Successfully navigating a complex, ever-changing hybrid work environment requires a range of skills. High on the list for 2023 is developing a coaching management style. One that is human-centred and focused on maximising the potential of employees. Discover the reasons why managers should embrace this modern style of leadership and how it is crucial to engagement, retention and performance.
Reading time: 6 minutes
2023 has only just begun. And like the past few years, leaders are continuing to face the challenge of delivering results during a time of economic uncertainty and boosting employee engagement.
Simply put, many employees are unhappy. In a recent global Gallup report, 60% said they felt emotionally detached at work. Millions are leaving their jobs or ‘quiet quitting’ because they feel unvalued, without a sense of purpose and lack learning and growth opportunities.
Managers play a crucial role in creating engaged, high-performing teams. Particularly those who are the primary contact for hybrid and remote workers. Research finds that 60% of hybrid employees say their manager is the most influential person they interact with at work. Especially when it comes to connecting with company culture.
What’s a keyway managers can tackle these challenges in 2023? By cultivating a coaching mindset.
Although coaching is nothing new, adopting a human-centred coaching style has become more important: It’s a modern style of leadership, where managers serve more as ‘guides’ (than ‘bosses’) to help employees grow professionally.
Human-centred coaching delivers results: employees who report to managers who coach effectively are 40% more engaged, make 38% more effort and are 20% more likely to stay with their organisations – than those with mangers who have less effective coaching management styles.
If you want to improve engagement, retention and performance in your teams, read on to find out why developing a coaching mindset is so crucial.
Reason #1: A coaching management style increases teams’ psychological safety
What happens when team members feel psychologically safe? They are more likely to feel valued, have a strong sense of purpose, take risks and speak up. All essential elements to effective performance as well as engagement (and retention).
Creating a psychologically safe environment also has the potential to encourage quiet quitters to come forward and re-engage. And it builds greater trust within the wider organisation. High-trust companies report:
- 74% less stress
- 50% higher productivity
- 40% less burnout
- 76% more engagement.
Managers with coaching skills who lead using inclusive, consultative and supportive coaching behaviours can effectively create psychologically safe team environments by building rapport and close relationships.
And one of the best ways to do this is to have regular (formal and informal) check-ins and personal conversations with teams. Such moments are great opportunities to gain deeper understanding of each team member’s motivations – both professionally and personally. And for identifying their needs, interests, perceptions and challenges, which are essential to ensuring their goals are aligned with the organisation’s.
Reason #2: A coaching management style empowers teams
A key principle in engaging teams, increasing performance and driving retention, is empowering employees to make decisions and solve problems.
Through coaching techniques like effective questioning and mindful listening, managers can inspire their teams to reflect and adopt a solution-oriented mindset. What’s more, managers who demonstrate inclusive and consultative behaviours encourage more diverse team perspectives – breaking down perceived barriers, and surfacing hidden information and insights.
The end result? More engaged, creative, high-performing teams. They not only become more confident in their problem-solving abilities, but they are also more optimistic about difficult situations. Enough to view ‘problems’ as challenges to overcome – and take the initiative to find solutions.
Empowering teams to act is critical if organisations want to successfully navigate times of change and uncertainty.
Reason #3: A coaching management style supports teams’ career growth
Although many employees are dissatisfied, they still want to grow their careers. Close to 70% say they would stay at their company longer if their employer made efforts to upskill them. This is another area where managers with a coaching management style can have a positive impact.
The more opportunities managers have to engage with their teams, the more they gain insight into their strengths and areas for improvement. This information is crucial for identifying short and long-term career goals – and the skills and capabilities needed to achieve them. Additionally, by aligning team members’ goals with business priorities, managers can ensure their teams play a key role in supporting the organisation’s objectives.
So, how does effectively coaching employees support career growth? First, by working closely with them to develop a clear pathway. Then, allowing them to take charge of their career progression at their own pace. They can try creative options such as leading a project, work shadowing or mentoring other team members. All practical ways to help them grow their responsibilities.
Overall, when managers take an interest in team members’ career growth, employees feel valued and appreciated. As a result, they are more productive, have higher morale, and are more likely to stay with the organisation.
Reason #4: A coaching management style supports skills development and learning
We know that employees desire more learning and career growth opportunities, but many managers are struggling to meet this need. The average manager has seven direct reports. Yet only allocate 9% of their time to employee development. This statistic is concerning. Especially when combined with the fact that 42% of managers lack the confidence to develop the skills employees need today.
How can managers overcome this challenge? With real-time coaching techniques and feedback, particularly for Millennials and Gen Z employees who appreciate feedback. Yet only 17% of Millennials say they get regular feedback from their manager. And a recent study shows that 74% of Millennial and Gen Z employees will likely quit within the next year due to a lack of skills development opportunities.
Through Continuous Performance Management (CPM) and regular conversations focused on specific areas of strength and growth, skills can be developed more quickly. However, for CPM to be effective, managers must improve their skills in giving feedback. It should be bite-sized, focused, culturally sensitive and empathetic so that it is well received and seen as helpful rather than critical.
Because when delivered correctly, feedback can help team members build self-awareness for future growth. And by recognising and celebrating their strengths, they will be more motivated to maximise their full potential.
Every leader in 2023 – no matter how experienced – can benefit from asking themselves: Do I demonstrate a coaching mindset in my interactions with my team? How effective is my existing coaching management style? What could I do differently?
Answering (or finding solutions) to these questions can bring about a positive shift in the potential of your teams and your organisation.
Our 80 years’ experience of consultancy, training and coaching managers across 6 continents means we understand your context and learning needs. Partner with us to create a programme to upskill your managers and emerging managers to develop a coaching mindset and drive engagement and performance.
Find more valuable tips by reading our blogs:
- L&D in 2023: what matters?
- Case study: How the British Council is leveraging learning and development to retain talent in 2023
- Five reasons why continuous performance management is good for your business
- Five skills your managers need for effective continuous performance management
- Five tips for giving culturally sensitive feedback