5 key coaching skills for managers

Management and leadership are changing. Gone are the days of asserting your authority and simply telling others what to do! Now, in order to be a successful manager, you need to start thinking more like a coach – asking how you can best support the people in your team to develop and achieve their full potential.

To achieve this style of leadership, you must exhibit certain key skills. These will enable you to effectively motivate your team, improving both employee satisfaction and productivity. Here are five of the most important ones to work on:

  • Listening

Being a good listener is vital, yet many people fail to work on this key skill. It’s far more than just hearing what the other person is saying to you. Active listening also involves picking up on cues, such as body language and tone of voice, so that you fully understand the meaning behind someone’s words (or lack of words). The aim is to encourage your staff to be completely open and honest with you so that you both get the most out of the conversation.

  • Empathy

Poor management can lead to people feeling judged, whereas coaching must involve empathy. When discussing a difficult topic – such as an employee’s recent drop in productivity or poor time-keeping – try to see it from their point of view. The idea is to work together towards a solution, not blindly impose your opinion on the other person. Changing your company’s management style can take time, so working with a consultancy that specializes in coaching leaders & teams can be hugely helpful for developing all the skills discussed here.

  • Communication

A key part of coaching is giving and receiving feedback, so strong communication skills are a must. Feedback must be given in a non-judgmental and constructive manner so that people don’t feel personally attacked or heavily criticised. Another effective strategy is the use of open-ended questions, which allow staff to direct the conversation and express their ideas and opinions more freely. Don’t forget to focus on your own body language and tone of voice when speaking to others.

  • Curiosity

Staying curious throughout your career is hugely important if you want to succeed as a manager (or, indeed, any other position). It can be tempting to think that you know everything already, but this is never the case! So be open to new ideas and change. Keep asking how you can improve, and acknowledge that such discoveries may come from anywhere and anyone. Of course, you should also encourage your team to do the same!

  • Positivity

Optimism is a vital part of being a good leader. If you only focus on weaknesses and failure, your team will quickly become discouraged, and you’ll almost certainly see a drop in both morale and productivity. Always strive to help employees recognise their strengths and harness them to their maximum ability. Likewise, when times get tough due to events outside your control, positivity is crucial for keeping everyone on track and enthusiastic – which ultimately will enable your team to weather any storm and come out the other side stronger and more cohesive.

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I am Daniel Owner and CEO of &

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