It is no secret that leaders who manage teams today need to know how to motivate, develop and coach their people. Despite this fact, Bersin's recent research (November 2011) on the importance of coaching in organizations found that the number #1 challenge facing companies performance management capability is their leaders do not know how to coach. Furthermore, 57% or organizations report their leaders fail to coach their people even though those organizations that do leverage the importance of coaching skills for their people had 21% higher business results.
So if you haven't added this important skillset to your leader's toolkits, take heart. Coaching skills can be taught. The focus should be on 3 core skills:
- Ability to listen. And, we mean really listen, from a place of curiousity and not a place of judgment
- Ability to ask great open-ended questions
- Ability to balance the need for accountability from those you coach and on-going support for moving the action forward
Our experience with a recent VP of HR confirms this opportunity for more companies and their team leaders. The VP was struggling with one of her direct reports and had just attended our training on the skill of listening and asking questions. The direct report had a tendency to wait for her VP to tell her what to do. The VP realised that she was not asking the direct report questions for accountability, but instead was waiting to tell her what to do. For the first time, the VP sat down and walked the direct report through a scenario where she felt stuck in a totally different manner. She waited to truly hear the answers from her direct report. What she learned helped her ask the right question that led the direct report to her own answer. The VP was able to see the opportunity to continue to use coaching skills to develop the capability and talents of her direct report.
What will it take for your organization to implement a coaching skills program for team leaders?