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5 Insights on Transforming Managers into Effective Coaches

5 Insights on Transforming Managers into Effective Coaches

Empathy in Leadership

Understanding and managing emotions is a part of teamwork that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Most of the time, managers who demonstrate empathy when handling emotional team matters see more success. This is true since empathy helps in recognizing people’s feelings and perspectives. Consequently, the previously unsaid but essential information might improve team communication and relations, supporting building healthy work environments. The implications that empathy in leadership has on this process and the corresponding outcomes can be described using the following examples.

Recognizing Emotional Cues

The best manager will figure out that there are abrupt changes in a team member’s mood and be able to do something to help. For example, if a team leader senses stressed out, she might help even something as small as altering the deadline time.

Facilitating Open Communication

Encouraging an open work environment where stress and emotional issues can be discussed is an essential practice for a leader. The perspective might be illustrated by an example of a tech company that began holding weekly check-ins . It created a much less judgmental atmosphere for the employees and resulted in a 30% drop in the first year’s turnover rate.

Building Stronger Team Connections

Empathy in management is also beneficial because it enables creating stronger emotional connections between team members. For example, the bonding might be achieved by undertaking several team-building exercises, such as all-hands meetings or a company-wide retreat with storytelling and in-depth discussion workshops.

Conflict Resolution

By understanding the perspectives, motivations, and resulting emotions of your team members, you can help two parties who are in conflict look at the situation objectively without any judgment or biases from either side. For example, to resolve the unresolvable conflict between two equally vital to the company’s head department employees, one of them had to understand their colleagues’ positions.

Driving Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

One of the largest international sales organizations in the world even conducted a survey in all their branches, comparing whether the teams led by more empathetic managers are happier than the others. The results showed that the former have 40% more satisfied employees.

Goal-Oriented Coaching

Goal-oriented coaching is an approach based on setting clear, measurable, and achievable goals for a team, such that every member of the team knows exactly what is expected of them . This approach not only provides clarity of direction but also motivates the team to perform at their best .

Setting SMART Goals

The first step of goal-oriented coaching is setting up SMART goals. As an example, a selling team leader can set a goal of increasing sales by 20% per quarter. Thus, for every member of the team, the goal will be to secure at least two new client contracts to reach this target. This a clear, and measurable objective to be achieved by every team.

Regular Progress Reviews

The second step is regular reviews of progress towards the team’s goals. However, these should not be just a formality and should become an opportunity to interact with every team member, inquire about difficulties in achieving their objectives, and adjust strategies if necessary. An example of a strategy can be bi-weekly sprints for a software development team to code a milestone to ensure regular feedback and organization of coding processes.

Providing Different Feedback

Goal-oriented coaching can only be effective upon providing regular and informative feedback. This will allow to learn what the individual members of a team do well and where they can improve. For example, after a project presentation, the manager can praise the team for their design ingenuity but suggest they added even more data into the future. The feedback in goal-oriented coaching should be immediate and specific to make it easy to act upon.

Empowering Individuals

Empowering individuals by giving them more responsibility for critical decisions in different situations can be one of the central techniques as a leader in goal-oriented coaching. It can serve as an example, such as when some employees visit sites and develop battle plans for achieving the objective set for every team. If people feel they make essential contributions to their work, it should increase their motivation and stimulate innovative thinking.

Recognizing Achievements

The last aspect is the rewarding of achieving goals by people working in these teams. The celebration of completing a step of a project for many teams increases team morale and motivation. Examples can be a team meeting thank you to a member of a team who went out of their way to set an objective or an outing to celebrate completion of a project milestone.

Feedback Mechanisms

Feedback mechanisms are fundamental to any continuous improvement strategy. Such mechanisms are designed to provide regular, specific, and actionable insights to employees, allowing a better alignment of their performance with organizational goals. Many tech and social companies have already adopted real-time feedback as a primary way of assessing and improving performance. Notably, Adobe was one of the first companies to abolish the annual performance review, replacing it with the “Check-In” system. This system focuses on an informal, more regular way of communication between managers and their employees, rather than a one-time formalized assessment. Since the introduction of real-time feedback, Adobe has reported outstanding results, including a 30% decrease in voluntary turnover rates.

Another type of feedback that proved to be very effective is the 360-degree feedback. Currently used by such companies as General Electric and Google, and this type of feedback implies a collection of quotes from an employee’s manager, their peers, and direct reports, generating a holistic appraisal of the worker’s performance. Recognized as a part of Google’s Project Oxygen, 360-degree feedback helped the company to identify eight key behaviors of the most effective managers at Google, providing a conceptual framework for leadership performance improvement.

Creating an Open Feedback Culture

It is essential to ensure an open feedback culture, where all employees feel safe and encouraged to express their thoughts and concerns. As an example, Salesforce cultivates the “Ohana Culture,” suggesting that every company’s team member is part of a family. The culture offers a supportive environment where every worker is explicitly invited to speak without fearing any consequences. V2MOM is a Salesforce sharing tool that helps teams to understand what they are trying to achieve and how they are going to do it .

Incorporating Feedback into Business Strategy

The best way to ensure the incorporation of feedback into business strategy is to build feedback loops that automatically adjust management decisions and priorities to emerging inputs. As an example, IBM uses predictive analytics to gather and analyze feedback from over 380,000 employees, with a capacity to adjust policies in almost real-time. It is also possible to use feedback loops integrated into tools and processes to ensure better outcomes.

Leveraging Technology for Feedback

Technology plays an essential role in gathering and processing feedback from employees. Nowadays, companies use a variety of tools that allow for a more effective way of managing feedback. For instance, the Pulse Surveys used by Deloitte permit managers to assess the mood in their teams quickly, frequently, and anonymously, enabling a more proactive management approach.

Encouraging Autonomy

Autonomy is one of the key motivators driving job satisfaction, higher productivity, and increased innovation. For instance, being known for its minimum management approach, google’s famous 20% rule allows employees to spend 20% of their time on a project they want to work on that is of great interest to them. Google’s famous successful products, like Gmail and Google News, became the result of this approach. Flat organizations are another example of fostering autonomy. Zappos adopted a holacracy, which eliminates a traditional authority system, meaning employees are on their own when making decisions typically reserved for higher-ups. Besides, holacracy helps employees feel a stronger sense of duty and accountability.

Challenges of Individual Autonomy

One of the biggest challenges is to keep autonomous work attuned to company performance. At the same time, Spotify organizes its employees in autonomous teams, referred to as “squads”, that are cross-functional and operate almost independently. Each squad focuses on a specific area of a product and works on planning, executing goals. This not only contributes to greater innovation but also helps to keep all company’s autonomous investments in line with the company’s goals.

Tools Fostering Autonomy

In order for the company to reap the benefits of an autonomous work force, it is important to provide employees with efficient tools . Project management tools, like Asana and Trello, provide a framework for employees to work simultaneously on different tasks while keeping the overall picture in mind. This includes tracking progress, setting deadlines, and facilitating communication.

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is the process that leads to innovative and more productive practices. A multi-billion consulting firm Deloitte, for example, offers high-level learning opportunities at what it calls the Deloitte University. Through the programs provided, employees are encouraged to continue learning; achieving a culture of learning is mentioned as one of the reasons the firm is on top the best employer list and its employees do not mind staying at the company for a longer period of time . Another strategy, especially for international companies, is using technology for learning. Online learning platforms offer a wide variety of technical and otherwise courses both to companies and the public. AT&T encourages its workers by signing them up for online courses in Digital Technology and Data Science].

Achieving the Connection

The continue growth must be linked to future career pathways. EY has created a process where their workers can earn a valuable badge for successfully attending in their skills . Moreover, those badges only are not any geometric forms; they are directly connected to the employee’s future at the EY. It makes learning desirable and establishes a connection within the company; benefits like a promotion and bonuses are then accessible for the diligent students.

Implementing Mentorship into the Learning System

On-the-job learning can be performed without a mentor, but personal experience often is the best teacher. Microsoft found a way to cherish its already widespread mentoring culture: not only the experience but also personal growth are the focuses all through the mentoring, with newer workers taught by the older ones on how best to develop one’s career at the firm.

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