The Manager Coach

One of my clients asked me recently if this was a passing phenomenon or a lasting change in management practice.  First, he indicated he didn’t understand what it was, didn’t understand why it was needed, and didn’t understand how it could be applied.  He was – as he expressed to me – confused.  (Maybe that is why I established Peer Advisory Groups?)

Another client indicated she wasn’t quite sure she was ready to buy into my observation about the value of managers as coaches – being trained in coaching practices to manage employees better.  After all, why should managers listen to employees, especially when the owners knew what needed to be done?

Until they had some employee issues…

Take for instance the challenge one client had with employees who would work when the owner was present, but slacked off when the owner left the premises.  Work was done according to “standards” with the owner present, but the “standards” were not followed when the owner left.

Opening The Door To Feedback

I asked the owner to have a chat with her employees that engaged the employees in the meaning of the work standards, why they were important for servicing customers, and whether or not the employees supported the standards.  What she found surprised her – the employees followed the standards, at times, because they were told they had to.

Many of the employees indicated they thought that there were less expensive, more effective ways to accomplish certain tasks.  Other employees did not think, based on customer comments, that the standards were valued by the customers.

Following Up With Implementation

With some coaching, the owner then asked her employees if they would be willing to suggest and implement changes to the standards to address their concerns.  Net result – the standards were modified and the issues disappeared.

Why Are These Recurring Management Challenges?

I continue to see these types of issues with clients: owners not understanding why their business grows significantly in the beginning, but, as it matures and they hire employees, why their instructions are not followed.

Many owners and managers, while responsible for managing others may not be trained to manage.  As one client advised: “I learned everything I know about managing people from the way I was managed.”  While his experience included being yelled and screamed at, I realize that his experience may not be the norm.  While not trained to manage they do try their best, based on what they know – or have experienced.

Engaging And Communicating

As a manager I learned that engaging employees in the development of solutions to workplace issues and problems helped these employees to take ownership of the solutions (I call it managing smart)  In many respects the processes used to engage employees, such as continuous process improvement, project management, or problem – solving all have, as a central assumption, the importance of each person’s unique perspective or point of view to a particular issue or problem.

Developing management coaching training programs to train owners and managers as manager coaches is borne from the belief that learning how to manage through coaching is effective in developing employee morale and in improving employee and business performance.

Developing owners and managers to be manager coaches involves understanding how people behave, what they value, and how they interact with others.  When an owner or manager learns the benefits of coaching (and learns how to coach) he understands the value of listening, asking, and analyzing.

Part of this process engages owners and their managers in understanding their own motivators, behaviors and talents as well as understanding how, by modifying their role to become a manager coach, they can improve the morale and performance of their employees and accelerate the performance of their business.

Does It Work?

A resounding yes!  In each instance where I have trained owners and managers as manager coaches there is a very positive correlation towards increased morale and business performance.  A review of other manager coaching training programs appears to yield similar results.

Who Does It Work Best For?

Owners and managers who…want to improve their employees, personal, and company performance.