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Josh H Miller How Good Managers Become Great Coaches

How Good Managers Become Great Coaches

Coaching is a lot of things, but it isn’t a lot of the things it’s claimed to be:

It’s not a quick fix. It’s not easy. It’s not a magical pill.

AND it’s definitely not about you, the manager.

Successful Managers know unlocking the employee’s potential to maximize their performance starts with listening. Here are 3 reminders to help you get started:

  1. Create a safe space that encourages conversation without judgment or consequences.
  2. Get curious, ask questions, questions open doors.
  3. Get comfortable with silence. If the question seems unanswerable rephrase it and ask again.

I recently wrote an article titled: 14 Coaching Principles All Managers Should Practice where I shared some of my best practices in supporting managers who coach. Here are are a few more critical components necessary to achieve greatness:

Josh H Miller How Good Managers Become Great Coaches

Help people to learn, don’t teach. The most powerful lessons are the ones we learn ourselves. Think about a time when you believed you had an elevating insight only to be told by someone that they have been telling you that forever. Being on the receiving end of being told or given advice can be informative. In some cases, advice can result in change, but it doesn’t inspire taking ownership of making a change. BOTTOM LINE: Guide the conversation, don’t run the conversation.

Personal insight is the greatest empowerment to change. For most people, inspiration to change generates from that eureka moment when they discover what you the coach already know. BOTTOM LINE: Great coaches tell people where to look but not what to see.

Turn insight into action. Insight is more than surfacing a thought. Take that thought apart, understand where it generated, what triggers are running their show and the benefits or not of transforming negative actions into actions for success. BOTTOM LINE: Be curious but also courageous in your questioning.

Forgive yourself. Yep, I said it. Think about it. People are creatures of habit. Most of what we do and say are instinctual, habits of responses and actions we have honed over a lifetime. Often, they are habits formed to serve a purpose that no longer exists. The brilliance of insight is that a new perspective can develop and inspire new actions, replacing old habits with better ones. BOTTOM LINE: Be patient with yourself and the process.

Coaching is 90% attitude and 10% technique.

IN CLOSING: As a manager responsible for developing your team, the main ingredient to a successful coaching scenario is focusing on the person being coached. As important as you may feel, think or be, it’s their story and insights that will drive a successful outcome, not yours.

The Floor Is Yours: What makes a good manager a GREAT COACH?

*Add Your Comments Below*

 

Let’s Connect: www.JoshHMiller.com | Follow Joshua Miller For More

Joshua Miller is a Master Certified Executive Coach, creative leader and bestselling author. His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator, supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

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Why Leaders Struggle As Coaches. It’s Not What You Think.

For some, managing others is a welcomed challenge and a true calling but for others, it’s a chore and a cavernous time suck. There are many facets to managing employees but todays focus is on coaching and when it comes to this skillset, the divide grows greater. The reason for this gap lies squarely on their shoulders or should I say ears and their ability to listen to their people versus just “hearing” them.

I am referring to a specific type of listening. Not the type of listening that involves a lot of “aha..,yes…I see…gotcha” but the type of listening where one pays close attention and listens for the content and context simultaneously. This article will break down the following:

  • Why listening is a critical component to success
  • The difference between listening and hearing
  • The benefits of developing your listening skills

NOTE: For the sake of this article, I am not using the term “coaching” in the context of a certified and trained coach but rather using the basic fundamentals of coaching to improve employee performance.

I have been working with, and developing leaders for the better half of my professional career and I can see and say without any hesitation that honing your listening skills is vital if not critical to being successful. We live in a world that is evolving so fast and since we are always on the go, what used to be considered conventional conversational exchanges has transformed to 140 characters or less with a variety of emoji’s leaving much to the imagination. That said, when you do have the opportunity to speak with someone live (and preferably in person), the ability to listen and “get” the other person is invaluable to both your employee and yourself.

The Importance Of Listening To Others

Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. It’s how we make sense of, assess, and respond to what we hear. Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, communication erodes, a breakdown general ensues and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated. Listening is a “soft skill” that is embedded into the most relevant qualifications employers look for in candidates. According to a Fast Company article which cited a 2014 Multi-Generational Job Search Study, employers in today’s modern workplace are looking for:

  • Communication skills and “emotional intelligence”
  • Solving problems
  • Positive attitude and ability to work in a team
  • Being dependable and getting the job done
  • Coaching coworkers
  • Being creative and innovative
  • Developing new work processes
  • Taking initiative

It goes on to say that: one quality that all of these have in common is listening, specifically active listening. Active listening involves being present in every conversation you have. Listening with undivided attention communicates respect for the person with whom you are speaking. 

Listening Versus Hearing

Many people (not just leaders) confuse great hearing and memory for actual listening. It’s a common mistake the dupes one into thinking they are actually present and able to coach someone. The truth is, listening and hearing are so different that it’s going to require some unpacking.

  • Listening is defined as the learned skill, in which we can receive sounds through ears, and transform them into meaningful messages. To put simply, it is the process of diligently hearing and interpreting the meaning of words and sentences spoken by the speaker, during the conversation.
  • Hearing is the natural ability or an inborn trait that allows us to recognize sound through ears by catching vibrations is called the hearing. In simple terms, it is one of the five senses; that makes us aware of the sound. It is an involuntary process, whereby a person receives sound vibrations, continuously.

The styles and methods of listening run the gamut but a popular one when it comes to coaching others is called “active listening” which requires concentration and presence with the other individual. Active listening is a key element in making the communication process effective. Regardless of the style, the process of listening involves five stages: receiving, understanding, evaluating, remembering, and responding. An effective leader and listener must hear and identify what’s being said toward them, understand the content while evaluating or assessing the message and respond (either verbally or nonverbally) to the other individual. A process that happens rather fast but fear not, here is an excellent chart which further explains the differences:

The Benefits Of Better Listening Skills

Regardless if you’re coaching another person, honing your listening skills will pay dividends in and out of the workplace. Some of the benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Expands capacity and knowledge
  • Intensifies successful conversation
  • Can save time and money
  • Allows better negotiations terms
  • Helps to detect and solve problems quickly
  • Promotes respect and trust
  • Provides new points of view and perspectives
  • You might learn something yourself
  • Create stronger bonds and relationships
  • Builds patience and tolerance

To help you get started, this Forbes article lays out six ways in which you can begin engaging with your people.

Final thoughts: Regardless of whether you are a leader coaching an employee or simply someone looking to support a friend or loved one – listening will always be the foundation for a successful outcome. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Speak in such a way that other love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.”

The floor is yours: How do you hone your listening skills?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.

transitioning from life changes

How To Navigate Life’s Toughest Transitions

It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. – William Bridges

For many in the L&OD world, William Bridges work in the change management arena has been widely utilized and received as a staple to navigating various enterprise wide change initiatives. So when it came to reading his book:

  • Transitions: Making sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges

I was eager to dive into it and learn more about how to apply some of his famous thinking to life outside of the corporate world. The first place to begin is around understanding his Change Model/Process which looks like this:

  • Endings. Every transition begins with one. Too often we misunderstand them, confuse them with finality: “That’s it, all over, finished!” Yet how we recognize endings is key to how we can begin anew.
  • The Neutral Zone. The second hurdle of transitions: a seemingly unproductive “time-out” when we feel disconnected from people and things in the past and emotionally unconnected to the present. Yet the neutral zone is really a time of reorientation.
  • The New Beginning. In transitions, we come to beginnings only at the end, when we launch new activities. To make a successful new beginning requires more than simply persevering. It requires an understanding of external signs and inner signals that point the way to the future.

Change is a constant in life and when an event shows up, you can bet some type of life transition is occurring. Here are 5 common places change occurs:

  • Losses of relationships: death, friend moving away, marital separations, children leaving home, alienation of friend, death of pet or hero
  • Changes in home life: getting married, having child, having spouse retire or becoming ill/recovering, returning to school, changing jobs, going into depression, moving to a new house/remodeled old one, experience increase/decrease of domestic tension
  • Personal Changes: getting sick or well, experiencing notable success or failure, changing eating habits, sleep patterns, sex, starting/stopping school, changing lifestyle or appearance
  • Work and Finances changes: getting fired, retiring, changing jobs, changes within organization, increase/decrease income, taking on new loans/mortgages, discovering career advancement is blocked
  • Inner changes: spiritual awakening, deepening social/political awareness, psychological insights, changes in self-image or values, discovery of new dream/abandonment of old one

One of the major reasons we struggle so much with life’s transitions is that we let fear control our thoughts, causing us to either get caught in a hypnotic state or stall from moving forward.

The key to overcoming this fear is to understand how to navigate these transitions and begin moving forward. Below are 7 ways I found in my research to support you in navigating these transitions without getting stopped: 

  1. Realize that transitions are inevitable. 
  2. Adjust your usual schedule around the transitions. 
  3. Take the time to acknowledge the past, the present, and what you believe is the future.
  4. If you find that anger or sadness, or some other strong emotion, is holding you back, acknowledge the emotion.
  5. If you are able to break the transitions into smaller pieces you may deal with them better.
  6. Reinforce each positive step you take towards the transition.
  7. Educate yourself about what this transition means to you.

Final thoughts: No one ever said navigating life’s challenges would be easy, but it is possible. The easiest way to make any life transition more challenging is to fight it. Although it can be natural to resist the change, holding on to the past will only cause more challenges and prolong the adjustment period. Allow yourself to practice “being” with the change and the transitions that occur and you will not only grow in the process but you may just surprise yourself regarding your own ability to successfully navigate what’s in front of you.

The floor is yours: What’s your tip for overcoming unexpected challenges?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

Please click ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.

managers coaching their people bruises their ego

Why Managers Fear Coaching Employees

“Coaching – which can help managers talk with subordinates about their developmental needs – absolutely affects the relationship positively.” – Time Magazine

Why is it some managers are fearless in the face of coaching their people and others panic, paralyzed in the fear of having to develop their employees and messing up the experience while escaping without bruising their own ego.

Coaching.

The word alone has been heralded throughout organizations as the holy grail or answer to any and all people problems within companies. This couldn’t be further from the truth and many leaders (from some of the best companies around the world) already know this but yet the concept of coaching is still readily confusing to many. There are to date, a variety of forms and definitions of coaching styles and philosophies.

Specifically speaking, the confusion typically lies in some of the basic and critical questions (many time overlooked or) unknown to the manager:

  • What is coaching?
  • Why can’t I just tell them what to do?
  • How do I effectively coach?
  • What if they don’t take the coaching?
  • When should we be coaching?
  • Who should we “not” be coaching?
  • How do we effectively measure the coaching engagement?

All of these questions are quite valid and should be addressed before any coaching engagement commences. Like I said, some of the more progressive companies (and their cultures) already recognize the importance of coaching and are addressing these questions to better support their managers but we are still far from a coaching culture throughout the many industries that exist today.

In reality, that’s okay.

I am not here to stand on a soap-box and preach coaching to every company. I am however, committed to support the hundreds of thousands of managers who are faced with the daily challenges of coaching their people and may not feel comfortable letting their boss know.

Here are 6 reasons why many managers are resistant to coach their people:

  • Lack of Support (from Org, Manager, Employee): Not having your manager’s support is one thing but lacking your companies is entirely another challenge. When coaching is not readily practiced within your organization it makes the act of formal coaching difficult. Assuming you are being asked to perform actual coaching and not directing or “telling” your people what to do or not to do. When there is a weak commitment to having a coaching culture (in some defined fashion within the organization) the ones who suffer are the managers responsible to develop their teams when asked to coach. There are of course many excellent alternatives to coaching and as I expressed above, coaching is far from the only answer or option.
  • Lack the Belief / Mindset: Many times it’s the initial mindset that thwarts all good intentions and leads to a path of most resistance. Common internal thinking from the manager such as: I don’t have all the answers…It’s gonna take too long…I have too many direct reports or I’m not going to see the results in my effort, so why bother. Here is great (super short) HBR article worth reading titled: Overcoming The Toughest Coaching Challenges.
  • Lack of Commitment (from their employee): Granted this is a widely generalized statement which of course lends itself to myriad of reasons “why” this happens but for the sake of brevity, I would assert there is a weak set up of the engagement itself – leaving the other person defensive and adding both uncertainty and confusion to the mix.
  • Lack of Skills: Asking someone to do something without enabling them the skills, to develop sed skills is a recipe for disaster. Luckily we live in a world where there are online courses, excellent (and reputable) coaching organizations that offer training, coaching and external support. I personally recommend taking an in-person certified and accredited coaching program if you are serious about developing this specific set of skills. Ensuring you are set up for success begins with arming yourself with the right type of coaching skills needed to both develop your team and aligned with you company and it’s performance management style. There are many types of effective styles of coaching and understanding what’s the most appropriate for your company and it’s culture is critical to it’s implementation and lifespan. You wouldn’t simply take something off the
  • Lack of Structure: Not having SMART Goals is dumb. Okay, well not dumb but definitely not productive and surely not measurable. If the manager doesn’t feel confident in knowing how the engagement process itself will work, they will struggle in finding the right time and cadence to work with their people. A clear process should be defined upfront.
  • Lack of Time: Oh yes, the ol’ “I don’t have enough time” which I will forgo debunking this statement and point you to hundreds of articles on this topic including (12 Morning Rituals Successful People Add To Their Daily Routine & 25 Ways To Get More Done In The Workplace). Sure coaching requires time for both the prep, exchange and follow up but that doesn’t mean it has to be an all day affair. Understood, managers are buried with meetings, emails and more meetings but ultimately this boils down less to your lack of time and I would assert more to your prioritization and what you’ve set up for success moving forward. If your company doesn’t embrace coaching within it’s culture than yes, you will fight to find time to make this happen. Check out this CBS News article on Excuses Managers Give For Not Coaching.

“A coach is someone who can give correction without resentment” – John Wooden

Final thoughts:

Coaching is not easy, in fact it’s quite challenging but it’s also an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. Oh, and fun – yes, fun. Coaching doesn’t have to be a word whispered quietly for fear of it’s label. Sure, there is proactive and reactive coaching but when done executed effectively, a positive outcome is possible. Coaching takes place outside the unknown and unexpected and that’s exactly what’s possible when we put aside our fear of failure and embrace developing others (and ourselves in the process).

“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.” – Tony Robbins

The floor is yours: How does coaching work within your organization?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership, Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

Please click ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.