Coaching managers elevates your organization
With the reorganization of the workplace and the introduction of hybrid and remote working for many organizations, changing employee priorities, increasing job changes and burnout, managers are more than never critical to organizational performance. Successful organizations have always depended on managers for engagement, retention and performance, but the best ones invest in coaching support for managers beyond the top of the organization.
“I think in many ways the role of the manager is more important than ever,” says Amy Lavoie, vice president of people success at Torch. In a traditional in-person work environment, executives and HR managers might take cues from their interactions in the office about how employees feel and function, but disconnecting in a more remote workplace has meant more responsibilities on the shoulders of managers. .
The extra reinforcement of company culture and values between meetings and other types of water cooler discussions has been replaced by digital add-ons like Slack and Zoom, all with the same job expectations. Instead of the office itself, managers are now the main link to the organization as a whole for most employees. They are responsible for conveying company values and culture to employees while acting as the primary means for leaders to understand their employees.
Zoom meetings are great for bringing people together from all over the world, but they miss out on many aspects of work, like the unsaid between meetings or the informal cues in office interactions that are “essential for learning” , explains Lavoie. “Do it [managing] work harder to really be able to support that person as a whole, which is a heightened employee expectation.
As new generations of workers enter the workforce prioritizing mental health and development opportunities, the value proposition of employees has changed for leaders. The increased demand for employee satisfaction, well-being and bonding is largely driven by the job demands of managers who often receive less support themselves.
If organizations rely on the same old support mechanisms, managers will be less equipped to handle the increased responsibilities and more likely to burn out than the employees they manage. Managers need more support as their work has become more demanding than ever. “Investing in managers’ relationships through coaching and mentoring can be a critical way to help sustain them,” says Lavoie.
Put me in, coach!
Ask anyone who’s been through coaching — traditionally those at the highest, executive levels — and they’ll talk about the transformational impact it’s had on them, Lavoie says. They often wish they had had it much earlier in their career, when their habits were more fluid and the standards hadn’t been hardened. “The things we need from a coach aren’t unique to the executive suite,” Lavoie said. “We need coaches for many different things that we navigate as professionals, whether you’re managing people or not.”
The increase in burnout that can be caused by feeling lonely while navigating critical life or career moments, such as moving into leadership for the first time or returning to work after having had a child, can be detrimental to teams and their subculture. Coaching can help identify blind spots and negative impacts of burnout that are avoidable and preventable.
With a task as complex as people management, “there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” says Lavoie. Each employee has their own complexity and nuances. For new and old managers, everyone has their own style, which can be difficult to adapt to virtual environments. Coaching or mentoring can significantly ease the pressure on managers and increase the productivity and performance of their teams.
Beyond books or virtual training courses that can offer outdated advice, coaching can benefit managers by discussing learning points with a trusted coach who understands the specific circumstances and challenges of management. “Coaching is an incredibly valuable relationship that can really help managers and, in some ways, [helps them] feel much more competent and aware of these difficult management situations,” says Lavoie.
If managers supplement some of their work with coaching, it can significantly improve their own performance. A 360-degree performance review, for example, when managers receive formal feedback from their teams, can be enhanced with coaching. While interpreting these assessments can be daunting, Lavoie says, when paired with a mentor or coach, they can “help you absorb it, help you contextualize it, and help you translate it into concrete steps”.
“Coaching and mentoring is a really amazing way to hold that mirror up and help people really understand what works for them and their style, and where they might have opportunities to grow or change,” adds Lavoie. . “Having this sounding board to talk about this is extremely important because it’s really difficult to solve these issues completely in your head.”
Stock up on work-o-nomics
One of the crucial aspects of successful coaching is the coaches’ commitment to their personal development. “If you’re more coachable yourself, you’re likely to have more empathy for the employee and are more likely to serve as a role model,” says Kevin Wilde, former director of learning at General Mills and founder of Flagship Consulting Group. . . “You don’t just train the skills, you have to do it yourself. And it unlocks a lot of benefits.
Managers who benefit from coaching and mentoring are more likely to invest in developing their team’s capabilities as part of their job, going beyond just making sure tasks get done . If simply getting things done is playing checkers, developing team mindset and ability, that’s playing chess, says Wilde. “Companies that do it well, their managers have the mentality that coaching is part of their job.”
Part of their job as a leader is to invest in the growth and success of their team. The best companies in terms of sales growth, customer satisfaction and profitability all tend to do more coaching, adds Wilde. “Research has shown that coaching improves motivation, retention, quality, team learning and job performance.”
With the growing demand from employees for more personalized learning and development experiences, coaching can help boost learning, especially in digital or hybrid environments. “One-size-fits-all training courses and digital learning courses are powerful, but they will generally have low uptake; in the Zoom world, they’re usually going to see a lot of multitasking,” says Lavoie. “The difference in the impact these types of investments can have when you pair them with a coach is just completely different.”
Successful organizations invest in developing their talent and leaders at all levels, but large-scale traditional coaching can quickly become expensive. Peer coaching and mentoring are inexpensive ways companies can invest in their people. Peer coaching and mentoring “can be a very powerful tool,” says Wilde. “Better companies do it. It’s smart to do, it’s inexpensive, and you can really amplify the benefits of coaching this way. »
With employees valuing unique approaches to training and development and employers seeing the positive impact they bring, coaching can create a positive feedback loop of increased benefits. In their data at Torch, teams with coached managers show 15% higher engagement than teams with uncoached managers, Lavoie says. “You really don’t get that kind of ROI on a lot of things in the HR space.” Understanding who we are, what drives our tendencies, and working to improve leadership from the top down has an immense impact on organizational success.
“When you have managers throughout your organization operating from a place of greater self-awareness, more competence, and more curiosity,” says Lavoie. “It has a massive impact on the organization because it ripples through every single person those people manage. When you can do this at scale, it’s incredibly valuable to an organization.”
Torch has found a successful coaching strategy across the organization by using a filter in his coaching that “supports the values and priorities of the organization,” says Lavoie. Whether it’s accelerating decision-making, reducing burnout, or increasing inclusion, coaches can help managers and teams meet their individual needs and integrate the larger goals of the organization.
Coaching then becomes a personalized and intentional way to extend organizational initiatives and values – beyond just mentioning it in a meeting or including it in a video. Tailored coaching and mentoring for managers can accelerate an organization’s overall goals.
The managers of tomorrow
Going forward, Wilde sees the shift of managers from a ‘command and control’ mode of operation to coaching themselves as something that will continue. As coaching increases in an organization and the more leaders develop a coachable development mindset, the more benefits it will have. Like championship-caliber players who are committed to their work by continually evolving, “if you’re a manager and you practice your own coaching skills, you learn to be vulnerable, you learn to have the confidence to try new things which if you were a superstar you might not worry so much,” says Wilde.
Democratizing coaching beyond leadership can be a powerful tool. Coaching can help facilitate feelings of belonging and engagement, making employees feel “more meaningfully connected to teams and peers as they grow and learn as individuals,” Lavoie says. . “Coaching not only helps us to be better employees for an organization, but [it helps] we return home to our families and communities after work in a better headspace, feeling more clarity, feeling more peace.
As Lavoie sees more and more organizations embracing coaching for managers and beyond, she says she sees the trend as one that will continue: “It’s such a perpetual and multiplicatively positive thing for the world. »