Business Coaching: Can a Leader become a coach for his subordinates?

Business Coaching

A lot is said and written about business coaching. But this time we will talk directly about business coaching, about who within the company can become an internal coach, whether it is allowed to have a manager himself for his employees, what tools should be used for this. 

Focus in business coaching 

The business coaching’s focus implies that personality is in the first place, it cannot be otherwise. Business coaching will always support the interests of the individual as such – the thinking system, the ability to make decisions, and other human abilities. The leader, however, primarily looks at the person as a person capable of performing business tasks. It simply will not be the focus of the company’s tasks to develop a personality. And this, alas, leads to sad consequences: on the one hand, it seems that it is possible to effectively solve current tasks, on the other, there is a minimal paradigm change, and that’s it, the employee can no longer cope with new tasks, he was not prepared for this.

A professional business coaching and a coach-leader are completely different functions, therefore! A professional coach develops a personality, a leader leads to the implementation of certain business tasks, nothing else. Yes, a leader can develop his subordinates by adding classic business coaching methods to his leadership methods. But you should limit yourself, do not act too abstractly. The leader is the leader in order to work with specific data, specific tasks. For the development of the personality as such, it is worth inviting an expert.

The manager is recommended to use a business coaching style in work with subordinates – to move from advice to questions is extremely imperceptible. The questions should be about what the subordinate specifically thinks, what he is going to do. That is why leading companies such as Coca-Cola ask such questions to invite heads of other departments to communicate with other employees in a business coaching style. This removes the engagement factor, which is very important.

Business coaching technologies, superimposed on the management cycle, are viewed by the leader precisely through his prism. Thus, they are important when discussing tasks and goals, as well as in conversations that are held at points of control. Feedback and planning also affect coaching methods. In the case when such technologies are used by an HR manager, they will come in handy:

  • if tasks to motivate personnel are discussed with the management;
  • if managers complain about difficult employees;
  • if you need to discuss cross-functional interaction;
  • or in team sessions and business training.

Business coaching requests within the organization

The manager-coach may need to work with the prioritization of the employees’ activities, with the planning of their affairs, with the relationships between colleagues, with the issues of adaptation of the employee to the new position. Of course, improving the efficiency of the team, as well as introducing certain changes, are equally important.

You can give classic examples of requests that can be received:

  • I do not have time for anything, I do not know how to allocate time!
  • My tasks became uninteresting to me. Maybe I have outgrown them?
  • It is very difficult for me to work with my colleague; we cannot solve important issues together.
  • I don’t know how to conduct a meeting so efficiently that employees are motivated …
  • I have a conflict with the team.
  • My employee does not live up to expectations. It is in my competence to fire him. Maybe this should be done?
  • I don’t know how to give negative feedback, it’s very difficult!

HR managers, on the other hand, may ask how to prepare for a speech at the conference, how to conduct facilitation with the team, how to discuss the results of the team session, how to implement what they have learned after training … In any case, they ask about what worries, what you won’t change that must be decided. They ask about it – but they sound the request in a completely different way. A competent coach must understand what is being asked in general, what lies behind an abstractly formulated question!

That is why it is so important that business coaching is “from the outside”, otherwise he may simply not be trusted. A coach is both a psychologist and a confessor, and, in general, a person who can be trusted, to whom you can contact with the most personal questions, those that may affect privacy issues. This is why many companies prescribe group coaching contracts to maintain confidentiality.

However, there are ways to make the manager understand that you, working, for example, as an HR manager, can be for employees and a coach too. For this you need:

  • to look at the situation in everything systematically, so that your objectivity and impartiality are visible;
  • know the specifics of your company’s business enough so that the manager can entrust you with his employees and their approach to solving problems;
  • also, understand the specifics of the work of your leader – in order to be able to help him too.

At the same time, the features of professional business coaching are as follows:

  • you need to know the management;
  • understand the technologies and principles of coaching;
  • at least at a basic level, master the psychology of personality – it may at least happen that you have to work to distinguish stress from depression;
  • and also be able to promote yourself as a coach, close contracts – in general, own coaching as a business.

Strong questions in coaching

Suggestions for inquiries can be very simple. The coach, in fact, does not tell the client how he should behave – he leads the client to the right thoughts. Therefore it is necessary to ask:

  1. What problem does the client want to solve?
  2. What has he already done to solve this problem?
  3. What haven’t you done yet?
  4. Other than the ones he’s already considering, what options are there?
  5. How is this situation useful for him?
  6. Who can help him, except, actually, a coach?
  7. Where is he going to start?

As for technology and tools, the coach’s task is to ask strong questions, actively listen, and conduct the conversation in a clear and structured manner. It is necessary to work with the goals, the client’s words – to carefully analyze, to do everything so that he expands his field of vision and gets rid of internal barriers.