Using leaders as internal coaches is an extension of the popularity and value of hiring external coaches for executive leaders. The purpose of a leader-coach is to strengthen employee engagement and performance by facilitating one-on-one coaching conversations on a routine schedule with direct reports.
A study documented in Becoming a Coaching Leader, by Daniel Harkavy, found that top performers who received coaching outperformed their uncoached peers by 22 percent. Low performers who received coaching improved as much as 60 percent compared with peers who received no coaching.
Coached team members also said that both their loyalty to the company and overall morale improved. A best practice utilized by many companies attaining a ranking on the "Great Place to Work" list is a 360-degree feedback program supported by coaching conversations.
Hiring external coaches for all employees is cost-prohibitive, so developing leaders as internal coaches is a cost-effective alternative. During a coaching conversation, the leader-coach can focus on the associate's performance, development and/or career plan. The "COACH Approach" is a practical step-by-step conversational roadmap I created that guides leaders in their coaching conversations from beginning to end.
The COACH Approach is also an acronym so it is easy to follow and remember. Here is an overview of each step:
Create rapport and bridge to business.
Offer positive and/or constructive feedback with an I-statement.
Assess by probing and listening.
Collaborate on ideas and solutions.
Have an action plan.
Coaching and collaboration have replaced command and control as the most effective way for managers to lead. If managers do not become skilled at coaching their employees, it is unlikely that they will be able to achieve sustainable positive results for themselves or their organizations.
Since coaching does not come naturally to most, it is imperative that organizations invest in developing their leaders' coaching skills.
Smagala is a leadership development consultant and regional director for RV Rhodes LLC. She can be reached at email@example.com or (585) 721-6538.