Chuck Reynolds
Chief Performance Officer, Excel Group

 Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it
- Marian Anderson



5 Habits Managers must break to be Effective Coaches...
Without question, these are interesting times for organizations. Managers are challenged with the mantra of "doing more with less", and one significant tool for achieving that goal has to be coaching staff for greater productivity. While most of us prioritize to-do items, we rarely "posteriorize" - that is, take the time to reflect on those things we should not be doing. Below is a listing of 5 habits that actually undermine the goal of coaching for superior productivity. These are habits you need to break if you want to coach your team to success. 

See the video version of this enote

1) Stop Solving the Problems of Others  
Too often, managers fail to realize that they are training their direct reports to dump monkeys on their backs. Coach them to solve the problems themselves.
2) Stop Telling - Start Asking
Building on the problem solving, stop telling your Direct Reports (DRs) what to do - instead, coach them by asking for their ideas and solution options. Sometimes it's as simple as asking "What do you think you should do about it?" or "What do you suggest to resolve this?". This engages the DR by making them part of the solution.
3) Stop Multi-tasking and Listen!
From observing thousands of 360 Feedback processes for managers, it is clear that managers need to be focused listeners. This means fully engaged listening, without the distractions of phone calls or checking emails. How valued do you feel when you're talking to someone who doesn't look you in the eye - but instead reads their emails as you speak? (Perhaps while saying, "I'm listening"!)
4) Stop Talking to the Mirror
If you are a manager and you are communicating with all of Direct Reports the same way, then you're not being effective - guaranteed. Effective coaches and leaders recognize that there are different behavioral styles, and they coach or communicate according to the listener's style, not their own. If you don't know the styles of your team, you are guaranteed to be mismanaging some of them unknowingly. Check out our team page for more information.
5) Let go of Control
Many managers strive to control the behavior of their Direct Reports. That is mismanagement that undermines engagement. Good coaches and leaders coach staff at the level of choice, not the level of action or behavior. If your DRs were hired well in the first place, the most productive approach is to coach staff for alignment so that they want to achieve the performance that the job requires. Micro managers are not as productive.
How many of these habits do you need to break? Build your team's performance - replace a bad habit this week.

The preceding was an excerpt from the upcoming e-book, Coach to Success - How Managers can engage their staff and lead superior performance.
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