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Managers Who Coach: Think About Your Best Teacher

Posted Aug 25 2009 5:27pm

OK, so I'm trying every way possible to convince managers that coaching will help their own performance (nothing better than learning by teaching), their careers, their group's productivity, and their own sense of satisfaction.

Today's unabashed approach: Channel Your Best Teacher

Note: If it was Shirley MacLaine, you can stop reading this now and go here where Shirley would love to hear stories about your UFO sightings as well as Fur People. 

What Did Those Darned Good Teachers Do?

I'll bet that each of your best teachers somehow found a way to connect with your needs and interests. And they weren't all alike, with different styles and idiosyncrasies.

Doris-day-teacher's-pet3 But they all had one big thing in common:

The ability to reach you. And we all want to be reached.

What did they really do? The best teachers helped you discover, then celebrate it with you. That's a lot different than telling people to sit still, listen, take notes, memorize, then regurgitate it all on a test.

Your best teachers were coaches.

What's the Secret?

By its very nature, coaching is personal and tailored to the uniqueness of each student (employee); a prescription, if you will, for  healthy growth.

Coaches are teachers (managers) who know their material well and their employees even better. How do they do that? They understand an employee's grasp of a task or issue because they've watched, asked questions, and listened.

And employees will actually make it easy for you.

How do I know?

Two reasons:

1. I coach a lot. It's about diagnosis, clarity of goals, asking the probing questions and listening in order to understand. Once you finally understand something, that kind of clarity produces possibilities that seem to jump up and down yelling, "Choose me, choose me!"

2. Research. The folks at Blessing-White did an in-depth, global study on coaching that showed:

  • When managers think about coaching they worry about "having all the answers".
  • When employees think about being coached, they don't want advice. They want to be stretched and want help sorting through problems. Their most important criterion? It's simply a trusting, supporting relationship.

Every recent study of job-seekers shows that candidates and new hires want to learn and expect to be developed. If you want to make your organization or team a better, more desirable, more positive, and more productive place to work, start become the teacher (coach) who helped you be where you are today.

Your management legacy will be the result of your coaching commitment.

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