You’ve been managing for quite some time now and you’re good at it.  You think ahead.  You have difficult conversations.  You champion your direct reports.  You meet your goals and deadlines and your direct reports respect you.

So why add anything new? Why change things up?  

Because coaching works.

You don’t need to throw out your management tools or give up on everything you’ve been taught. Definitely don’t stop doing what you feel is working well.  But, if you’re a little bored, feel your people could be more productive or are ready to shake things up a bit… why not fold in some coaching with your management style?

Coach Me Quick tips for adding coaching to your management style:

Let someone else be the expert:  As the team leader and the “boss,” you are seen as the expert.  It’s easy for everyone to defer to you and for you to shoulder the burden of “having all the answers.”  Aren’t you tired of always playing that role? Try something new.  

When you’re asked to solve a problem, even if you know the answer, start asking open questions.  Be curious.  Ask until your team finds the answer. This may take patience, but in the long run, you’re training people to find answers without you.  How great is that?

Practice presence: it can be difficult to be truly present when talking to your team members.  When someone knocks on your door or grabs you in the hallway, it’s challenging to stop and give your full attention. It requires you to switch focus and possibly derail plans.

In some cases, you may have to stop and negotiate a time to speak later. However, if you can afford a slight scheduling adjustment to give your full attention (5 minutes is more than enough) give it a try.  By being present for 5 minutes, you create the opportunity to build trust and confidence in your direct report.  You also have a chance to hear and address her concern more directly than you might if you were multi-tasking or distracted. In the long run, that’s probably a time saver.

Focus on solutions: Help your team re-direct blame-centered thinking.  When you hear people beginning to protect themselves and blame others, suggest a session to brainstorm solutions.  Once the crisis is over, have a productive debrief so that any issues and challenges can be resolved.   

Create action plans for “S.M.A.R.T.” goals:  Work with your team to develop SPECIFIC goals.

Create a way to MEASURE success. (How will they know they achieved the result?)

Make sure the goals are ACHIEVABLE (challenging but not impossible.)

Take the time to help your team connect RELEVANCE to their goals.  (why is it important?)

Attach a TIME-BOUND element to each goal and a structure for making sure it’s achieved.

By adding coaching to your management style you could potentially delegate responsibility, enjoy more time with the people you lead, work in a solutions-based environment and work S.M.A.R.T.

Why not give it a try and see what happens?