The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential,” which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in their life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.
Coaching is a very powerful management tool these days. The 21st century has witnessed an explosive growth in this trend, wherein, more and more leaders are turning towards group and individual coaching to elicit greater team involvement and generate a far more productive and motivated workforce than ever before.
Here are six reasons why team coaching should be your top priority:
- Facilitates the underachievers: Coaching enables clarity and promotes accountability. It provides team members an opportunity to realize their abilities to their fullest potential. It also enables them to pause and take a break from their existing frame of mind and look at things from a fresh perspective. This may require putting forward several coaching hours before the team member gets back on track.
- Encourages self-reflection and problem solving: Asking your team what they want to do regarding a particular grievance while taking into account their interests and preferences can help them think and reflect. Questions like “How do you want to do this differently?” or “What can make you happy?” or “How can we make this better?” will allow your team members to start thinking from a different and fresh perspective. What’s more, next time they are in a similar situation, they might even learn to question themselves or others for solutions, in a similar fashion.
- Boosts creative thinking: Every time I coach a working professional, a question as simple as “What else can you do about this?” elicits a number of options which they ordinarily wouldn’t have come up with on their own. The resourcefulness that people exhibit when you start questioning them with “What else? What more?” or having them complete thoughts such as, “Tell me two ways in which….” will surely surprise you. Of course, this kind of response cannot be expected straightaway. You need to establish a relationship of trust and credibility. For that to happen, the team must believe that you are attentive and genuinely curious about what they are saying or showing you. Moreover, know when to stop. If a team member is hesitant to come up with their own answers, then, with the appropriate permission, consider stepping into the role of a mentor instead. Sometimes, people lack the confidence or emotional strength to devise their own plans. They need you to guide them. However, after the initial direction, switch back to your coaching hat.
- Empowers the team and builds their self-confidence: By asking the team to come up with their own solutions, rather than providing them with yours, you are making them responsible as well as empowered. Sometimes your team may need help, and it might work better if you could prompt them with a few suggestions of your own before they get started. Eventually, your team will learn to contribute their own ideas. You will then have to filter the workable ones by evaluating the pros and cons of each proposition presented so that they can learn to distinguish between the viable and not so viable ideas. This involvement from start to finish will, in turn, build their confidence. Do not forget to appreciate each good idea with lots of praise and encouragement and pay close to attention to your facial expressions so as not to show disapproval and thwart group efforts.
- Promotes self-esteem: This will be a natural outcome of empowerment and self-confidence. Once your team starts resolving problems confidently and successfully, its self-esteem will be on the rise. When they see you repeatedly being appreciative, doing positive talk and encouraging and supporting their solutions and their implementations, they will grow their esteem by tenfold.
Overall, coaching will equip your team with effective tools to make positive life changes. Even small changes in how a team member thinks can have a huge impact in the long run. They work with you to overcome challenges by providing their own creative solutions and, ergo, feel more confident and empowered in their own skin. Empowered team members are definitely more happy and relaxed. Who wouldn’t agree? A happy team means a happier you!