As an experienced management coach, I faced the prospect of coaching remotely online with some trepidation. It’s such a personal process and depends on building up a rapport with your coachee that I wasn’t at all sure it would work well online. Add to that the novelty of having to look presentable after weeks of working at home and persuade the technology to co-operate, it was a nervous experience!
Once the sessions were underway I was amazed how quickly it felt natural – it was really easy to forget that you were sitting in a corner of your living room, talking to a screen, because the content of the conversation was absorbing and the focus on the persona and their issues was complete – although interruptions from the cat, who was determined to find out what was going on, didn’t help.
Thankfully those being coached seem to have felt the same; the connection – both technological and inter-personal – just worked and the focus was on the content. Just as in face to face coaching the empathy was there and it is even possible that the remote connection and the security of their environment helped people to relax into the session even more quickly.
“I found real benefit from the online session. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t receive any coaching before I began people managing, so was elated to hear that you were willing to carry out virtual coaching. For me, it’s sped up the process of my training as it enables both parties to be far more flexible regarding time management.
I’d really like another session in a few months’ time to share my experiences.”
So, what is this process that works as well online as it does face to face?
Management coaching creates a safe private space for a manager to explore how they want to manage their team, considering their existing skills and experience and how that fits with their organisation’s expectations and processes.
“I think the main ways it has helped me is giving me a non-judgemental space to explore my thoughts, feelings and motivations, to question my instincts and to get the value of wisdom from management in other contexts. I also go to therapy, and it sometimes reminds me of that – but with a focus on changing actions.”
A newly appointed or promoted manager may lack confidence in how to get the best performance from their team (often particularly challenging when they have been promoted from within their team or have only ever worked in one organisation). A management coach can help them to explore how they plan to manage, helping them to see where their strengths and skills lie and giving ideas about what to do to deepen their knowledge, broaden their skillset and fill in any gaps.
Coaching doesn’t give a manager easy answers but helps them to think through the challenges they face and work out how to set about the task. An experienced coach can point a manager towards new ideas, good sources of information, examples of best practice and possible pitfalls. A good coach doesn’t only highlight tasks and tools for the manager but also helps them to consider their own mindset and experiences and use these to their best advantage.
“Coaching has been invaluable for me in developing my confidence in a more senior role, especially in helping me to identify the type of leader I want to be and helping me to move forward towards that goal.”
A manager with a challenging situation or individual in their team can talk through possible options for dealing with it and have the chance in privacy to have a confidential exploration of possible ways to tackle the issue and how to bring their own approach and skills to the situation. Because the solutions come from the manager and fit their organisation, rather than being handed out to them, their confidence grows, and they can review how it is working in the next session making this an iterative process as they follow their personal experiential development path.
“Coaching isn’t therapy. It’s product development, with you as the product.” Judy Hehr
A manager who has built their skillset and confidence through coaching is a manager who has learnt to look at their own abilities and knowledge analytically and knows how to grow not only themselves but also their team and therefore the team’s performance and productivity. Can you afford not to offer coaching to your managers?
To arrange a consultation to see how we can help you, contact us today.