Coaching tips for organisations looking to power their new managers from the get go
The impact of not training and coaching new managers can have a huge effect on a business, especially because they play such a big role on the employee experience.
Yet, 71% of employers say they don’t train first-time managers, according to Investors in People. An odd decision, given that employee disengagement costs the UK economy £340 billion annually.
We spoke with new managers to get a better understanding of what they feel they need support with when making the transition into management. Topics such as how to deal with tricky personnel situations came up as did themes around managing mindsets.
All findings were compiled into a guide aimed at engaging new managers, to read it in full download The New Manager’s Confidence Boost Kit.
One area that was neglected and there is a real opportunity for is coaching new managers, with many respondents sharing they did not receive this type of support.
We caught up with Tim Roberts, Founder of Enthuse Coaching & Training, to get his insights and to share his top coaching tips for new managers. He’s got over 20 years’ experience in the L&D space (and is one of our experts on Careercake) and really, really knows his stuff.
Let’s get started:
1. Change your mindset about the time it’ll take to coach them
TR: Some people can fall into the trap of thinking coaching others is time exhaustive, but I ask you this: what is the implication if you don’t invest in it? Your new manager could fall into one of two traps: thinking they have to have all the answers or they end up doing all the work for their teams because it’s easier (they think). The result ends us with us feeling ‘too busy’ which only accentuates the amount of answers we give or the work we do for our teams because we think it’s easier / quicker to do it ourselves.
This could not be further from the truth. Your team want to take responsibility for their work which means you need to be clear on what work is their responsibility and that you’re there to lead and support them.
The main reason why people don’t take responsibility for their work is because it’s easier to let the boss do it. This perception can be created by the boss when they start doing things that other people should be doing.
Coaching enables people to identify their own solutions and put them into action which drives job satisfaction and a sense of pride.
Take the opportunity in the next week to answer a question with a question. This is not about being evasive, it is showing your new manager that you want them to think for themselves and that they have accountability for their tasks.
Ask ‘what do you think you should do?’ in response to being asked for an answer by your team. Even if you do this once in the next week it is a start to creating an environment where people choose to empower themselves. Keep doing it to create a habit for yourself and demonstrate to others that you will support them to create their own solutions.
As you do this more consistently, you will get less questions because your team will ask themselves what they think should do and will do it. Coaching new managers in this way in the ‘day to day’ develops your coaching skills and helps you to run more structured conversations. This will save you time and develop your team over a prolonged period of time.
2. Measuring coaching is different because it looks at what the end user achieves
TR: When you start to introduce measures of coaching, you first have to be clear that it is only the person being coached that can truly impact on any performance measures / targets / goals. For coaching to work as intended, only the person you’re coaching will take action and it is always their solutions that are worked on.
When you’re in a traditional coaching relationship, there is often a goal that your new manager is working towards. When they achieve the goal this is the best defined measure of coaching.
But you also need to recognise the non-tangible measures that coaching naturally develops such as confidence, emotional intelligence etc. If you want to apply a measure for coaching, look at what you’re already measuring to understand what impact it is having on immediate objectives.
The next part is understanding the recognition for the impact of coaching must always go to the people who have been coached because they have taken positive action.
3. Work out how to find out if you’re the right person to coach your new manager
TR: There’s only one way to find out if you are. I am not suggesting that you suddenly starts telling everyone ‘I am going to coach you now, by the way’. Anyone can coach, and the best way to find out if you’re the right person is to try it.
With your direct reports, you always have the opportunity to coach people. Different people need different levels of coaching at different times. Talk to your team about how you would like to introduce coaching conversations and ask them how they could benefit.
The most important coaching skills for managers are active listening and asking open questions. They are two conversational skills that everyone has the ability to effectively do.
Start to introduce them and observe how people respond and then you can see who is ready for coaching and who may need more time.
All managers can and have the opportunity to coach their teams. If you’re entering a more defined coaching relationship then there is some ‘matching and contracting’ to be done up front to make sure the coach is a right fit. On a day-to-day basis, a manager can coach their team at many different opportunities.
Start now and allow time for your ability to coach and your team’s ability to be coached to develop together.
4. How to get people excited and engaged in coaching
TR: Focus more on getting them excited and engaged with themselves and their role by coaching them, rather than focusing on getting their buy-in to your coaching.
Coaching with your team can often work best when they don’t know that you’re coaching them. Let them achieve what they want to achieve by coaching them and their excitement and engagement will naturally follow.
5. Read up on latest coaching tips to keep your style evolving
TR: I love Box of Crayons who have lots of free resources and is based on a coaching leadership style. Training Zone also has come cool blogs that focus on coaching. LinkedIn is the best social media platform for access to coaching and a place where you can connect with professional coaches.
For anyone who wants to coach their team, I also swear by reading The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier and the coaching bible that is Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore.
Looking for more Coaching Tips for New Managers?
- You can learn more about Tim and Enthuse Coaching and Training here
- Watch Tim’s Principles of Coaching interview on Careercake.
- Want even more access to management advice and coaching ideas for your new manager? Download our latest guide.