One of the biggest complaints I hear from managers learning how to coach is that they simply don’t have time for coaching sessions in the workplace. I don’t buy it. Coaching is essential and though you may feel like you’re short on time: you must make time to coach. Don’t get me wrong. The pressures of management can be overwhelming; your office might be a buzz of staff that are perpetually dropping by and asking questions, your phone might not stop ringing with people wanting answers, and that’s before we even get to your bloating inbox and next block of Teams meetings. So I’m not questioning whether you are actually busy, my question is…
Why are all these people asking you for answers?
You have doubtless put energy into building up a team of staff that you can trust. The people you have employed are educated, intelligent grown-ups with a whole bank of creative ideas. Couldn’t they answer their own questions? Yes, yes they can. But People go to their bosses for a whole raft of reasons. These reasons can include:
shirking responsibility for a risky decision
craving approval for your efforts
venting stress about colleagues.
If you create a system where your staff uses you as a sounding board for all their decisions, problems, and pain points then of course you will quickly feel overwhelmed and never have time to develop your coaching skills.
A manager's role is as a leader
Your role as a manager is to:
Choose a good team
Create an environment where your team can excel
Provide vision and direction
And occasionally; firefight - but only if things go really wrong.
To do that effectively you need to become a leader and developing coaching skills is what turns managers into leaders. My advice is to use whatever techniques you have – some of those might even be coaching skills for managers that you’ve just learned – to get your staff to take responsibility for making their own decisions.
So make that time to grow
In the right environment and with the right boundaries, no staff member should need their boss to figure out the right course of action. Let people take the initiative and greater responsibility for their own working lives - they will thank you for it in the long run and you will be left with more free time for the really important stuff; like coaching sessions, building up great strategies and – perhaps – even leaving the office on time for once! Trayton Vance