I’m involved in manager coaching my team, but my own line manager seems disapproving of the time I’m spending in coaching sessions. What can I do?
It’s easy to see why some still consider coaching to be a bit of a dark art, practiced by those “in the know”, who sneak away with other colleagues for exclusive one to one discussions over coffee. A manager looking in on this could be forgiven for feeling resentful, jealous and even a little guilty – is this something he or she should be receiving themselves, supporting or doing with their own staff?
Get your manager involved! One of our jobs as coaches to is to de-mystify the process and make coaching conversations accessible, so that people engage with it and genuinely experience benefits. You could do this by offering to coach your manager or use a coaching style whenever he or she is grappling with tough issues and then explain what you have done. I find that the best coaching advocates and sponsors are those who have experienced ah-ha moments and breakthroughs when being coached themselves.
You could also encourage your manager to take part in “three way” contracting discussions at the beginning of a coaching assignment so that the broad agenda for the organisation and the individual is made explicit and there is consensus on how progress can be measured and evaluated and appropriate support given.
In times of continued organisational austerity and ever increasing pressure to do more with less, coaching isn’t a fluffy nice to have – it’s an essential part of the managers toolkit, so well done for coaching your team! Now use this experience to coach, mentor and educate your own manager.