The profile of a 'Complete' Manager
The Complete Manager 6 of 14: Coaching
We're continuing our examination of the profile of a 'complete' manager - one who daily achieves Predictable Success® for herself, her team, and the organization she works for.
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the profile of a complete manager. We have seen that the foundation of a complete manager lies in their ability to be enhance their productivity. More specifically in the areas of; time management, priority management, crisis management and delegation.
Last week we began looking at the second group of key skills; Developing Others. We saw that the Complete Manager conducts consistent, on-going performance assessments with each member of their team.
(If you want to follow along the connections between the 14 characteristics, you can download a copy of the Complete Manager Brain Map - a pdf version of the graphic at top right).
You can track the series using this progress bar:
"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand." - Chinese Proverb
It's not enough simply to tell people they have to 'do better.' They need to be shown specifically how to do better - in a risk-free environment where they can practice without worrying about the price of failure.
Although you may not personally do the actual coaching, the Complete Manger ensures that each team member is given access to formal and informal coaching as needed - specifically to enhance performance issues arising out of the performance assessment process.
Your Challenge: To identify precisely what each one of your team members need to improve at, and ensure they receive appropriate coaching.
As a Complete Manager, there are 5 key steps to meeting this challenge.
1. The Complete Manager provides appropriate coaching opportunities for each team member in their core (functional) skills.
A key part of the Complete Manager's role is to provide on-the-job coaching for each member of their team. By coaching we mean focussing on the core functional skills your team member needs to succeed in their functional specialty, be it sales, accounting, marketing, biochemistry or whatever. (Later in the series, we'll take a closer look at mentoring, which focusses more on the team member's personal, rather than skills, development.
The Complete Manager will ensure they take the time with each team member to help them develop their functional skills.
2. The Complete Manager builds a coaching environment where team members can learn and make mistakes without retribution.
Ever watched kids playing on a sandy beach, or in a sandpit? It's great to watch them imagine and build all sorts of wonderful, interesting structures. For the kids, though, it often seems that the most enjoyable part is when they contemplate what they have built and decide that they can do better. The glee they take in destroying their creation - often in one fell swoop - and starting all over again is infectious, and makes you want to plop down and join right in with them.
The Complete Manager will create a 'sand-pit' environment for their team. A place where team members can experiment, learn, make mistakes and start over again. Without fear of retribution, or concern about consequences. Only in such a fear-free, risk-free environment will your team members learn to sharpen their tools and further improve their functional skills.
Now, this is hard work - it means planning coaching interactions in advance, finding relatively risk-free 'sandpits' in your business (like friendly, loyal customers who are glad to help, or other team members who will roleplay or otherwise assist). but the potential benefits are enormous.
3. The Complete Manager directs team members to other resources that can help with the development of their core skills.
My Dad was a driving instructor for most of his life, and he was often asked 'why should I pay you to teach my kids, when I can do it myself for free?' His long-practiced spiel went something like this:
When a teenager is learning to drive, they will often get a few lessons from their parents. This is good for learning the basics. Parents can usually get away with teaching their teenagers how to start the car, pull off, drive around the block a couple of times and then stop. It starts to get less useful, however, the more advanced the driver becomes. Even though they have been driving for years, the parents have developed their 'own way of doing things' and their own set of bad habits.
If the teenager continues to learn to drive from their parents, they often pick up those bad habits exhibited by their mom or dad. It's at this point a skilled, experienced driving instructor is needed to fill the gap in knowledge and skill that the eager instructor-parent is lacking.
Nowadays, driving instructors in the UK (where my Dad lives) are protected by legislation that forces teenagers to take lessons from certified instructors, and he has been able to retire his schtick, but the principle still applies:
The Complete Manger recognizes they have limited knowledge and resources. They can coach and train their team members in their functional skills up to a point - but at some point it becomes both prudent and economically sensible to direct the team members to other resources, in addition to their own one-on-one coaching.
The Complete Manager will identify internal and external resources that will help their team members in developing their functional skills, such as books, DVD's, online training, workshops and seminars.
Do you have such a list of resources? Why not start a simple list today of all the resources that you have found useful over the years, and start adding to it with recommendations from others?
4. The Complete Manager makes their team members available for training and other developmental opportunities.
There is little point in building a valuable bank of skills development resources if your team members never receive any actual benefit from them.
The Complete Manager will not only identify and steer their team toward appropriate developmental resources, she will also build an environment in which they are held accountable for actually availing of those training and developmental opportunities, and benefitting from them.
Make sure when you do recommend a resource to a team member, that you also agree what follow up you will be taking to ensure that they have in fact availed of that resource.
Why not have the team member report back in a future team meeting on, say, the top three action points they took from that recommended book, or from the last workshop they attended? And what about subsequent behavioral change? Can you, as the team member's manager, or their peers, report back in three months or so if they see an improvement in the specific skill area the book or workshop addressed?
Follow-up and accountability is essential if coaching is to be truly effective.
5. The Complete Manager encourages peer-to-peer coaching between team members.
The Complete Manager knows how and when to step aside in order to develop the peer-to-peer coaching muscle of the team.
Some of the best coaching within a team comes from other team members. They are, after all, facing the same or similar challenges on a day-to-day basis. The make-up of any team means that each member brings a different level of experience, degree of knowledge and set of skills. If one person on the team has a problem it is highly likely that another member has been through a similar situation or may have an innovative solution.
A second reason why peer-to-peer coaching is so valuable is that it rapidly scales the benefits that coaching provides - you, individually, only have so much 'bandwidth' to dedicate to coaching your team. Building a peer coaching environment multiplies the volume of coaching that can take place.
Finally, developing a peer coaching model means that many issues and problems get fixed without having to be routed through you, freeing up valuable time to work on those strategic issues you never seem to get around to.
Why not have your team members meet without you (even by phone), to share and discuss issues that they face? If they would feel awkward doing this, maybe you can facilitate one or two sessions to get them started - or maybe you have a team member who would be particularly good at doing so?
Either way, get your team started today in building a 'one-for-all, all-for-one' peer coaching environment, and watch the benefits roll in.
How are you doing?
How are you doing as a Complete Manager in the area of coaching? Use the questions below to diagnose yourself in each of the five areas we discussed above. Hey -why not print the questions oiut and ask your team members to score you? You might be surprised at the results!
Members: click here
to download a workbook containing these and other questions covering all 14 Complete Manager key skills
If two or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, consider getting help. If three or more answers are in the 'Never' or 'Sometimes' columns, don't consider not getting help!
Next up: In the next article, we'll move into the third key skill for Developing Others; Mentoring & 1-1's.
Do You Want to Be a Complete Manager?
Do You Want Your Team to Be Complete Managers?
Then pre-register for our upcoming Complete Manager Program - a distance learning program based on all 14 'Complete Manager' characteristics. The next program launches on August 1st.
There's no obligation whatsoever in pre-registering, and the Program is open to members and non-members alike (although members will receive a discount on the Program registration fee (which we haven't set yet). Just complete this simple form and hit 'Submit':
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