Becoming a coaching manager doesn’t happen by proclamation or all at once. It takes an incredible amount of work, effort, and time. It also requires positive long-term commitment.
If you create frequent, brief, mostly positive, coaching opportunities, then your employees are more likely to be highly motivated.
It is important for managers to be in touch with their direct reports as individuals and as employees. A coaching relationship allows for this. To be successful, the employee needs to feel psychologically safe when talking with their manager. According to David Rock’s SCARF model for collaborating with & influencing others, managers need to be mindful of these 5 domains: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness .
The following table summarizes the SCARF Model:
While keeping SCARF in the forefront of your mind, coaching moments are focused on what a manager needs from their employee AND what the employee needs from their manager. Sessions should be structured weekly; scheduled in advance; and limited to 15 minutes. It can be done in person or by phone. These can be done separately or as part of other one-to-one meetings – as long as a portion of the time is devoted to what employees need. Additionally, both parties should be accountable for holding these meetings: employees should be encouraged to confirm and remind the manager of coaching moments. They should also be encouraged to schedule additional coaching moments when needed.
For the coaching moments to truly motivate your employees, use the following approach:
- It’s not about who is right; it is about making a difference
- It is a 2-way dialogue, not a dictate
- Focus on future, not the past
- Ask for and listen to the other person’s ideas
- Try not to prove the other wrong
Follow this structure at every coaching moments session:
- Start with Humble Inquiry using Curious Listening
- Appreciate using Ongoing Regard
- Provide Effective Feedback
- Test Assumptions using The Ladder of Inference
- Provide Clear Expectations
- Deconstruct the Conversation
Questions to Deepen Thinking
Do you consider yourself a coaching manager?
What will happen if you make an effort to cultivate psychologically safety for your employees?
Can you use 1:1 your time with employees differently?
Rock, D. (2008). SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others. Neuroleadership.org
Goldsmith, M. (2015). Six Questions for Better Coaching. Talent Quarterly (#5, The Feedback issue), pp. 8-12, 29-30.
Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2005) Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and
Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion.
Harvard Business School Press.
Leadership Revolution: The Coaches Are Coming!
Ongoing Regard: Boost the Power of Your Thank You
The DOs & DON’Ts of Curious Listening: Tell Me More
Build Empathy into Your Interactions Part 2: Climbing the Ladder of Inference
Accountability Leads to Innovation: 5 Requirements for Setting Clear Expectations
Build Empathy into Your Interactions Part 3: Deconstruct Your Conversations
The Two Faces of Feedback: Reinforcing & Corrective
Want Better Feedback Conversations? Prepare the Receiver