Managers can achieve great results through coaching

Most managers want to do right by their people – grow them, develop them and help them perform at a higher level. The vast majority of those managers believe that they can get those great results through coaching.

Despite the good intentions of managers, inconsistent or unskilled coaching can be a serious impediment to developing high performers.  There are some significant impediments and obstacles which can prevent achieving good results through coaching.

Some of the most significant impediments and obstacles to great coaching are as follows:

1. Fixed mindset

Managers can fall into the trap of going into the coaching relationship with a fixed mindset.  This is not usually conscious behaviour and can be as a result of unconscious bias.  This can be particularly prevalent when dealing with an underperformer.  At the back of their mind managers can be thinking “I have to do this, but I don’t really think that anything will change.”  Managers who get great results through coaching start the relationship understanding that anything and everything is possible and the outcome will be positive.

Achieving an open mind may well need an advanced level of emotional intelligence.  Emptying of one’s mind of any preconceived ideas before entering each session helps a coach to remain open and fully engaged with the coachee.

2. The coachee is closed and negative

Most coaching relationships ought to be by consent and to that extent, there is an expectation the coachee will enter the relationship constructively.  However, for a manager as a coach, the coaching relationship with their employee may exist as a result of performance policies or fixed appraisal/feedback loops.  As a result, the interaction might be more forced than in traditional coaching contracts.

If a coachee is closed and negative then trying to force a more positive type of attitude may only make matters worse.  Empathy and understanding is the way to help the coachee to open up and find value in the sessions.

Digging deep to find out why he/she is feeling like that is essential.  What is going on in their world that is the root cause? Walking in their footsteps and truly understanding their situation can help them find a way to get on track. But there must be a willingness from the coach to start from where they are – and then progress.

3. Inconsistent results through coaching

There have been numerous coaching sessions with the individual but they are not taking bold steps in terms of their progression. Their performance is inconsistent and it is frustrating because progress is not being achieved.  There is no confidence the coachee can be relied upon to perform consistently at the level required.  So the question is whether coaching should be simply abandoned.

Perseverance is key, and there must be some trust in the coaching process and the power in providing consistent support.  The coachee cannot be made to perform.  There has to be a recognition that the solution to the problem resides in effective and continuous coaching. Regular coaching is the order of the day. Finding opportunities to engage in coaching situations frequently will be most helpful.  Ending each session with an agreement to the coachee taking measurable action will help to keep focused.

Coaching is not some magic dust that is sprinkled lavishly over people and – hey presto! – they are top performers. If despite all best efforts coachees do not respond, then perhaps other options need to be explored.

Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay

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