4 solid tips to integrate coaching with your teams

Translated from French. Article published April 9th, 2019 on www.revuegestion.ca. Click here for the original French version.

 

Confronted with a labour shortage from an organizational perspective, where the working generation is thirsty for knowledge and is constantly seeking career advancement, do managers understand the true value of their role of as coaches to their teams?

 

The everyday reality is that a manager’s tasks are mostly dictated by organizational objectives and, therefore, by managing results and performance. What does this mean for employee skill development? When was the last time you accompanied your employee to a professional activity (i.e., a client meeting, a team meeting, etc.) with a view to coaching?

The roles and responsibilities of a manager

Managers must play a number of roles on a daily basis, often leaving little time for employee skill development. As a result, organizations routinely transfer the responsibility for skill development to Human Resources, which is provided through employee training in most cases. Subsequently, the challenge for both the employee and the organization is to capitalize on this investment on a day-to-day basis.

But why not share this responsibility and emphasize the importance of the manager’s role as coach on a daily basis? Due to the immediate supervisor’s proximity to their team members, they frequently interact with each employee, understand expectations and the skills being sought, and can provide coaching on a daily basis – knowing that they will be the first to reap the rewards!

Why should coaching be valued?

Here are some of the potential impacts provided by the manager-coach.

Maximizing your employees’ potential:
Sometimes we don’t appreciate the full potential of our employees, and thus, we don’t allow them to reach their highest level. During coaching sessions, by being in the thick of the action with your employees, a manager-coach will notice that they are able to contribute more than they thought and can help their employees work on their strengths, thereby developing their potential. The employee will feel valued and the organization will reap the rewards alongside the employee.

Accelerating employee growth: 
By coaching regularly, you not only increase the frequency of interventions, but also their quality. Twokeys to accelerating progress.

Delegating and empowering each level of management:
When an employee is unable to perform a task, it is often the immediate supervisor who must compensate. By coaching your employees, you will empower them so that you can more easily delegate tasks and free up time to invest in your work and your own advancement.

Employee engagement and retention: 
Given that recognition is one of the prime sources of employee engagement, coaching sessions help identify victories and, therefore, create opportunities for positive reinforcement. In addition, employees appreciate and feel valued when you invest (time or money) in them and it won’t hurt with retention!!!

Accelerating organizational performance:
By developing individual skills while coaching, we are giving ourselves the benefit of a skilled team. Since the organization is the sum of the individuals who work in it, a skilled team will only increase the organization’s overall performance.

How to allocate time for coaching and putting the role of coach into practice

Here are a few simple but effective tips – proven through years of coaching and consulting services – that will allow you to integrate your coaching role into your daily routine:

Time management:

  • Like any good activity, if it is not scheduled, it is unlikely to occur. We need to schedule time in our calendars to coach our employees.

Develop a progression plan and make the various stakeholders accountable:

  • Identify the skills to be developed and define coaching activities that will allow you to develop these skills.
  • Spread these activities out over time – along with deadlines – and you will start gaining momentum.

Create coaching activities:

  • Accompany your employees throughout their activities to observe them in action and provide feedback for your own coaching process after each session.
  • Conduct role-playing and/or simulation exercises with your employees to empower them in dealing with new situations in a lower-risk environment.

Take advantage of coaching opportunities at various moments:

  • Coaching doesn’t always have to be planned. When one of your employees comes to you for help, seize the opportunity and turn it into a coachable moment.
  • Turn some of your individual management meetings into coaching sessions.

The coaching approach is not limited to specific activities, it is also a state of being.

By integrating the role of coach into the manager’s responsibilities and regularly allocating time for coaching, your organization’s foundation will be more engaged and therefore more solid, but above all it will reach its potential. Prioritize and allocate time to develop your personnel on a daily basis; and it will benefit your organization, your employees and yourself.

 

Katherine Jean
Director of Operations at Proaction International

Combining performance and freedom

Translated from French. Article from Caroline Hardy, published February 25th, 2019 on www.revuegestion.ca. Click here for the original French version.

 

How far does freedom in management extend? As a human, manager and leader, do you give your teams enough freedom? And for yourself? Do you think about it every day? What are the potential impacts of greater organizational freedom for your business and for society in general?

 

Intervening and Influencing: a definition of freedom

According to economist and philosopher Amartya Sen (1998 Nobel Prize winner), freedom is – among other things – the ability to intervene and influence; a concept he calls “capabilities” (Sen, 2000). Intervening and influencing, two verbs, two behaviors that seem ancient given how basic they are. Yet in 2019, they are also extremely modern and applicable to organizations that evolve in a complex system where everything is intertwined.

The opportunities to make choices in relation to our responsibilities, as well as our aspirations and desires, are potential sources of inspiration in the workforce. There are a variety of impacts on performance related to freedom that we can observe on a daily basis: for example, greater decision-making capacity, increased curiosity about our environment, leading to greater creativity, and increased organizational mobilization. But how do we provide greater freedom in our organization? What elements can allow your teams and employees to influence and intervene?

Here are a few, from the simplest to the most complex, that may help you to initiate organizational dialogue: work hours and places, organizing work, company culture, priority management, employee selection, delivery dates, budget allocation, setting financial margins, organizational strategy, creation of new concepts, research and innovation.

Let us consider a specific case: if employees are allowed to manage their own work schedules, or even their own workplaces, they will opt for the most convenient times of the day, being times and places (whether noisy or not, whether in the office or not) where they are most productive and most likely to create and think in accordance with their own rhythm. This self-determination can increase performance for many.

Freedom, control and performance: the paradoxes

This sense of freedom, which gives wings to many, can also overwhelm others. One of the great organizational paradoxes (Pauchant & Mitroff, 2001) remains that of control vs. freedom; in other words, the importance attached to these two concepts in the “design” of our organizations.

These questions may lead you to think differently about the elements that shape your team’s performance: is your team performing better when the leaders exact control or when they provide greater freedom of choice and action? Is there a ratio, a scale, an optimal balance?

These questions, which seem unanswerable or at least have as many answers as there are people, demonstrate the relevance of understanding who we are as humans. Choosing to give more or less freedom/control to our teams is a strategic choice for
organizations. The choice, when made consciously, allows us to understand the expected and desired behaviors.

Furthermore, this paradox of freedom and control suggests that we can choose the stance that we will take on a daily basis. Great leaders often question themselves. Take a step back. Who are we? What are the needs of the people around us? And who do we want to become? These are the reflections and introspections that lead to greater performance.

Finally, freedom is the ability to choose who we are. Choosing our level of freedom, strategically choosing whether or not our organization is more in control and centralized or innovative, and chaotic. Humans are free to influence and intervene when it comes to the freedom we afford to our teams. Leaders are free to decide how performance will be sustained.

The possibilities

What if giving greater freedom helped accelerate business performance? Is freedom synonymous with fulfillment and well-being? By offering and proposing the freedom to think, choose and act, we welcome a world of possibilities for individuals and organizations.

 

Caroline Hardy
Director of Executive Coaching and Training Programs at Proaction International