Google's manager research revealed that one of the most important attributes of the highest scoring managers was that they were effective coaches. This is seen in other professions, as well. For example, in sports, many former athletes can tell stories about how a coach changed their life by identifying strengths, unlocking their potential, and encouraging them to persevere. You can help managers be effective coaches by encouraging them to focus on the individual needs of each team member. It is also important for managers to be able to flex their coaching styles - for example, the needs of individual team members may require them to be a “teaching” coach where the manager passes along an expertise to achieve something concrete, or a “facilitating coach” where the manager asks questions and listens instead of telling or giving answers.
Across the coaching continuum, here are some tips to share with your managers:
- Have regular 1:1s with your team member and be fully present and focused on the team member
- Be aware of your own mindset and that of the team member
- Practice active listening and ask open-ended questions to facilitate the team member’s own insight (questions that start with “what” and “how” encourage expansive thinking)
- Provide specific and timely feedback
- Balance positive (motivational) and negative (constructive) feedback and understand the unique strengths and development areas of each team member