It was proven that business is all about people. Not about the hard stuff, but about the soft stuff: as Tom Peters says, “hard is soft, soft is hard”. Two different companies acting within the same environment may have the same hard infrastructure: proper hierarchy, processes, flows, marketing channels, the most fanatic clients. The difference is always made by the software, the people operating the “machine”. Where the culture of a company stresses and stretches towards people, there the efficiency of the hard is bigger, more sustainable and rewarding.
Nowadays, the whole world is collapsing due to the lack of attention towards the people; to the lack of listening between people. Between managers and subordinates and among peers. Between silos within the same company. Between men and women. Between nations. Between politicians and voters.
Here are some raw reasons managers need to be coached deducted from my experience as a manager and as a coach of managers.
1.Coaching is also re-parenting
You do what you were taught to do.
Think of generations. What did genX learn from the baby boomers (their parents) in respect of work ethics? What did millenials learn from genX (their parents) in the same respect? Do these learnings still apply today? Is there a need of re-parenting regarding the way we work? I say yes.
The way we communicate, work, listen, give attention – all relies upon what our parents taught us. Appart from the fact that the world is changing, we might have learned the wrong stuff – for example the fact that an authoritarian manner is best. It is, sometimes. But not all the times, not with the youngsters of today, not for the future. An increasing number of organizations stress on the importance of freedom.
2.Coaching an individual is far more efficient in teaching him something than a training course.
Training was never the best way to teach someone. Nor was the standard educational classroom system.
How come that each of us, out of an entire group, learned so much from a professor, and not anyone else from the same group? Because there was a purely conincidental match between you and that professor.
People learn best from a mentor, a parrent, a maître – as apprentices, in a one-to-one relationship. That is because each of us learn in our own style, rhythm and with our inner motivation. You can not pretend the same level of knowledge, abbilities and attitude from 10 or 30 people in a classroom at the end of a training course. So why do we still prolong this manner of teaching? Sometimes, it’s just for us to be covered, to be able to say that we solved it in a way. If you are still unclear about it, here is a good Inc. article on the difference between a teacher, a mentor and a coach.
3.You better learn how to communicate first in a one-to-one environment, and then in a one-to-many
Why, say, wolves do not have classes on how to hunt?
Hunting is learned from parents in a one-to-one endeavour. Maybe one-to-two or three. But there is no alpha wolf summoning the little cubs in a classroom type of environment to teach them hunting.
We are not different. We first learn the essential surviving or communicating abilities from one or two parents. Than, we test the learnings in a larger environment.
Same with coaching. It ensures a proper single learning environment, with the aim of using that learning in a larger one.
4.To refine and enlarge the ways managers gain efficiency at a personal and team level
We get stuck. Very often. Why?
Because we know a limited number of ways to cope with a limited number of situations. But life becomes increasingly complex and complicated. And we fall back to what we know, without the agility to learn new ways.
Sometimes you have to rise above the issue or problem you face to comprehend a new solution, to diversify your spectrum of possibilities and alternatives to go on.
5.To learn how to give and receive feedback, without hurting someone for ever
We usually mess up things. We do not know how to properly speak to someone and hurt one’s feelings.
That is because we do not differentiate between one’s deeds, actions, behaviour and one’s being, values, beliefs, motivation. We confound the verb to do (or to have) with the verb to be. We end up saying you are so… and so … instead of pointing out a certain action or results: you do that … and that …., or your results are so … and so …. Consequently, when you speak about being the other one is taking your words at a personal level. He feels being judged.
Talking about one’s actions and results leaves the other with the possibility of changing them, of improving and bettering them. This is feedback.
6.To practice new, various, multiple other work optimisation ways
When it rains, water is finding the best ways to flow onto/ into the ground. When it grows, a tree is constantly trying new, optimized ways of reaching the sunrays.
People got stuck on the same track. Obstacles arise, opportunities emerge – they are still following the same old itineraries. Coaching is teaching one to be agile, to better comprehend the ever-changing reality around and to better cope with it.
7.To get an objective, exterior, refreshing view over the existing working manner
Evil sits in the details. How can you solve a puzzle when you do not see the entire image of it but only some of its details?
Being in the problem, we only see what rests close to us and to the problem. When you let yourself out of the being the subject view, you get a this is an object view. And you can solve it. Objectifying the problem gives the clues.
You get the clues by un-glueing yourself.
8.To re-discover the ever motivating reason for what is done daily
A bird never loses sight of its reasons to fly. A man does. Evidently, a bird is a simple creature. A man is not.
Immersed in the midst of work and daily endeavor we end up concentrated on the how-s and what-s. We forget about the why-s. Usually at the end of our hollidays there is a constant reminder of the meaning of our lives, in the form of a question: why do I go to work? Why not spending my life on this beach? Why do I live? Such pauses, holidays, moments of silence trigger existential, profound meaningful questions. Their answers are also esential, profound and meaningful: and they are the kind that motivates you deeply. When you aknowledge them.
9.To know how to choose the right option among many alternatives of action
People use various measures to decide: pleasure, self interest, others’ interests, need, wish, availibility, inner intuition, etc. What’s yours? Is it the best one? Is it best for any situation?
People use various time-scales to decide: long term, short term. What’s yours? Is it the best one in any situation?
So, what are your operating criterion? How do you evaluate, compare and decide upon the most optimal alternative or solution. How fast are you in deciding?
Are you trained in having the objectivity and clear-headed approach to still take the best decision anytime, in any circumstance, anywhere?
Do you take decisions or do you make them?
10.Because performance, in any domain, gets possible through a coach and usually remains impossible without one
We are not trained to be trained. We are trained to get bored and fed up when trained (in school) and to avoid any kind of education (thereafter). Including the kind we might need.
But real performers of any sort (in arts, sports, science, economics, politics) know and use the benefits of a personal coach or of a personal trainer. There are not many cases of great performers who reached and kept the highest peaks of performance without the help of a trainer or a coach, an individual knowing them from the outside-in and provoking, challenging, supporting and re-parenting their inside-out. A good coach also needs a coach, from this point of view.