5 Qualities of Talented People Managers: Quality #4

Quality #4 – Coaches Direct Reports

Talented people managers do not only manage their direct reports, they also coach them. When you ask most managers if they use coaching techniques, the answer you get is “yes.” Unfortunately, most do not know what coaching really is with respect to managing a team. We coach when individuals can implement their own solutions. Coaching provides the framework or space to support performance growth. In coaching we do not give people the answers, we ask questions to help the individual come to their own conclusions and provide corrections to help people get back on the right path.

Coaching is also something that won’t be successful until the first 3 qualities (mentioned in earlier posts) of talented people managers have been learned. There must be an element of trust between the person coaching and the person being coached for it to be successful.

Coaching practices are easily visible in the workplace. You will most likely see your talented people managers practicing excellent coaching by:

1. Setting clear, observable and measurable performance expectations. Goals are always established at the beginning of projects and the beginning of performance cycles. Direct reports are involved in the goal setting process.

2. Focusing on facts. When providing guidance to direct reports, they focus on the facts of the situation at hand, rather than subjective information. Instead of giving an employee corrective feedback based on a perception of a situation, the manager will go on a fact-finding mission to figure out what really happened. This may involve interviewing witnesses or reviewing objective work output. Feedback is given in terms of missed expectations instead of a personal fault of the employee. When it is found that expectations were not clear, the manager takes ownership of his/her error.

3. Providing Encouragement. Coaches provide the framework and the environment for employees to be successful. They do this by giving encouragement and empowering their direct reports to take on challenging assignments that stretch their abilities.

4. Using just-in-time coaching. Just-in-time coaching is a quick, targeted process to get a task or project on track for success and to improve performance. The conversations are also timely, happening in the moment so things do not continue in the wrong direction.

5. Identifying opportunities for people to use their talents. Because talented people managers know their direct reports well, they create opportunities to allow them to use their talents toward advancing their career. They ensure these opportunities give their employees visibility in the company so others can experience their talents too. These managers also work toward developing their employees on their career paths and do not hold back their strong performers from advancing in the organization.

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