As a leader, you may find yourself tempted to carry out tasks yourself rather than delegate, because it’s simply quicker and easier to do so.
You may find you’re giving instructions and telling your team what to do rather than relying on them to use their own skills and initiative. Does this sound familiar?
It’s a trap that many of us fall into. But it serves only to perpetuate a dependence on you to take on and hang on to more responsibilities than you should. As you become increasingly busy and caught up in day-to-day duties, you’ll likely think you are too busy to coach and there isn’t time to spend developing and enabling others. Maybe it’s time to think again.
Here are three good reasons why leaders should recognise that coaching their team members can actually be a valuable way of spending their time. It will reap rewards, and much more quickly than you might expect.
1) Coaching gives leaders a great return on investment
Effective coaching is about empowerment, rather than directive leadership. It helps people to grow by building new competencies, boosting confidence and increasing motivation. All of this fuels their independence and leads to better individual performance.
Rather than ‘micro managing’ your team, by empowering them your time is freed up to focus on the important decisions a leader should be taking, and on taking your team forward.
2) It can be part of daily interactions
Coaching doesn't mean adding extra time into your schedule. Instead, you can change how you use your one-to-ones, team meetings and daily conversations.
You don't have to call these conversations 'coaching' in order to take a coaching approach. If a team member brings you a problem, be it a technical issue, issues with a colleague or a question of prioritisation, help them and challenge them to take ownership and solve their own problems, rather than giving them solutions. That's coaching in a nutshell.
Think of it this way. Every time you help a team member take their own decisions and actions rather than coming to you, you have helped them grow, motivated them and reduced their dependency on you and your time. Everybody wins.
3) Change can happen quickly
Last but not least, it's worth considering whether you are effective when you are coaching. There is a big misconception that coaching is a slow process. Yet to do it effectively, you need only to have the right mindset and skills.
A little training in the art of coaching can set you on the right path to becoming a successful and accomplished coach. The good news is, the more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it, as you see the benefits it brings.
Good coaching can be very effective. On our courses we talk about our 'water cooler' coaching method, teaching participants to turn a throw-away comment into an opportunity to help a colleague help themselves, in less than five minutes.
It's a great example of how powerful coaching can be, and how often you can use coaching techniques to nurture your team to become more resourceful, able and competent – all skills I’m sure you’d love to have in abundance.
My view is any business leader who is serious about getting the best out of themselves and their team cannot afford to turn their back on coaching. It can provide a return on investment that repays itself again and again.
Ultimately, it will afford you the time to focus on the important aspects of looking after your business, while knowing the team around you is performing at their best.