People used to believe that leaders were leaders because of their titles. We know that is not true. A leader is one who inspires, is a visionary and one to take action. With today’s sales teams the sales staff are looking for more than someone who tells them what to do or threatens if their numbers are not met. They want a more consultative approach to leadership where the manager nurtures a relationship with the sales staff, listens to their needs, and provides guidance so they can be successful. Understanding when to take a coaching approach over a managing mentality can make a huge difference in your effectiveness as a leader. To be an effective leader you need to master both leadership styles; the key is to know when to wear which hat.
Taking a coaching approach has been shown to be extremely beneficial for organizations. Studies have shown how coaching can help an organization achieve better business results. Organizations with upper/senior management leaders who effectively and frequently coached their employees improved their business results by over 20% as compared to those who never coached employees.
Here are 4 steps to identify good coaching behavior:
1. Learn to Ask vs. Tell
More often than not, when employees are assigned a task without an explanation as to how it will affect the big picture or end goal, the task just becomes another item for them to cross of their to-do lists. Of course, if you hire great people, they expect to be engaged. And engaged people yearn to know why they are performing tasks. They want to know the business reasons that drive what they do. And this type of understanding breeds motivation, results and, in the end, satisfaction, and ultimately, satisfied clients.
2. Learn to Build the Relationship
When people feel connected to you, even the most difficult conversations seem less threatening. That’s why building relationships and trust with employees is a top priority, especially when taking on a coaching mentality. So, what are some things you can do to establish trust and build strong relationships with employees?
First, define clear expectations and objectives for each team member. Next, remember to use good judgment and be patient in all interactions with employees. And finally, follow through with any promises or agreements you make with your team.
As you do this, you will start to see team members come to you for guidance and assistance more often. This shows that they not only trust you as a leader, but value your opinion and expertise.
3. Learn to Listen and Provide Assessment
A key role that you’re going to play as a coach is helping team members to gain self-awareness and insight on where they are now and where they want to go. You want to be able to listen to what your employees have to say and provide timely and useful feedback and guidance on the matter.
Then, when you provide evaluation of their work and progress and give them guidance based on where they want to go and where they should be headed, you’ll be seen as a mentor to your team where you’re supporting and coaching them to succeed rather than simply managing their work. You’ll also be seen as an active participant and not as an observant supervisor.
4. Learn to Set Goals for Your Team
Being an effective coach is about you and your team driving for results and achieving goals. As the coach, it’s your job to help your employees set meaningful goals and identify specific steps and objectives for meeting those goals. Then set up a clear accountability structure that’s focused around the actions and the outcomes from the goals you have previously outlined. By doing this, you will help keep your team focused on working towards achieving the set goal.
The coaching approach also exhibits great role-modeling to the overall team. Working in collaboration with an individual to guide them in the right direction can rub off! Before you know it, team members tend to coach and help one another and everyone benefits through the teamwork.