Good coaching is also good leadership.
Being a good coach needs the same skills that are needed to be a good leader. Some of these skills are:
1. Keen powers of observation
2. Sensible judgment
3. Ability to take appropriate action.
Both leaders and managers try to accomplish the same goal - to make most of the resources of the organization. However not all leaders are good coaches. A good coach knows the relevant questions to ask when evaluating a situation, or assessing problem behaviors.
According to Antonioni David, coaching is a partnership between a leader and an individual who reports directly to him or her, in which the coach focuses on helping the director report optimize his or her potential.
Coaching involves a non-judgmental style of inquiry and teaching, and aims at helping people improve their abilities, knowledge and skills. To e a successful coach, a leader should adopt a non-fault finding style and identify the areas for improvement in people and give them the right feedback. Giving feedback may not be as easy as it sounds. It needs courage to be engaged in a candid and caring conversation when giving feedback. In a survey, leaders identified giving constructive feedback as the most difficult part of coaching. 87% of the leaders offering constructive feedback encountered defensive behavior from their direct reports. Thus, leaders need to build their coaching skills through training and practice.
Coaching is of two types
1. Performance management coaching and
2. Performance enhancement coaching.
Performance management coaching comes into picture when the leader finds that there is a gap between his subordinate's actual and expected performance. In such a situation, leader takes the initiative and tries to bring in the necessary corrections in his subordinate's behavior through
coaching. Performance enhancement coaching takes place when a subordinate is performing up to the expectations and wants to acquire new skills to perform at higher levels. Here, either the coach or the subordinate can initiate
the coaching process. It has been observed that most leaders spend 80% of their coaching time on performance management alone.
For coaching to be effective it has to take place regularly. Also coaching conversations should be brief - normally of 5 to 15 minutes duration. Brief conversations have more impact and also allow a leader to spend his time appropriately on other high-priority tasks.
The process of coaching involves the following steps:
1. Making observations
2. Conducting an analysis
3. Giving feedback
4. Engaging in inquiry
5. Setting goals
6. Planning action steps
7. Recognizing improvements
Though leaders are expected to play the role of coach, this does not always happen. Some leaders spend much less time in coaching their people than necessary. These leaders are fearful of taking on too much responsibility, playing the role of psychologist, and finally overstepping personal boundaries.
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Acknowledgement: Book on Leadership & Change Management by ICFAI University