Coaching Helps Develop New Leaders
Organizations often take their top individual technical or functional contributors, promote them to manage a team and expect instant success. The promotion from individual contributor to manager, however, is an abrupt career step: Succeeding as an individual contributor is one thing; becoming an accomplished leader is more complex. It requires further learning and development.
Despite being driven to demonstrate success, many newly promoted managers are not supported with the leadership development training and coaching that builds new skill sets needed to succeed. Learning to distinguish between the expectations of their new managerial or leadership roles and those of their previous individual contributor roles sets up new managers and their teams for success.
Shifting Mindsets from “Me” to “We”
Today’s newly minted manager also must navigate leading a hybrid or remote workforce and understand the turnover taking place in the post-Covid marketplace, aka “The Great Resignation.” Navigating this transitioning work world is a formidable undertaking for the most experienced leaders. To throw new managers into the deep end of the pool without the proper training or coaching and expect them to swim is ill-advised. They need development and coaching.
McKinsey & Company, through research by the McKinsey Global Institute, identified fifty-six foundational skills they claim will help citizens thrive in the future of work. [i]
In the interpersonal category, there is a skill group on teamwork effectiveness. The foundational skills McKinsey identifies in this category are:
In addition to these foundational skills, new managers need to understand how to get their teams aligned, gain commitments on accountabilities, ensure proper support and resource allocation, as well as communicate with and between multiple constituencies on the status of team and organizational goals. These expectations are far different and more complex than those set for an individual contributor. Hence, accelerating the mindset shift from “me” to “we” is critical.
Pairing newly promoted leaders with a coach can help unite them and their teams in a positive way that achieves better results faster. The coaching process often starts with assessments for the new manager to become more self-aware. It includes a new leader assimilation and continues with individual coaching for the leader for anywhere from four to nine months.
Recently, I conducted a new leader assimilation meeting with a freshly promoted director. Near the end of the meeting, two of the team members commented that it was the smoothest leadership transition that they had ever experienced. While I might want to think this was all due to my individual coaching expertise, in fact, I know that new leader assimilations are a powerful tool that trained coaches regularly deploy with great success—credit goes to the team and the leader.
Focused coaching of new leaders helps them attain new management skill sets, navigate a transitioning work world, and accelerate team effectiveness by encouraging collaboration and empowerment. Coaching also helps develop and retain critical talent within organizations.
How can coaching help your organization develop new leaders, improve team effectiveness, and reduce turnover?
Lance Hazzard, PCC, CPCC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations achieve success. Lance and Eric T. Hicks, Ph.D., co-authored Accelerating Leadership, published in June 2019. Lance is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. More information on the book, Lance and Oppnå® Coaching can be found at the links below:
[i] Defining the Skills Citizens Will Need in the Future World of Work, McKinsey & Company, June 25, 2021, by Marco Dondi, Julia Klier, Frédéric Panier and Jörg Schubert.