The Coaching Manager

Author

Sam McCormick

Vice President 

Published
Monday 22 October 2018
Leadership

"Employees are a company’s greatest asset!" A popular phrase for most organisations, but one that perhaps resonates loudest in outsourcing due to the nature of our business.

 

The phrase of being the greatest asset is not merely representative of a sense of entitlement brought from the growing population of purpose-driven Millennials as often publicised. [1]

 

Instead, by recognising that firms have evolved to succeed in the Information Age from the traditional corporate view, the attitude that employees are easily expendable and replaceable is a distant memory.  Whilst unemployment statistics are at record lows, the competition amongst firms to attract and retain the ‘right’ candidates proves increasingly challenging. Organisational culture and branding are now much more than buzz words – they are the foundation of success.

Employees are ‘appreciating assets’; the longer they stay with an organisation, the more aligned they become to the culture, and therefore become more productive with higher quality outputs. In the Age of Technology, employees also add human value to a company’s brand through social media, as well as the traditional word-of-mouth [2]. 

To keep up with the organisational shift, the characteristics of the successful manager have also evolved to develop and retain employees, especially those who contribute positively to the firm’s culture.  Therefore, we ask, ‘Is a core competency of a team manager to be an effective coach [3]?’ The table below shows the impact of coaching effectiveness and suggests that coaching should not be overlooked:

 

Figure 1 [3]

The Threats and Opportunities of Coaching

To begin dissecting our Threats and Opportunities, we refer to the below phrases:             

 

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?”

CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

Increasingly often, we read of successful organisations investing in their employees through development [4]. Surveys show that development through continued learning, specifically SME (Subject Matter Expertise) and leadership skills including coaching, are most valued amongst our ever-growing, ambitious workforce. Employers are rightfully mindful of ‘Return of Investment’, as noted by the CFO in the above business phrase. However, by neglecting an individual’s growth, the cost to quality, culture and employee turnover can be both financial and reputational. We simplify the calculation of turnover cost below to support the decision-making process:

 

Figure 2 [5]

Could the CFO be right, and we are investing in employees that are repeatedly leaving? An organisation investing in employees continues to be a differentiator as demonstrated, but there are other causes of employee turnover. These include a poor environment, company culture, the sentiment of the organisation in the industry and the pride of employees. So what part does the manager play in everything? 

Coaching will encourage an employee to identify their own career goals, development opportunities and commitment to long-term success.  We will explore the characteristics of a successful manager that combines day-to-day management and the longevity of an employee in an organisation.

 

Coaching – Is it a role for a manager? When does management become leadership?

Unsurprisingly, managers are a primary factor to an employee’s engagement levels. It is regularly overlooked that, in an average week, the average active time spent in the workplace is greater than that at home. We therefore may consider, ‘Would we stay in a relationship which is controlling, lacks empathy and has no sense of purpose?’ 

Employees don’t quit their job, they quit their boss!!

 

'Leadership is not about being in charge.  Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge’ – Simon Sinek.

Therefore, managers do carry the responsibility of their own output and that of their team - ‘Business as Usual’. Employees today are ambitious, crave development and will consider alternatives in a competitive market.  We therefore need to equip management with the applicable tools to support and take care of employees through their development journey. Whilst we as a company may have the most luxurious train, if there are no tracks, it’s a wasted investment.

 

Through research of successful managers, the term ‘management’ evolves into ‘leadership’, as demonstrated by statements such as ‘Leading with Humility’ [6]. Successful management includes the following behaviours:

  • Putting people first

  • Listening

  • Identifying individuals’ goals

  • Giving credit where and when due

  • Delegating new responsibilities

  • Admitting mistakes

  • Authenticity and empathy

A definition of the application of coaching is ‘Professional coaching uses a range of communication skills (such as targeted restatements, listening, questioning, clarifying, etc.) to help clients shift their perspectives and thereby discover different approaches to achieve their goals.’  These skills can be used in almost all types of coaching. The overlap between the successful ‘Leader’ and a 'Coach' is therefore evident.  Through coaching, we support our employees through their own discovery and can lead them to their own goals and associated actions.

What qualifies a Manager as a ‘Coach’?

Fortunately, there is no trigger point that defines a 'Coach'. Here the term 'Coach' is derived from the verb form ‘to coach’, where we can quickly identify the value added through coaching behaviour which becomes more effective with experience. There is a lot of coaching training available and the concept can become overwhelming with coaching contracts, rules of engagement and detailed documentation. To introduce coaching as a culture, each conversation in the workplace becomes a coaching opportunity where the level of discussion evolves through developed trust.

 

Methodologies that have proven effective have been coaching circles, in-the-moment coaching and leader observation and feedback. Through practice, a manager or leader becomes more capable of hosting a developmental conversation, adding to the employer/employee bond.

 

Summary

Having read through the benefits of adding coaching to your skill set, as a manager it may be considered ‘Where do I get the time to extend my one-to-one meeting?’ and ‘I need the task done now'. It may seem easier to tell the employee to do the task, rather than explaining why. Both points are common, with the following considerations overlooked:

  • What is there to gain by investing time?

  • What tasks or responsibilities may be delegated?

  • How much time is invested in training a back-fill hire due to unhappy employees leaving?

  • How can I grow?  Who will take my responsibilities?

The exciting prospect of coaching are the moments of clarity achieved with team members followed by their personal growth, particularly at times when customer demands are high, requiring additional effort to reach a deadline. With appropriate coaching, an experienced team and the required support, this target becomes increasingly achievable.

This brings us back to the human value to our organisation, which encourages brand adders and carriers. Today’s competitive market requires differentiators and is fast becoming the ‘new normal’.  Coaching is an activity that stimulates differentiators by provoking new ideas, challenging the status quo and empowering teams to realise their individual and collective success path.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35460401

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/25/how-employees-add-human-value-to-your-brand/#39027bd518b5

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/joefolkman/2015/02/19/5-business-payoffs-for-being-an-effective-coach/#2b9a7ee42afb

[4] https://www.fastcompany.com/3054547/six-companies-that-are-redefining-performance-management

[5] https://www.thehrdigest.com/cost-of-employee-turnover-vs-retention-proposition/

[6] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/employees-dont-quit-job-boss-brigette-hyacinth/

 

About FinTrU

 

Founded in December 2013, FinTrU is a multi-award winning financial services company that is committed to giving local talent the opportunity to work on a global stage with the largest international investment banks. FinTrU provides its clients with high quality, cost-effective, near-shore resourcing solutions. FinTrU’s products are: Legal, Risk, Compliance, KYC, Operations and Consultancy. Its clients are all Tier 1 Investment Banks based in London, New York, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Paris. FinTrU currently employs 330 staff at its two Belfast city centre offices and Derry/Londonderry. 

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