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An important part of being a good manager is being able to find the right balance between employee development training and employee coaching. Training ensures your employees have all the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs well. Coaching, on the other hand, is a more collaborative process, helping people take ownership over their own learning and creating a culture of accountability.


Follow these three tips for improving your management coaching skills, and your employees will feel more empowered to identify and overcome obstacles at work.

1.      Ask questions.

Remember, you are guiding the learning process, not giving orders or instructions. This technique takes time, so go slowly and be patient. When coaching employees to solve a problem, ask specific questions and give them sufficient time to think about their responses. Then ask more questions to help them work through the next steps.

Resist the temptation to jump in and tell them what they should do. They are learning to make their own choices, which is far more beneficial for your team in the long run. Discuss their decisions at the end of the exercise and offer alternative options if necessary. With practice, they will become more confident in problem solving on their own and you will have greater trust in their abilities.


 2.      Let people make mistakes.

You should clearly intervene if you are concerned that your employees’ actions will result in legal, ethical or safety ramifications, but for many everyday situations, it is helpful to step back and let them take the wheel. Hands-on experience is the best way to learn.

Employees will have to evaluate real problems and formulate solutions using the management training courses and coaching you have already provided. Sometimes they will make mistakes, but they will take ownership of them and learn how to avoid the same errors in the future. When they succeed, they will be proud that they earned the victory.


 3.      Find learning opportunities.

One of the most difficult and valuable management coaching skills is the ability to take advantage of learning opportunities in a non-critical way. Coaching is not lecturing or reprimanding employees; it is helping them find productive ways of handling difficult situations.

If you need to give feedback on how employees solved a problem, listen to the whole story and reflect on how it could have been managed better. Then start a conversation with the employees involved, asking what worked and what they would do differently next time. Guide the discussion, but allow them to take the lead on evaluating past events and lessons they can take away for future situations. They should leave the conversation feeling positive about what they learned, not criticized for mistakes they made.  Giving effective feedback is an integral part of EDSI’s course, Communicating to Manage Performance.


What management coaching skills do you find most effective? Add your tips in the comments below.

Find more valuable coaching resources here.

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