Why Coaching is the Way to Go in
Team Management

When you hear the word “coach”, what comes first
into your mind? Do you picture a basketball team with a man/woman
shouting out directions? Or perhaps a football team with a man/woman
pacing to and fro and calling out the names of the players?

Coaching is no longer reserved to sports teams; it is now one of the
key concepts in leadership and management. Why is coaching popular?

 

Coaching levels the playing field.

Coaching is one of the six emotional leadership styles proposed by
Daniel Goleman. Moreover, it is a behavior or role that leaders enforce
in the context of situational leadership. As a leadership style,
coaching is used when the members of a group or team are competent and
motivated, but do not have an idea of the long-term goals of an
organization. This involves two levels of coaching: team and
individual. Team coaching makes members work together. In a group of
individuals, not everyone may have nor share the same level of
competence and commitment to a goal. A group may be a mix of highly
competent and moderately competent members with varying levels of
commitment. These differences can cause friction among the members. The
coaching leader helps the members level their expectations. Also, the
coaching leader manages differing perspectives so that the common goal
succeeds over personal goals and interests. In a big organization,
leaders need to align the staffs’ personal values and goals
with that of the organization so that long-term directions can be
pursued.

Coaching builds up confidence and competence.

Individual coaching is an example of situational leadership at work. It
aims to mentor one-on-one building up the confidence of members by
affirming good performance during regular feedbacks; and increase
competence by helping the member assess his/her strengths and
weaknesses towards career planning and professional development.
Depending on the individual’s level of competence and
commitment, a leader may exercise more coaching behavior for the
less-experienced members. Usually, this happens in the case of new
staffs. The direct supervisor gives more defined tasks and holds
regular feedbacks for the new staff, and gradually lessens the amount
of coaching, directing, and supporting roles to favor delegating as
competence and confidence increase.

Coaching promotes individual and team excellence.

Excellence is a product of habitual good practice. The regularity of
meetings and constructive feedback is important in establishing habits.
Members catch the habit of constantly assessing themselves for their
strengths and areas for improvement that they themselves perceive what
knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to acquire to attain team
goals. In the process, they attain individually excellence as well. An
example is in the case of a musical orchestra: each member plays a
different instrument. In order to achieve harmony of music from the
different instrument, members will polish their part in the piece,
aside from practicing as an ensemble. Consequently, they improve
individually as an instrument player.

Coaching develops high commitment to common goals.

A coaching leader balances the attainment of immediate targets with
long-term goals towards the vision of an organization. As mentioned
earlier, with the alignment of personal goals with organizational or
team goals, personal interests are kept in check. By constantly
communicating the vision through formal and informal conversations, the
members are inspired and motivated. Setting short-term team goals
aligned with organizational goals; and making an action plan to attain
these goals can help sustain the increased motivation and commitment to
common goals of the members.

Coaching produces valuable leaders.

Leadership by example is important in coaching. A coaching leader loses
credibility when he/she cannot practice what he/she preaches. This
means that a coaching leader should be well organized, highly competent
is his/her field, communicates openly and encourages feedback, and has
a clear idea of the organization’s vision-mission-goals. By
vicarious and purposive learning, members catch the same good practices
and attitudes from the coaching leader, turning them into coaching
leaders themselves. If a member experiences good coaching, he/she is
most likely to do the same things when entrusted with formal leadership
roles.

Some words of caution though: coaching is just one of the styles of
leadership. It can be done in combination with the other five emotional
leadership styles depending on the profile of the emerging team.
Moreover, coaching as a leadership style requires that you are
physically, emotionally, and mentally fit most of the time since it
involves two levels of coaching: individual and team. Your members
expect you to be the last one to give up or bail out in any situation
especially during times of crises. A coaching leader must be conscious
that coaching entails investing time on each individual, and on the
whole team. Moreover, that the responsibilities are greater since while
you are coaching members, you are also developing future coaches as
well.

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Diane Higgins

Diane Higgins

"Be your authentic self it's the path to success."-Psychologist Diane Higgins has authored numerous papers and has lectured extensively helping people find their authentic self, learn to be being purposeful and develop positive thinking. Diane is the author and/or editor of our Self Help Section.
Diane Higgins
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