Coaching: 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 person shouting directions? Do you see a football team with a person pacing back and forth calling out the names of the players?
Coaching is no longer reserved to sports. It is a major concept in leadership and management.
Coaching is one of the six emotional leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman. As a leadership style, coaching is employed when the members of a team are competent and motivated, but do not have a single idea of the long-term goals of an organization.
Coaching involves two levels, namely: team and individual. Team coaching makes members work together. In a group of individuals, not everyone share the same level of 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 coach helps the members level their expectations.
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.
So, why is coaching becoming a popular leadership style?
Individual coaching is an example of situational leadership at work. One-on-one mentoring builds up member’s confidence by affirming good performance via regular feedback. It increases competence by helping the member assess his/her strengths and weaknesses towards career planning and professional development.
The direct supervisor gives more defined tasks and regular feedback to the new staff. He then gradually lessens coaching, directing, and supporting roles in favor of delegating as competence and confidence increase.
Excellence is a product of habitual good practice. Regular meetings and constructive feedback are important in establishing habits. Team members catch the habit of constantly assessing themselves individually for their respective strengths and areas for improvement.
Think of a musical orchestra. Each member plays a different instrument. In order to achieve harmony, individual members polish their respective pieces, aside from practicing as an ensemble. Consequently, they improve individually and as a team.
A coaching leader balances the attainment of immediate targets with long-term goals of an organization. By constantly communicating the vision through formal and informal conversations, the members are inspired and motivated.
Leadership by example is important in coaching. A coaching leader loses credibility when he/she does not practice what he/she preaches. This means that a coaching leader should be well organized and highly competent, communicate openly, encourage feedback, and have a clear idea of the organization’s vision-mission-goals.
Team members catch the same good practices and attitudes of the coaching leader, turning them into coaching leaders themselves. If a member experiences good coaching, he/she is 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 requires physical, emotional, and mental fitness since it involves individual and team coaching. Your members expect you to be the last one to give up or bail out in any situation especially during times of crises.
Coaching entails investing time on each individual member and the whole team. The responsibilities are greater since you are also developing future coaches, as well. Indeed, coaching is the way to go in team management.