Generation Y Provokes Bosses to Become Coachers

In almost all industries and organizations human potential is considered to be a source of competitive advantage. The tightening competition requires sensitivity to the staff, attention to the needs of employees in professional growth and development. coaching can surely help with this. What way coaching as a management style can be it implemented? What do the coaching skills give to a manager? What is the model of such a scheme of interaction between the managers and subordinates? Marcia Reynolds, certified Coach ICF, the ex-president of the “International Federation of Coaches” knows the way coaching can help boss to find contact with the staff. Are there any standards for the common understanding of the term 'coaching'?

Marcia Reynolds: The term has many definitions that include activities of teaching, encouraging and mentoring. However, trained and certified coaching professionals would differentiate coaching from these activities by focusing on the purpose of coaching. If the purpose of coaching is to develop a person by expanding their thinking capability so they can better use their use skills and knowledge, then we believe that coaching is primarily about asking questions and using reflection techniques such as summarizing and rephrasing. When I coach someone, I act as their “thinking partner.” I help them expand their perspective so they can think through problems and find solutions on their own. This is a great way to help them develop their leadership capabilities. Who is a coach for the top-manager: a mentor or a therapist?

M.R.: I coach many top executives. I am neither a mentor or a therapist, although I will sometimes share advice because they have hired me for my expertise. As a coach, my most powerful tool is to ask questions to help this person expand their view of what is possible or to focus in on what needs to be done. Once we clarify the situation and possibilities, I may give the person some suggestions based on my experience and research. How does the coach-management work? What are you the privileges to manage using coaching style?

M.R.: Coaching gives the manager another tool to use in addition to telling-teaching-advising-inspiring. When the manager coaches an employee, they demonstrate trust in the employee’s knowledge and skill. They show the employee how to think through decisions on their own and help them have the courage to solve their own problems. This is a win-win for both the manager and the employee. What role do the «human resources» play in the new economy?

M.R.: If you mean that employees are “human resources” then I would say that the new economy is shifting the focus away from managers to the creativity and innovation of the employees. Changes are happening so quickly that employees need to be given more freedoms to try new things and be encouraged to come up with new ideas. The new economy requires collaboration and inclusion, not hierarchical divisions and standard processes. Most of Russian managers use an authoritarian management style. Why? When they will use another style?

M.R.: Many leaders in the world use the old style of command and control. This was useful in the industrial economy where it was most important that we manage processes. Organizations needed to be lean, mean machines with zero defects. Recognition was based on numbers. Promotions were based on technical skill.

Now instead of managing process, in the Information Age, the Technological Age, the Age of the Internet, the focus must shift to leading interconnected communities of people. The workforce is more educated. The workforce is less afraid of change. They grew up online searching, reading, scrutinizing, authenticating, collaborating, sharing and expressing their views. They don’t want to be told what to do. They want to be challenged to find what is best to do. There is still the need for productivity and profitability. Yet what drives these numbers is different. The single most important variable in leading today is employee engagement. An authoritarian style doesn’t engage. Could the new style work in Russian companies which are not focused on the international market?

M.R.: The change in management practices isn’t about markets as much as it is about engaging employees to innovate and produce so the new styles of management will work for all companies as the younger employees come in with their needs and demands to be included. What do you teach Russian top-managers first of all? What does turn makes a modern leader to a really effective team leader?

M.R.: The first step is to start listening more to their employees instead of just telling them what to do and how to do it. People feel valued when they are listened to. When they feel valued, they are more likely to come up with good ideas and commit to doing good work. Is coaching is a technology which can be learned by any person or a call?

M.R.: Coaching is both a skill and a mindset. Coaching skills can be learned by anyone. However, people must also change their mindset if they are going to use the skills correctly. They have to believe in the ability of people to learn, grow and discover answers on their own if they have the necessary skills and knowledge to work with. Without this core belief in people, the coach training will not be effective. How does looks like the coaching model of interaction between supervisor and subordinates?

M.R.: Once a goal is established between the supervisor and the subordinate (what do they want to resolve), then the supervisor coaches the person to have a broader perspective of the situation and to discover the true root cause of the problems or interferences to finding solutions. Through this conversation, they can find new solutions together. The subordinate is more likely to commit to the solutions so change is more likely to occur than in other scenarios. Do employees need specific knowledge about coaching or it is enough that members of executive board have them?

M.R.: It is useful for employees to be given a basic understanding of the coaching process so they can participate fully when they are being coached. Sometimes they may wonder why their supervisor is asking so many questions. They may not trust someone who is coaching for the first time. Therefore, everyone should be taught some basic coaching philosophy and skills to make the process run more smoothly. This creates a coaching culture. Companies with coaching cultures are flexible, innovative and extremely productive. Men and women in business - who is doing better? Should female-bosses poach the male model behavior pattern to become an effective leader?

M.R.: There should be a blend of male and female traits. Women bring a broader, more strategic perspective to leadership. They also bring a better understanding of collaborative environments. Men are thought to be more decisive and focused. A blend of both styles is needed. Therefore, women should not try to be like men. They should be themselves and make sure everyone knows how valuable their unique contributions are to the overall goals. Are there «male» and «female» styles of leadership? And who is more effective as a coach-manager?

M.R.: The stereotypes of male/female leaders are beginning to go away. Everyone brings strengths to the table. To say we are different as if one is better than the other furthers the stereotypes. Therefore, I believe every person, man or women, should be judged on the style and talents they bring as leaders.

As for coaching, women tend to be better listeners but both men and women make good coaches if they are properly trained. How do you plan to upgrade your workshops? What topics are most relevant today?

M.R.: Emotional intelligence is even more popular today than ever. I incorporate emotional self-awareness and understanding others at an emotional level in all my classes. I also upgrade my coaching workshops every year as I learn more about what makes someone masterful at coaching. Finally, I think change management is critical in this quickly changing world. I believe leaders must know both how to help individuals and teams adapt to changes quickly. They also need to know how to change an entire company culture. These are critical skills for establishing long-term success. I am currently researching and applying new techniques for change to help my executive clients.


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