For subscribers only

Why Coaching is the Way to Go in Team Management

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

One of the keys to leadership is recognizing that everybody has gifts and talents. A good leader will learn how to harness those gifts toward the same goal. - Ben Carson

When you hear the word coach, what comes first into your mind? Do you picture a basketball team with a man/woman shouting directions? Or a football team with a man/woman pacing to and for and calling out the players on Unsplash names?

Coaching is more than for sports teams; it is now one of the key concepts in leadership and management. Why is coaching popular?

I am coaching levels the playing field.

Coaching is one of the six emotional leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman. Moreover, it is a behavior or role that leaders enforce in the context of situational leadership. As a leadership style, coaching is used when the members of a group or team are competent and motivated but do not have an idea of the long-term goals of an organization. This involves two levels of coaching: team and individual. Team coaching makes members work together. In a group of individuals, not everyone may have shared the same level of competence and commitment to a goal. A group may be a mix of highly competent and moderately competent members with varying levels of responsibility. These differences can cause friction among the members. The coaching leader helps the members level their expectations. Also, the coaching leader manages differing perspectives so that the common goal succeeds over personal goals and interests. In a big organization, leaders need to align the staff values and goals with the organization to pursue long-term directions.

Coaching builds up confidence and competence.

Individual coaching is an example of situational leadership at work. It aims to mentor one-on-one, building up the members' confidence affirming superior performance during regular fee back, and increasing competence by helping the member assess their strengths and weaknesses towards career planning and professional development. Depending on the individual's level of competence and commitment, a leader may exercise more coaching behavior for the less-experienced members. Usually, this happens in the case of inexperienced staff. The direct supervisor gives more defined direction, holds regular feedback for the amateur team, and gradually lessens the amount of coaching, directing, and supporting roles to favor delegating as competence and confidence increase.

Coaching promotes individual and team excellence.

Excellence is a product of habitual good practice. The regularity of meetings and constructive feedback is essential in setting up habits. Members catch the habit of constantly assessing themselves for their strengths and areas for improvement that levs perceive what knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to reach team goals. In the process, they get individual excellence as well. An example is in the case of a musical orchestra: each member plays a different instrument. To achieve harmony of music from the other devices, musicians will polish their part in the piece, aside from practicing as an ensemble. Consequently, they improve individually as an instrument player.

Coaching develops a high commitment to common goals.

A coaching leader balances the attainment of immediate targets with long-term goals toward an organization's vision. As mentioned earlier, personal interests are kept in check with the alignment of individual goals with organizational or team goals. Constantly being inspired and motivated by continually communicating the vision through formal and informal conversations about team goals aligned with organizational goals and making an action plan to reach these goals can help sustain the increased motivation and commitment to the members' shared goals.

Coaching produces valuable leaders.

Leadership by example is essential in coaching. The coaching leader loses credibility when they cannot practice what they preach. This means that a coaching leader should be well organized, highly competent in their field, communicates openly and encourages feedback, and has a clear idea of the organization's vision-mission-goals. By vicarious and purposive learning, members catch the same good practices and attitudes from the coaching leader, turning them into coaching leaders themselves. If a member experiences good coaching, they are most likely to do the same things when entrusted with formal leadership roles.

Words of caution, though: coaching is just one of the styles of leadership. It can be done in combination with the other five emotional leadership styles depending on the profile of the emerging team. Moreover, coaching as a leadership style requires that you be physically, emotionally, and mentally fit for the time since it involves two levels of coaching: individual and team. Your members expect you to be the last one to give up or bail out in any situation, especially during times of crisis. A coaching leader must be conscious that coaching entails investing time in everyone and the whole team. Moreover, the responsibilities are greater since while you are coaching members, you are also developing future coaches.

Subscriber content only

To access this content and all of our unlimited content subscribe now