What Are the Secrets of Great Managers?

What is the secret ingredient to being a great manager?
I propose that it is a sound approach to coaching.

Coaching underpins good team communication and collaboration. Coaching activates employee engagement and drives career management success for both the employee and organization. Fundamental coaching skills include: asking discovery and probing questions, listening on multiple levels, giving effective feedback, creating accountability, and acknowledging progress. When applied within an ethical framework, coaching enriches employer-employee relationships and drives individual learning towards strategic objectives.

Managers need to coach in order to give feedback, discuss performance, or engage in any informal learning activity, but part of the challenge for managers is finding the time for coaching conservations. Here are three suggestions for managers to make time for coaching:

  1. Consider every conversation with your employees an opportunity to deepen your relationship. This is where coaching, sound communication, and collaboration (the Three C’s of Management Fundamentals) skills come in. Every opportunity to collaborate is an opportunity to communicate and either coach or be coached. 
  2. Make time to learn to coach properly: take an elearning, classroom, or webinar course or meet with a professional and preferably certified coach for a train-the-trainer discussion.
  3. Set a regular time in your calendar to coach employees. Wrap the discussion around the employee’s learning plan that’s connected to the company’s strategic objectives. Suggest meeting every two to three weeks to consciously and consistently maintain momentum.

When organizations support frequent coaching conversations between manager and employee, it helps employees take ownership of their roles, responsibilities and ultimately their careers. Managers help employees think through personal attributes and motivators, thereby assuming a level of accountability. By extension, investing in a positive coaching culture will likely enhance ‘purpose to paycheck’ behavior, key to ensuring active employee engagement and collaboration.

Ready to become a better manager? Check out the GO! Get Managing and Go! Management Fun bundles. 

Dr. Celia Richardson is Vice President, Strategic Learning Solutions at Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is a North American human capital solutions firm that truly integrates the expertise of finding, developing, and optimizing an organization’s people to deliver more effective solutions and better performance.