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Want Better Management Skills? Avoid These 4 Deadly Coaching Mistakes

Kristen Harcourt Aug 24, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Even the best managers make mistakes, but some mistakes are more common than others when coaching employees. If you’re making these four common, but deadly, coaching mistakes your management skills are suffering. The good news is they’re not hard to avoid, if you know what to watch for.

An effective coach – one that equips their staff with the tools, knowledge and opportunities they need to grow and develop – can have a huge impact on the people they coach, the department’s output and the organization’s success. And, while coaching is simple on some levels, it’s fraught with opportunities to derail even the best-intentioned efforts.

One of the most important elements of coaching is having the awareness to know the impact you’re having on the other person. If you can catch yourself making these mistakes and correct them, you’ll see an almost immediate improvement in your ability to effectively coach people and grow your own management skills.

Avoid these coaching mistakes!

Talking instead of listening. Anyone who wants to be a good coach is doing it because they want to help people. But if you’re too busy trying to pass on your wisdom, you won’t hear someone tell you what they really need. Every individual is different. They have different personalities, different ways of communicating and different needs. You have to listen to hear what those needs are. You can give yourself an advantage here by understanding their temperament and adapting to better connect.

New Call-to-action Counseling before understanding. If you go into a coaching conversation focused on your agenda you might be able to check an item off your to-do list, but you’ll miss a larger opportunity. Put your agenda aside and spend time trying to get a better understanding of what your employee’s goals are.

Solving problems. How can solving problems be a bad thing? Isn’t that the idea? It is, but coaching is about helping people to solve their own problems. That’s how people learn and grow. If you keep giving your employees the answers, all you’re really doing is ensuring that they’ll keep coming to you every time they have one. They don’t grow and you don’t have any time to do your own work.

Making them understand. I once had a boss who would take great care to explain something to me, like a university professor might. If I asked a question, or suggested another course of action, he would re-explain himself to me so I would understand his was the better way. The only thing I really learned from him was not to share ideas if I wanted meetings to ever end. When coaching, you need to ask questions to help people clarify their thinking and help them get where they need to go.

If you can catch yourself when you’re making these common coaching mistakes – because we all make them – you can improve your management skills and have a more positive impact on your employees’ growth.

One way to improve your chances of coaching success is by coaching the whole person and taking the time to get to know what makes them tick. You can simplify this process if your company uses behavioral assessments, by using the reports to understand each person’s temperament and how best to approach them. If you want to test this out, give our Manager’s Coaching Cheat Sheet a try. It provides some effective ways to approach different personality types that McQuaig assessments can uncover.

What coaching mistakes have you seen in the workplace?

Image courtesy of Flicker CC and andyinindy2

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee retention

Kristen Harcourt

Written by Kristen Harcourt

Kristen Harcourt is a highly trusted, creative and collaborative advisor who is passionate about people. She really enjoys helping companies make the right people decisions to achieve long term productivity.