Coaching Conversations In The Workplace

Coaching Conversations In The Workplace - Guest Blogger Louise Wembridge

In our recent work with RedEye, it reconnected me with the importance of managers learning how to have coaching conversations. Coaching is often thought of as a ‘formal’ meeting that takes place between a Coach and an individual. This clearly can be the case in many organisations who employ either external Executive Coaches or train Managers internally as Coaches.
However for those organisations wanting to develop more of a coaching culture, or wanting to support individuals to develop and grow then equipping Managers with the skills to use on a day to day either formal or informal basis can be really powerful.

Excellent training allowing for practice and learning

The benefits of Managers adopting a more non directive rather than directive style are numerous: developing direct reports to think through issues for themselves rather than waiting to be told; giving them more ownership and responsibly; helping them feel valued; building their confidence in their abilities; helping them to fulfil their potential; building capability within the organisation and succession planning.

This is not to say that a coaching approach is always appropriate – sometimes a more directive approach is necessary e.g. with a direct report who is inexperienced or underperforming. However many manager’s ‘default’ style is more directive and they are therefore missing out on the opportunity to enable employees to operate at a higher level, which in turn will positively impact on the role’s they’re doing.

Coaching is about fulfilling potential, maximising performance not only of individuals but of the whole organisation. So there is also a real commercial purpose in encouraging managers to adopt more of a coaching mindset. The managers at RedEye, where creativity and stimulating new ideas is really important in helping them keep a head in the digital world, could see that their new coaching skills were going to help them create enviroments with their teams that would stimulate creative thinking, a real commercial benefit.

Useful interactive session with time for coaching and valuable feedback

Opportunities for coaching conversations are numerous – 1-1’s, team meetings, Appraisals/Development review meeting. However also in more informal settings – general conversations, phonecalls.

In terms of putting this into practice, managers clearly need to have and/or develop a number of skills to be able to be able to have coching style conversations. Among others, the ability to build trust and rapport; to really listen; to ask the right questions; to empathise; to support and challenge. Some managers may already have these skills, however might not be effectively tapping into them. Others need more support in developing and using them.

We have worked with a number of organisations in training their Managers to feel confident in using these skills within their roles. With a a practical approach that supports individuals to explore and practice these skills in a safe space, building confidence and capability, so they can go back in to the workplace feeling able to use these skills straight away.

Left me feeling buoyant and positive


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