You know you should be adapting your management style to the needs of your different staff. And you know there are times when a coaching style just might be a bit more motivating than a ‘yell and tell’ approach.
But you’re a busy and stretched beyond capacity. It’s a constant bombardment of emails and phone calls and last minute requests for reports and new priorities that come out of nowhere. It’s easier for you to tell your staff what to do and how you want it done. That’s when you’re not simply doing the thing you should have delegated but which is far easier and quicker if you just do it.
The problem is, you’re caught in a vicious cycle of your own making. You’re getting frustrated and your belief that by doing stuff yourself or telling people what to do is faster is, in the long-run, going to cause you worse problems. Namely that your team isn’t learning, isn’t getting enough variety, become demotivated and in some instances, will leave.
Sound familiar? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. This is a common scenario which comes up in various workshops, such as the coaching-manager workshop I run. It’s also something I’ve experienced myself when I’ve been in busy operational management roles.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. It does require a bit of effort from you, mainly around rewiring your thinking but it’ll be worth it. Trust me.
Still not convinced? Then here are five reasons why using coaching styles as part of your management can pay dividends.
#1 A compassionate coaching style can bring out the best in your staff
A 2010 study by Richard Boyatzis and Anthony Jack looked at the impact on people when a compassionate coaching approach (focusing on building on strengths, discussing hopes and aspirations) was used compared to a critical coaching approach (focusing on fixing weaknesses). By reviewing brain scans, researchers found that using a more compassionate, positive approach in coaching lit up the parts of the brain related to visioning which subsequently motivates learning and behavioural change.
#2 A facilitative coaching style can help people better handle changes in the workplace
A study in China, involving 51 managers and 373 staff, looked at anxiety and the relationship with adaptive performance (understanding and adjusting to changes in the workplace) and the impact different coaching styles would have. They found that a facilitative style of coaching, where the coachee is encouraged to explore ideas and try things out, can enhance a person’s feelings of control.
#3 A developmental coaching style can help improve performance
An American study involving 328 salespeople reporting to 114 middle managers looked at the impact a developmental style of coaching could have on performance. Developmental coaching meant a continuous and regular interaction between the manager and employee where the manager gave constructive, developmental feedback. This, subsequently, helped the employee to overcome difficult problems or situations, and also provided opportunity to practice complex procedures. The researchers found that those managers who used a developmental coaching approach tended to have better sales performance across their teams. An unexpected finding in this study was that all the managers involved had received formal training in coaching, suggesting coaching behaviour is better learned through formal training rather than learning by observation.
#4 A coaching style can help increase learning when used in team sessions as well as one-to-one
A 2018 study by Makoto Matsuo, involving over 500 people across nearly 100 engineering team found, that managers who used a coaching style positively impacted team and individual learning. This particular study examined the impact of a coaching style when used one-on-one, as well as when it was used in a team setting to facilitate the sharing of lessons and knowledge.
#5 A coaching style can have a positive impact on team-level performance
A Finnish study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies examined the impact of a managerial coaching style on performance and work engagement. The study, involving nearly 900 people across a range of organisations, found that good quality managerial coaching was linked with good individual performance but there was an even stronger link between managerial coaching and team level performance.
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This is valuable advice. A one size fits all approach will not enable you to get the best out of your team. As a strong coaching advocate, I have seen firsthand how much motivating it is to approach feedback as a coached rather than dictatorial approach. It does take more time out of your day, but the return is increased productivity and morale.