider employee survey tools as a starting point for coaching?
Because let’s face it. Every powerful team has a powerful coach. Look at any sport you want, and you will agree with this statement. Therefore, how can a leader have the right authority in leading their teams if they are not also directly involved in coaching them to become better professionals? Well, they can’t. Not truly.
Thus, before wrapping this up, we want to add just a few more things. We believe that coaching is vital but has a bigger impact if the coach is also the team leader and not an external party. Because it is our firm belief that being a team leader is so much more than getting things done. It’s about understanding employees and helping them discover their full potential, both individually and as a team.
So, now let’s turn to you, the leader reading this article, and ask - what kind of leadership do you want to practice? Are you ready to be the coach your team really needs, or do you prefer to go on the easier path?
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