As I left a coaching session with a new manager last week, two items stood out. One was the courage of this new manager to step into the role after being a specialist for 20 years. Second, was their insistence that they have it all figured out in one week. As a coach, I was impressed by both intentions. This session caused me to reflect on the principles that would allow a new leader to be most impactful.
Below are three principles to consider when approaching a new leadership role –
Technical Challenge or Adaptive Challenge: A technical challenge can be learned by gaining a skill that has been previously taught. An adaptive challenge is much more nuanced, because it requires learning a new approach, changing a habit and interacting with others on a different level. My client faces an adaptive challenge brought on by a new role and new responsibilities. It is important for you to assess both for yourself and for those you lead whether the challenge is technical or adaptive.
Consider the challenge of delegating effectively. If it is a technical challenge for you then learning the technique will address the challenge by accessing previous knowledge. For example, watching a video on how to delegate. However, delegation could also be an adaptive challenge if there are environmental restraints or relational strains that impact the ability to delegate.
False Beliefs vs. True Beliefs: Our beliefs impact our behavior. My client’s belief that having it all figured out is not supporting the desire of becoming a great manager. A more realistic goal is to focus time with her team by giving feedback and holding them accountable. Demanding oneself to become omnicompetent will create frustration. A good question to ask yourself is “What beliefs are hindering me from reaching my goals?”
Managers Are Best Positioned To Coach: Coaching is a leadership skill used to assist your direct reports to get from where they are to where they want to go. As a manager, it is foundational that you ensure process adherence, KPIs, work allocation and results. To be an exceptional manager, coaching is a key skill. Coaching is developmental by nature. Developmental is just a fancy name for improvement. The coachee does the work and the coach facilitates the process.
The tools of the coach include reflective listening, questioning, intuition, challenging, observing and accountability. As an internal coach you are closest to the situation and therefore this allows you to be influential. Consider picking up the book Co-Active Coaching or The Coaching Habit to gain knowledge on the subject of coaching.
As you review these three principles what stands out?