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Lead Your Team Managing

3 Reasons You Should Be a Coach, Not a Boss

what kind of coworker are you
Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

As a manager, it's your responsibility to encourage growth, confidence and ambition in your employees, the way a coach would for their team. However, only 25 percent of organizations have a strong coaching culture, according to research by the International Coach Federation.

The recent survey found that 79 percent of respondents believe their workers value coaching, but many companies are not practicing this type of management. This is a prevalent issue and a common reason for low employee engagement, performance and retention.

"Instead of having a directive style, a manager or leader who uses coaching skills fosters an environment of collaboration and open, direct communication," said Magdalena Mook, CEO and executive director of the International Coach Federation. "At the same time, the relationship between the employee and the boss remains managerial in its nature."

Don't treat your employees like they're less important than you. Instead, train them to acknowledge their value and potential. Here are three reasons why you should be a coach, not a boss.

According the ICF survey, organizations with strong coaching cultures have 8 percent more highly engaged employees than those with weaker coaching cultures.

If your employees feel like they're repeating the same arduous tasks rather than being trusted with new projects, they won't be engaged. It's important that you coach them through new experiences so they have the chance to learn and grow.

Mook stated that companies where management is supportive, collaborative and open – traits of a good coach as cited by respondents – fuel an environment where employees are engaged, satisfied, positive and productive.

"Coaching is one of the instruments that we see can really boost performance and also help realize potential for people," said Alejandro Campos, head of talent management and organizational development at Continental Tire Worldwide.

Campos added that his company is moving from top-down management to a more collaborative approach to become a more progressive and attractive employer.

"The minute you expose people to any type of coaching … people immediately understand the value," said Alison Hooker, retired chief talent development officer at EY Americas.

If an employee isn't confident, they likely won't take risks or go beyond what is expected of them. This not only stunts their professional growth, it also prevents your organization from reaping the benefits of their full potential.

Coaching helps identify each worker's strengths and weaknesses, building on and confronting them in a way that makes sense to the individual and the team.

"Self-confidence comes from feeling ownership over your life, your choices and your future," said Mook. "Because it puts your employees in the driver's seat when it comes to setting and achieving their goals, coaching promotes this sense of empowerment and leads to marked increases in self-esteem and self-confidence."

When your workers feel good about themselves, they'll channel that emotion at work and use their self-awareness to identify the best path for them.

Especially when managing new employees, it's crucial that you are coaching and developing, engaging and inspiring, and applying emotional intelligence, according to the research. This prepares workers for future roles and promotions, inspiring them to advance not only in your company, but in their careers.

"Both partnering with a professional coach practitioner and receiving coaching-skills training themselves can help employees nurture these competencies," said Mook. "Furthermore, because coaching is an individualized process, it can help future managers explore their own areas for growth, address blind spots and pursue professional goals on route to the next level of their career."

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Purch B2B staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. The only time Sammi doesn't play it safe is when she's writing. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.