By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder & CEO

The climate of change influencing global markets continues to put pressure on organizations to improve succession planning. They need to constantly build a strong pipeline of leaders to ensure continued business success. We can credit the rise of leadership development and leadership nurturing programs to this need. 

However, developing a leadership pipeline with people with the necessary hard and power skills has been an uphill battle for most. Day-long or week-long training programs on leadership development are not delivering the intended results. This is primarily because ‘leadership’ is not one skill. It is a set of multiple skills, most of which demand a behavioral change. 

Read: Is Your Leadership Development Initiative Not Working? Here Is How To Fix It

Behavioral change can only be achieved with constant reiteration and internalization. Given human disposition, even the most driven and talented employee will find it hard to remain motivated enough to drive and implement a change unless there is a shift in behavior. 

Managers are valuable cogs in the wheel of organizations looking at developing their leadership pipeline. While identifying high-potential employees is a part of the manager’s purview, making sure that the talent is nurtured and pushed in the right direction is also an essential part of this job role. The manager is the bridge that connects the organization to the employee and, hence, has an important role to play in developing leaders for tomorrow. 

Here are a few compelling reasons why you need to train managers to become better coaches if your organization wants a strong pipeline of leaders to leverage in the future. 

Leadership has to be built at every level

While there are few who move into the leadership pipeline, organizations now have to work towards developing a ‘leadership mindset’ across the spectrum of employees. A leadership mindset is growth-oriented, it focuses on being solution-driven, it is steeped in ownership and critical thinking. 

These are qualities and skills that help every employee do their job better and become more outcome-driven and productive. These skills, or the lack of it, have to be identified, honed and nurtured to develop the capable leaders of tomorrow. Since managers are the ones closest to their teams, they need to be trained to coach their teams to help the teams develop these skills. 

Coach to drive performance 

A leadership pipeline can only be called a strong and mature one when it includes people who have emotional intelligence and technical intellect. Managers are the best people to identify which team member lacks in which aspect and are well aware of areas that need development.

The team’s performance is one of the primary responsibilities of a manager. In this world of rapid change, managers have to inspire their teams to become performance-driven, and not instruct them. They can communicate in the language that inspires to maximize team performance. However, most managers admit that they don’t coach their teams and stick to disseminating technical and functional skills and only review performance because they don’t know how to coach! 

When managers become better coaches, they can proactively help their team members identify areas of improvement and ensure employees track and achieve their goals proactively.

Goodbye surprises and awkward conversations

Coaching managers to develop stronger teams and individuals helps them understand the strength of coaching. Once they learn and understand how coaching helps them to drive their team, they can identify and implement all the changes and strategies needed to develop a high-performance team. 

Coaching managers also leads to better team engagement, fewer awkward conversations, and no surprises when it comes to performance management. When managers themselves become coaches, they know how to guide individual team members proactively along their career paths by providing contextual, unbiased, and regular feedback. 

They also become more capable of identifying issues early and help their teams become better problem-solvers. They can help their team members be more agile and adaptive towards change and also become more innovative. 

Establish the difference between managing and micromanaging 

Managers have to be on top of everything and make sure that their teams meet their goals and targets. However, often managers end up micromanaging everything, thereby removing individual autonomy and freedom from the equation. The result is a team that is highly dependent on instruction and is unable to make the right decisions. When managers micromanage, they send out a clear message that the team members cannot be trusted. Is it then a surprise that members of such a team do not qualify to be future leaders?

With coaching, managers can understand the subtle difference between managing and micromanaging. It helps them identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and gives them the tools they need to bridge these gaps most appropriately. 

Instead of instructing, managers then enable a growth mindset within their team members, which helps the latter believe that failures are learning opportunities and obstacles are opportunities in disguise. 

Finally, given the rise of the millennials and Gen Z as the dominant demographic in the workforce demands a shift in the way managers lead their teams. Understanding the motivations of this workforce and identifying the best ways to engage with them is essential. For example, this demographic wants managers to be their sounding board for their ideas. They also want to devote time discussing new ways of working and evaluating how they will progress to the leadership path. It thus becomes essential to coach managers to connect with this demographic in meaningful ways so that they can move away from the old method of ‘managing by instruction’ to ‘managing by inspiring’. 

By coaching managers, organizations make leadership development a continuous process. Consequently, they can have an army of qualified, well-adjusted, and high-potential employees constituting their leadership pipeline. 

Get a live demo to discover how NumlyEngage™ can help you coach your managers better and improve employee engagement, performance, and productivity by up to 400%!

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Remote working is no longer the ‘new’ normal. It is just normal now. 

Hallway conversations, informal lunches, and break sessions, pop-in status reports are on hold for an indefinite time. COVID-19 has ushered us firmly into the age of remote working, where even the most traditional organizations had to adopt this trend.  

With the rules of engagement witnessing an overhaul, HR teams, and organization leaders are grappling with the challenge of keeping these newly remote teams engaged – especially since the individuals making up these teams have their own culture and personality. 

There has been a dramatic shift in the manner in which organizations are operating today, making engagement a difficult game to win. While these unprecedented times continue to impact the workplace and the workforce, organizations have to think of creative ways to make this distanced working environment more engaging so that productivity and employee happiness are not at opposing ends. 

Coaching can become a venerable tool in the HR and leadership arsenal to keep employees engaged. Here is a look at why this is so.

Maximize talent despite the distance 

Remote working is different and demands a different way of leading. Organizations thus have to look at how to help their employees navigate this new normal by guiding them on maintaining a work-life balance while delivering maximum productivity. 

Coaching them to adopt a flexible schedule, develop a flexible mindset, and maintain self-discipline in the absence of constant monitoring are important to drive productivity. Helping them become more goal-oriented, detail-driven with elevated accountability and ownership levels also drive productivity and engagement. By coaching effective prioritization skills and helping employees develop a ‘can-do’ attitude, organizations can keep employees effectively engaged while maximizing the talent despite the distance. 

Guide for growth 

Since millennials are the primary demographic in most organizations, it is imperative to remember that growth is a key engagement driver for these employees. In this remote working environment, it is natural for employees to be concerned about their growth within the organization.

Apart from identifying and providing coaching to meet the employees’ technical skill requirements, organizations also have to identify the power skills gaps by using data from assessments such as 16 Personality factor Tests and Behavioral Skills assessments. Coaching employees on these skills will tangibly impact their professional career and help them become high-potential employees. It helps in driving employee engagement by demonstrating investment and interest in employee growth. 

Drive leadership development 

Remote working or not, organizations have to work continuously to drive leadership development in the workplace to keep employees engaged. Whether it is to identify next-generation leaders or identify high-potential employees, a focus on leadership development also helps in keeping employees engaged, especially in the world of remote work. 

Coaching can play a significant role as an enabler of engagement by helping remote employees understand how to navigate complex relationships, establish greater credibility, cultivate strategic thinking, and develop the capacity to exert influence on decision-making.

In the absence of physical interactions, leadership development coaching guides employees on building and leveraging strategic networks and drive authentic engagement needed to proceed in their careers. 

Read: Critical Leadership Skills that High-Potential Women Leaders Should Be Groomed On

Bridge the skills gap 

Despite the world of work going remote, organizations cannot put a pause on their upskilling and reskilling initiatives. However, while technical training programs help in closing the skills gaps, organizations also have to focus on bridging the power skills gap. Skills like communication, collaboration and influence, problem-solving, innovation and execution, strategic thinking, and the like are essential to driving productivity and engagement. 

Developing a growth mindset is also a prized skill that organizations are looking for to increase the employees’ mental tenacity, especially as the world of work becomes increasingly complex and competitive.

Read: What Can Organizations Do to Develop an Entrepreneurial Growth Mindset Amongst Employees?

Coaching plays a big role in navigating the hard skills and power skills conundrum. Owing to its continuous nature, coaching outcomes drive behavioral change, which helps employees understand the organization’s investment in their growth story. This then becomes a powerful driver of engagement since enablement here drives engagement. 

Empower managers to drive successful teams 

The time to walk the ‘lead by example’ talk is now. In this new world of remote working, the eyes of the employees are fixed on managers and leaders. Managers need to be coached on how to identify the individual talents of individual team members. They also have to discover how to interact with and guide less-experienced employees best through challenging work situations and help them progress along their career paths. Many managers are also leading remote teams for the first time and need coaching on how to best guide their teams for success. 

The absence of physical interactions also means that managers and leaders now have to become clearer in their communication skills and build skills to recognize effort, anticipate team reactions, assess team confidence, appreciate employees, and provide effective feedback. Along with this, managers also have to coach their teams for success and learn how to develop their emotional intelligence to keep team motivation and engagement high. 

Read: How Has the Role of Leadership Changed with COVID-19?

Managers can rely on effective coaching to help them navigate the new challenges and implement the behavioral changes to drive highly successful teams. 

The role of coaching is becoming increasingly important to keep employees happy, engaged, and productive in these challenging times. 

Running and working in remote teams requires specific skillsets and new attitudes so that productivity and engagement levels remain consistently high. It is perhaps time to look towards AI-powered technology and rich analytics to drive highly relevant and contextual coaching programs and help employees deliver their best performance and remain engaged. Consistently.