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Coaching New Managers for Success

By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder & CEO
Leading-with-effective-management

Worldwide, organizations are investing heavily in employee training and leadership development programs. But research points out a disconcerting fact. 

According to studies, while 99% of organizations offer management training programs, 87% of first-time managers from those organizations felt that they needed more training to prepare for their job role. Given that new managers are making a leap from being individual contributors to leading a team, this can be quite a challenging transition to make.

Most organizations promote their high-performing individuals to managerial roles. But even the most talented and star employee can face hurdles and stumble as he/she settles into this new identity. 

Quite obviously, organizations need to give more than a pay hike, an induction meet, a day-long training program, and a ‘good luck’ handshake to make sure that these managers can lead high-performing teams.

Here are a few things to focus on to coach managers for success.

Develop people management skills

One of the biggest changes that a first-time manager has to internalize is transitioning from working in a group to being responsible for creating the right work environment. The focus thus automatically shifts towards developing their people skills.

New managers have to be coached on recognizing the needs of their team members, developing empathy to understand team challenges, and improving their problem-solving, critical, and strategic thinking skills.

We have often heard that “People don’t leave organizations. They leave managers”. Since managers have a significant impact on team performance, employee morale, and employee engagement, organizations have to identify the people management skills their new managers lack and coach them on the same. This can help them create better nurture and enable relationships with their team members.

Develop the Emotional Intelligence

While intelligence and technical skills might be important to take on the role of the manager, developing Emotional Intelligence is what is going to help managers succeed in their roles. 

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to realize, comprehend, and manage individual emotions and recognize and influence the emotions of those around you as well. It is what sets apart a good leader from a great one.

Research shows that EQ is the strongest predictor of performance. It is also the trait that most effective leaders have. Emotional Intelligence comprises of four core competencies:

Self-awareness – The ability to understand personal strengths and weaknesses. Working with colleagues who are not self-aware can cut a team’s chance of success to half.  

Self-management – The capability to manage and regulate emotions especially in stressful situations and retain a positive attitude despite setbacks.

Social awareness – The capability to assess and understand other’s emotions and the dynamics at play. It involves developing empathy to understand the feelings and challenges of colleagues to communicate and collaborate more effectively with them.

Relationship management – The ability to coach, influence, and mentor others, provide positive reinforcement, and effectively resolve conflict. Unresolved conflict can waste almost eight hours of company time in unproductive activities such as gossip, which can drain resource morale and lead to low team performance.

Coaching new managers to develop their Emotional Intelligence helps in promoting healthy team collaboration. It also generates better employee engagement and leads to happier and more productive teams.

Guidance for managing age and gender dynamics  

For the first time, there are five generations at work together. These generations have their own dynamics at play. A majority of the workforce is also made up of the millennials, a generation defined by their focus on ‘value’ and ‘purpose’. Then there are the baby boomers, a task-based generation that has different motivations working for them. Gen X and then Gen Z are two other generations who are poles apart in their approach, drive, and motivations for work.

New managers have to be coached to learn effective strategies to connect with each of these generations. They need coaching on how to generate awareness, resolve conflict, build relationships, and communicate with them effectively.

Managers also have to be coached heavily to manage gender dynamics within their teams. Coaching helps them understand how to identify issues, address challenges, communicate, and chart career paths, be sensitive to diversity and inclusion initiatives

This often demands a rewiring and reprogramming of old beliefs, which can only be achieved by developing understanding and deep empathy towards others different from us.

Coach for Collaboration

Learning how to foster collaboration is one of the hardest transitions for a new manager. Helping managers to navigate this transition demands coaching them on their communication skills and their ability to motivate their team members and leverage positive reinforcement. It also guides managers to help their team realize their ‘shared purpose’, keep them motivated even in challenging situations, and become a propellant for better performance.

The focus on developing collaboration skills and inspiring collaboration for new managers is also essential since the world of work is now collaborative. We no longer exist and succeed in silos. And to inspire collaboration, managers must lead by example.

A cursory glance at these ‘must-have’ skills reveals that these are ‘power skills’ – skills that are highly complex because of their behavioral nature. But these are essential for individual and organizational success. Organizing a day-long training session for new managers to absorb and internalize these skills is an ineffective strategy since it does not bring about behavioral change. These skills need constant reinforcement and, hence, lend themselves well to coaching. 

By providing a robust coaching and mentoring platform to their new managers, organizations give them access to a ready knowledge base. Coaches can guide new managers and hand-hold them as they transition into their new roles. The coaches also act as information repositories, something new managers can access anytime they face managing issues to drive transformational value. 

Organizations can also enable continuous learning for their new managers by providing timely nudges on aspects they need to improve and then connecting them to the right coach to get them the guidance they need. Doing this ensures that these skills become second nature to the new managers, and they lead their teams, themselves, and, consequently, the organization to success.

Ready to drive employee engagement through internal coaching? Get a demo of NumlyEngage™, the world’s leading, AI-enabled, Skills Coaching and Employee Engagement Platform.

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