Who is your best manager? The person on your team you know you can trust to get the job done no matter what. They are the superstars in an organization. We brag about them to our colleagues. When we’re discussing the challenges of finding and hiring great people, we ask ourselves why it’s so hard to find more leaders like them. Is it actually possible for every manager to be your best manager? With the help of coaching it is.
Years ago when I was first learning how to coach a team, I found myself getting quite frustrated. Managing different personalities, learning communication styles and becoming familiar with each person’s work process is not easy. While I have had my share of challenges managing teams, one interaction stands out in my mind as a real turning point.
I was sitting in my office frantically working on a deadline when a young woman from my team stomped through the door. She pulled up a chair, threw two documents on my desk, and in an uninterested tone asked, “What changes do you want on these?” It was all overly dramatic. I was so irritated, but I tried to remain calm as I contemplated what to say. Unfortunately, I could not blurt out one of my many thoughts racing through my mind. I mean, was she serious? Did she actually think this was acceptable behavior?
While I was frustrated by her actions, I was even more upset by her lack of caring. Clearly, she was not engaged in the work she was doing. She simply wanted to complete this task and move on to the next project. I felt defeated. Not because of her, rather, my ineffectiveness as a leader. What was I doing to elicit this type of behavior from one of my team members?
Instead of accepting this situation, I turned it into a coachable moment. I picked up the papers in front of me and immediately saw errors. The design was also not as creative as I knew it could be. This woman was talented and this wasn’t her best work. I looked up at her and said, “What do YOU think we should change?” What followed was a very interactive discussion about her attitude, her talents, and the importance of the role she played in the organization. From that point on, she fully owned her work. She was empowered to make decisions and take more initiative. Needless to say, her days of stomping into offices were over. It was such a pleasure working with her and helping her grow.
People want to be good at their job. They want to be heard and valued. They want to know what’s expected of them and how they can improve. As leaders, it is our responsibility to coach them to become the-best-version-of-themselves.
In Matthew Kelly’s latest book, The Culture Solution, he shares six principles to building a dynamic culture so people love coming to work and accomplishing great things together. Number six is to grow your people by creating a coaching culture. Doing this will ensure you and your team become your very best.
What is one thing you can start doing today to create a coaching culture? Make every interaction with each individual on your team count. Instead of allowing someone’s problematic actions to continue, define the problem and coach them to get better. When someone on your team has a big win, help them celebrate. When our team feels supported, they become fully engaged in their role. They are committed to doing their best work and strive to get better.
Every manager can be your best manager if you decide to coach them. It’s equally important that you are also coachable. Great leaders love coaching. They take ownership in the fact that it is their responsibility to get better every day if they expect their team to do the same. We can help you become a great coach so you are fully equipped to create a coaching culture throughout your entire organization.