Becoming a manager for the first time can be somewhat intimidating. Many folks tend to feel as if you have been “dumped over the wall” to where your team eagerly (or not) awaits your leadership “magic”.
I’ve coached quite a few clients regarding these fears so permit me to share some fear-busters that may be useful for those of you in this situation, or soon to be there. It’s part of a coaching process now called “on-boarding”.
— The ‘cultural fit’ between newly recruited or promoted manager and the team, department, division or enterprise is heightened.
— Better control of their personal lives.
— Expectations are higher than ever for results, but the willingness to wait for results is at an all time low.
To reduce these failures, organizations must encourage, and fund, a coaching relationship for the newly recruited or promoted person.
‘On-boarding’ or ‘assimilation’ coaches are helping company leaders and top performers manage the transition from day one — some even before they start their new role. And this type of coaching has increased during recent years, because more employers are paying coaching fees.
Coaches assist clients in clarifying expectations, developing action plans, uncovering hurdles and even modifying their own behavior. Leaders want support in dealing with the challenges of change. Just like line workers facing outdated skills, this trend of either becoming obsolete or technologically challenged is fearful. New leaders don’t have to fake it when they have access to a coach who helps them weekly with their challenges.
Who needs an executive coach? . . . maybe you do.
FORTUNE magazine reports that one reader said, “I went into the coaching experience kicking and screaming, at the insistence of my boss. And what an eye-opener it turned out to be. I won’t even go into the grim details of bad management habits I had unthinkingly developed in my 14-year career up to that point – but I will say that since I was ‘cured’ by 12 weeks of pretty intense coaching, I’ve been promoted three times.”
Many people “go it alone” because they think that everyone succeeds or fails on the basis of individual efforts and abilities. This myth can be so powerful they don’t realize that success is really based on our relationships with others as much as it is on us – and their usual reaction to this is denial.
Coaching provides leaders with a non-judgmental sounding board to think through key issues. That’s why I named my practice “ThinkTank Coaching”. Your interaction with a coach is in addition to, and does not replace, existing relationships with the other key stakeholders and trusted advisors or directors. The key advantage of working with a coach is that there are no ‘strings attached’ to conversations – like those that exist when the parties have on-going formal and business relationships.
The typical executive/management coaching relationship contains two elements:
1. Many of my clients complete personal assessments, usually referred to as 360 degree assessments. I sometimes use ‘off-the-shelf’ products, but mostly I’ve found that there is more value in personally conduct open, honest and confidential interviews with the client’s key ‘stakeholders’, which may even include family members.
These interviews can provide information to the client on not only “Who am I?”, but more importantly, “How do others see me?” and “How do I relate to others?”. The process helps them discover the impact they have on others, and provides a ‘jump-start’ for the coaching relationship.
2. On-going telephone conversations, which sustain the client’s results. Usually, one, two or three calls each month is necessary to maintain the effectiveness.
A successful coaching relationship should result in clients who gain critical focus on the challenges and issues they face. This doesn’t come from the coach’s advice – the client gains clarity regarding their thinking about those things that impact the organization, its people and its customers.