Sama eBook: Navigate the hidden costs of layoffs

Today, a coaching style of management is the competency that separates highly effective managers from average ones1.

A coaching style of management has been shown to unleash the team’s energy and steer them towards peak performance and innovation.

But what does it mean to have a coaching style of management? There are a few ways managers can do this:

Ask and listen
Asking questions and actively listening are at the heart of effective coaching conversations, so use these skills to complement your management style. Insightful and open-ended questions that start with “why”, “how” or “tell me more about(…)” can trigger critical thinking and problem solving skills. Actively listening to what the other person has to say with an open mind helps create deeper connections that invite frank discussions and creative thinking that can help uncover root causes of problems.

Let others put forward their own solution
As managers, it is often tempting to share expertise and provide solutions to a problem, and this can be very helpful when it’s sought from you. Having said this, people are more committed to their actions and feel accountable for the impact when they personally resonate with the action plan. The solution should come from them first.

Recognise and utilise strengths
People who use their strengths are 6 times more engaged, perform better and are less likely to leave2. One way managers can identify strengths is to ask their team members questions such as,“What was the best day at work you’ve had in the last few months?”. Managers can also give employees opportunities to “job craft” – redesign aspects of their work and projects to play to their strengths and interests.

Lead with empathy
The ability to understand and connect with people, and see from their perspective – empathy – is a superpower in coaching conversations and relationships. Empathy is one of the most important drivers of overall performance amongst managers3. One-to-one coaching can help enhance this skill. Through ongoing dialogue, feedback and accountability, coaching helps increase self-awareness and helps managers (and others) champion change in their teams and companies.

Adopting a coaching style of management helps increase collaboration and engagement between team members. Managers can help their teams flourish by supporting them in their learning and helping them develop competencies that aid them both at work as well as outside.

1Garvin, D.A., 2019. How Google sold its engineers on management. Harvard Business Review.
2Sorenson, S., 2020. How employees’ strengths make your company stronger. Gallup.
3Gentry, W., Weber, T. and Sadri, G., 2011. Empathy in the Workplace A Tool for Effective Leadership. [online] Cclinnovation.org.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted how people live and work. The sudden transition to remote working has been isolating and blurred the line between professional and personal life.

Working from home can mean working longer hours and navigating a new work-life balance. It has also limited valuable bonding time with colleagues. 

Leaders find themselves torn between being empathetic to their employees and increasing performance. They want to support the needs of their employees while making sure the business remains competitive in order to survive. 

Agile and resilient teams are the key differentiators between businesses that thrive and those that struggle to survive. Unfortunately, studies show that current levels of resilience and agility remain low across many businesses. Aon’s 2020 report – The Rising Resilient – showed that only 29% of employees are resilient in the UK. Korn Ferry’s 2015 report found that only 15% of executives are agile. To survive and be competitive, companies need to nurture these qualities.

Promote resilience

Resilience is the ability to cope and recover quickly from setbacks and move forward. The current forced isolation due to remote work has led to a significant decline in support and social connections. This, coupled with other uncertainties, has negatively impacted employee’s resilience levels. Having low levels of resilience is like having cracked foundations that could crumble at any time. Needless to say, this is risky for any company.

You promote resilience by helping people expand their perspectives and find new positive ways of looking at and dealing with problems. Research by psychologists Grant et.al. (2009) found that coaching significantly helps build resilience. By promoting a coaching culture, coaches can encourage employees to be less isolated and leverage the support of their organisational network. Coaching nurtures a positive attitude and effective coping mechanisms that help employees thrive, even in the face of challenges.

Build Agility

Agility is the flexibility to adapt to dynamic circumstances. Being agile has become the name of the game for both individuals and companies.  It determines the ability to survive. 

Encouraging agility within your team requires you to believe in and empower them. Empowered employees build a solutions driven mindset and make the most of their situation. This allows them to continuously adapt and prioritise people and interactions over processes. Having a coaching culture helps unlock an agile mindset and culture. With their executive coach, employees can discuss their challenges and roadblocks and find new solutions. 

Coaching utilises a range of approaches that helps employees address their challenges in real time and continuously evolve their ways of working. This improves productivity as employees are given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Having a coaching culture will help your company and team thrive.

Diversity has become a priority for many organisations. And if it is not, it should be.

In fact, around 69% of executives in Deloitte’s 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Insights survey cited diversity as a priority. This is because the benefits of having diverse teams are now well recognised. For instance, a study by Boston Consulting Group has shown diverse teams to have 19% higher revenue due to innovation.

To fully capture the benefits of having a diverse team, it is important for organisations to build and sustain a culture of inclusivity. Inclusion makes employees feel valued and engaged, which allows them to be more productive and innovative at work.

Inclusivity can be accomplished when team members and leaders are committed to building a culture that promotes diversity.  One-to-one professional coaching is a powerful way to support leaders who are promoting diversity, and for individuals to follow best practices at work whilst being authentic to themselves.

Leading With Awareness

Often leaders are aware of the benefits of diversity but struggle to find ways to create a truly inclusive culture. Developing leaders to have an inclusive mindset is important to unlock the potential of a diverse workforce. Coaching provides a safe and confidential space to allow them to explore this.

Executive coaching helps bring leaders’ conscious as well as unconscious biases to the forefront. By probing them to re-evaluate existing practices and organisational dynamics, one-to-one coaching can help leaders broaden their perspective.

Being inclusive sometimes requires being bold, taking the uncharted path rather than falling back on usual practices. Coaching encourages leaders to take responsibility for building and sustaining inclusive behaviours within their teams, by holding them accountable for their actions. Research by psychologists Ford et al. found that accountability played an important role in reducing biases of managers towards employees of ethnic minorities. Accountability promotes fairness by keeping biases in check.

Elevating Under-Represented Employees

The supportive and empowering nature of coaching can help overcome challenges faced by under-represented team members within an organisation. In addition to managing day-to-day organisational stress, these employees may also have a heightened sense of guardedness towards the biases they face at work. This leads to employees feeling an “emotional tax”, putting them at a risk of being disengaged or even leaving the organisation altogether. Reports show 40% of men and 36% of women from under-represented groups cite unfairness as their main reason for leaving.

Coaching can help team members feel supported by creating a trusting and safe space for discussion with an unbiased third party. One-to-one coaching allows employees of any level to truly be heard and develop solutions that are unique to their situation. Coaches work with employees and team members to help them build confidence, and identify and amplify their unique strengths to help accelerate their performance and career progression. 

Diverse teams can flourish when employees of all levels within the organisation proactively and collaboratively work on a culture of inclusion, where everyone feels comfortable enough to express their authentic selves. Coaching is an ongoing process which provides employees with a confidential, safe and supportive environment to freely explore their fears and challenges. Coaching supports long-term behavioural change, expanding an individual’s perspective, focusing on their strengths and embracing their uniqueness. This provides employees of all levels and backgrounds the tools to better navigate their organisation and career.

The benefits of having an engaged team is well recognised. But fostering engagement is difficult and varies depending on the individual and team’s personal needs and situations.

Certain job resources, such as fair compensation, are important for employees to feel engaged, and so are personal resources, which are internal drivers of each employee. Professional coaching can directly impact personal resources that affect employee engagement.

A professional coach works with the employee to help them develop the necessary tools, skills, knowledge and opportunities to meet their work or personal objectives. By working closely with the employee, coaching provides the space and support she/he needs to grow and develop within their role and workplace.

A few ways in which professional coaching enhances engagement:

Adaptation is survival

In today’s challenging and volatile business environment, where organizations and industries are undergoing rapid and frequent changes, one-to-one coaching can provide tailored developmental solutions to help employees deal effectively with uncertain and adverse events that they may face. This can be achieved by helping them develop a set of positive behavioral or psychological responses such as perseverance, coping and adaptation.

Through coaching, employees can develop their resilience, which helps them bounce back from stressful situations, conflicts or failures. Research has shown resilience to be associated with several positive behavioral outcomes such as organizational commitment, satisfaction and workplace happiness. Coaching also aids in building the employee’s personal resources such as self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem. These are linked to resilience and have been evidenced by research to foster engagement amongst employees.

Knowing where to focus

Advocates of positive psychology and coaching psychology have been in favour of focussing on strengths at work. According to the psychology of strengths, every individual has a set of “signature strengths” which enables her/him to perform consistently and near perfectly in various tasks or roles. Professional coaches help identify and develop these strengths through their open and honest communication with the employee.

Employees may also use tools such as personality measures and strength assessments as a first step in understanding and identifying objectively her/his strengths. The use of these tools help generate conversations about how the employee can make the best use of her/his strengths within their role. Coaches can also work with the employee to help them identify other opportunities available within the organization, where these strengths can be usefully applied.

Coaching is a process and the employee has to be open to growth and being challenged. It helps employees unlock their potential and gain clarity on their situation, resources and how to succeed in their goals. By equipping employees with the necessary personal resources to work effectively within their environment, as well as making them more aware of the existence and application of their strengths, coaching enables them to bring their best selves to work.

This makes work more meaningful and engagement can soar.