Ed Brzychcy

By Ed Brzychcy

Why Your Managers Need a Coach

Why Your Managers Need a Coach 150 150 Edward Brzychcy

Hiring an outside coach is a big deal. There is a thriving, $12B coaching industry in the U.S., with a majority of that industry concentrating on the executive levels of organizations.

This focus is clear because executives are the high-level people in businesses, they have the internal attention, the outside eyes, and the largest share of responsibility towards driving the success of the practice. In short, high-level players get high-level investments.

Coaching is a critical investment for every organization. After all, personal development and growth should be a sizeable strategic focus for businesses, especially with today’s dynamic, competitive, and challenging labor market. Recruiting, growing, and retaining the best people for their jobs should always be a strategic priority.

The challenge arises in looking into organizations, and their personnel growth tracks, where identifying the high-performance, high-potential players becomes murky. After all, we can all agree that soft-skills such as communications, working with others, and character are critical to leadership development. However, these ideas are rarely tested, developed, and measured as potential leaders are growing. It often comes down to a “gut feeling” on the part of the evaluator or supervisor.

“A growing gap between strategy and execution exists.”

 

Middle management can be one of the most challenging positions in business, and a lack of support can only make it more so. Balancing strategy and execution is a difficult task, simply because it boils down to working on potentially conflicting priorities. It comes down to the questions of how can one manage the needs of their teams, support their people, and grow their organization while at the same time making sure that all strategic priorities and metrics are met (or ideally exceeded).

These situations are where the outside coach brings in the most significant value. Personal development is crucial, but when a middle manager has a problem, where do they go for unbiased and objective advice on solving delicate, and sensitive, issues in their team? While all leadership should be great coaches, it can be challenging to remove this unconscious bias, especially when a supervisory-level responsibility is in place.

Many people don’t like talking to their bosses because they worry that bringing up problems can lead to an inherent bias in future performance reviews.

Also, direct supervisors are parallel to any problems and can see things through a similar lens. Homogeneous thinking can become the doom of any organization; as the more in-line everyone becomes, the more difficult out-of-the-box or truly innovative thought becomes. Innovation is taking old experiences and finding new ways to look at them and new ways to implement the lessons from them. This naturally becomes more difficult as more people have similar experiences.

The power of coaching helps to close these gaps. First, an outside coach brings an unbiased, purely objective viewpoint into a situation. It provides a space for managers and supervisors to vent and speak about their problems without the (often unconscious, unfounded, or unintended) fear of repercussions. At the same time, the advice, critiques, and thoughts that coaches provide come from an outside view, from a genuinely different experience pool, allowing for more innovative problem solving and more easily uncovering the many angles to today’s complex businesses issues.

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