By Mike Faber, M.S., Zoom Video Communications Sales Trainer
Having spent most of the last quarter-century (I started when I was three years old), coaching and training leaders in a variety of industries, three significant misconceptions about the role of managers within organizations have become apparent. Here are some general observations about those conflicts between leadership’s understanding and reality.
Managers manage and leaders lead
In some far-off land where companies have oodles of money and recruiting is perfect, this may be the case. Here on earth, managers must embrace their role as encouraging coaches, leaders who inspire, experts who mentor, and innovators who train. The four functions of a manager (coach, leader, mentor, trainer) often get muddled, which contributes to a second misconception.
Performance management is coaching
Not exactly. In fact, not even close. Coaching is a collaborative approach to employee development where the onus for identifying a goal, and the path to get there, rests with the employee. Telling me what I’m doing wrong, and then telling me how to “fix” the problem is performance management. Employees who have been on the receiving end of this confusing definition leads to a third misconception.
Some employees are un-coachable
Nope. If they were hired, they can be coached. The “un-coachable” employee doesn’t see the value in being coached; they’ve yet to make the connection between intrinsic motivation, and personal growth. Perhaps they’ve experienced performance management under the guise of being “coached”. From CEO’s to front-line employees, none of us are compensated for maintaining the status quo. An employee in denial about their need to improve current skills, or gain new skills, is in denial about their worth to colleagues, customers, and the company.
So what can learning professionals do to combat these misconceptions? Here are three steps you can take right away.
Socialize the concept of the four roles of a manager with internal influencers, and determine how each role impacts a manager’s success.
Ask managers how they identify and prioritize their current responsibilities, and seek to understand their current perspective on their role as coaches.
Help managers formulate thought-provoking questions to ask employees previously identified as “un-coachable” to help uncover their motivation.
Great leaders (and trainers!) create and nurture an environment that encourages the pursuit of excellence. Managers are the linchpin to that environment’s growth. When employees are clear about how their direct manager impacts their individual success, they’re more open to coaching, more receptive of performance management designed to help correct mistakes, and eager to take on new challenges.
Mike Faber is a member of the Sales Enablement team at Zoom Video Communications, specializing in sales training, leadership development, and coaching. Mike holds a Masters Degree from CSU-Global in Organizational Leadership, and is the author of numerous articles, blog posts, and two books on the topics of sales, leadership, and coaching.
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