A Coaching Style of Management: How It Makes a Difference

In this article, we delve into the impact of a coaching style of management.
In 2010, Terry Lawson Wright, one of the very first TIFF© Providers and the former chair of the Fluent Self CIC, explored the key aspects of a coaching style of management. Today, we would like to review his valuable findings and insights, and reflect on their relevance in today's fast-paced and ever-changing world.

The Power of Coaching-Style Management
Terry's article begins by reflecting on two compelling questions posted in a LinkedIn discussion forum.

  • If your current management team were replaced by the best manager-coaches in the world, what would be the first noticeable difference in your work environment? 
  • What would you see and hear?

The answers were interesting, and highlighted that indeed coach-managers could have a profound impact on various aspects of the workplace, although there were also some cautionary remarks.

How do you think these questions would be answered today?

First, let’s take a look at Terrys’ findings. They can be summarised under the following headings:

Behaviours of Coach-Managers
One key observation is the shift in behaviour exhibited by coach-managers resulting in more and better quality questions. By engaging in more effective questioning, it is possible to foster genuine curiosity and promote productive dialogue.

Alongside this, managers using this coaching-style prioritise active listening and display high emotional intelligence in their relationships, appreciating people’s work and effort. Coach-managers empower their teams, promote open collaboration, and encourage bottom-up solutions, creating an environment of transparency and creativity.

The Impact on Staff
Under a coaching-style management approach, employees experience a positive transformation, resulting in a noticeable improvement in energy and mood. They feel valued, respected, and know that they are seen and heard. This leads to increased confidence, inspiration, and productivity. Job satisfaction is high and fear of failure diminishes. Individuals are genuinely happy to come to and bring their best selves to work every day.

Changed Employee Behaviours
Staff members thrive under coach-managers as they have clarity on goals and have a strong focus on achieving them. They effortlessly articulate the mission and priorities of the organisation.

Overall stress is reduced, as employees perform their roles with increased competence, engagement, and a proactive mindset, and without any unnecessary interference from managers that could potential derail or undermine their abilities and as managers exhibit a higher belief in competence and create an environment of mutual trust, it will become easier to delegate tasks.

As the workplace culture evolves with this new coach-manager style, fear in the workplace is replaced with open communication. Honest feedback, and a willingness to tackle challenges head-on fosters teamwork, and groups become more inclined to find solutions and generate innovative ideas together.

Benefits for the Organisation
A coaching-style of management yields significant benefits for the entire organisation from employee satisfaction (absence of unhealthy conflict) to customer satisfaction (increased quality of service).

In an environment where people are encouraged to learn from honest mistakes, and are supported, the organisational culture becomes more open, fostering learning and development. Talented individuals are less likely to leave due to poor management thus reducing employee turnover, employee engagement is higher, and empowered and well-trained employees can make informed decisions aligned with the shared organisational goals.

While the benefits of coaching-style management are undeniably impactful, Terry adds a few qualifying notes;

  • acquiring the skill set to ask great questions and inspire the workforce takes time and practice
  • manager-coaches are hard to find. Most people only have the skill set to do one or the other effectively
  • managers must also be passionate about their purpose to drive meaningful change
  • things won’t happen overnight – it takes time
  • people may be initially sceptical, but once employees witness the tangible impact, their enthusiasm will soar!

As we revisit Terry's article some 13 years later, it is essential to consider its relevance today. This leads us to think about the following questions:

  • Are coaching-style management practices still as transformative in the ever-evolving workplace landscape? 
  • Do you think that people are still sceptical about this style of management/leadership?
  • With an increase in the popularity and evolution of coaching over the last 10 years, do you think there is still a shortage of manager-coaches with these skill-sets?
  • How can we integrate these principles into our own leadership journeys to foster a culture of growth, collaboration, and engagement?

Terry Lawson Wright's exploration of coaching-style management provides us with insights into the power of this approach. By embracing a coaching mindset, we can create workplaces where individuals thrive, teams excel, and organizations achieve remarkable success. We believe this is still relevant and highly beneficial today, so let's continue to harness the potential of coaching-style management and build environments that inspire and empower!

Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

To read Terry Lawson Wright's original article, login to your personal profile [members only!]: https://functionalfluency.com/login to access your resources and the section: 'Articles related to Leadership & Coaching'

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