Coaching managers to manage themselves FIRST

August 13, 2013
Coaching managers to manage themselves FIRST

In his book “First Things First,” Steven Covey wrote “Where there’s no Gardener, there’s no Garden.”

The Garden can be a place of great energy and great solace, a place to work and to reflect. In the garden we can plough, sow, tend, nurture and ultimately harvest. 

However the Garden will not flourish if the Gardener is ineffective in managing themselves and the Garden. In an organisation a Manager cannot expect to manage the work and results of other people successfully if they cannot manage themselves first.

Self management should be the Manager’s Number One priority.

As an Executive Coach, I am often asked by the Manager “Coachee” for coaching to be better in planning, managing and organising themselves, improving work/life balance, delegation, giving effective feedback and strategies for stress management. 

Managers discuss their feelings such as struggling, being overwhelmed, not able to delegate enough, guilt about hours spent at work, challenged by staffing problems and so on.

Some Managers are so focused on their own battles and survival that they have less energy to give of themselves in leading, managing and developing others.  

What are the Essentials for Coaching a Manager in Self Management?

1. The Coaching process must be a conversation with Coachee objectives and actions. Coaching objectives specifically in the area of self management are essential. The Coaching process needs to demonstrate and replicate “self management” itself with goals and actions, positive focus and motivation, discipline, reflection and reward and celebration.

2. The use of assessment and survey tools can be very effective for creating self awareness of personal style. Throughout their lives and careers, many Managers do not understand how other people perceive them. A diagnostic or assessment instrument can be a great starting point to increase self awareness around style and behaviours. The ethical and responsible use of all diagnostic and assessment tools, especially in debriefing, is a key competence for a Coach.

3. It is important for a Manager to understand how his capability for self management impacts either positively or negatively on his abilities to manage his role, function and build relationships. We focus on self management in relationship to management functions such as Leadership, Planning, Organising, Coaching and giving feedback, Getting Results and Building Relationships with Stakeholders. 

4. Coaching provides a space for Managers to slow their pulse and reflect especially on their own thoughts, actions and behaviours. Powerful and focused questions from the Coach can facilitate the Manager reflecting on specific events and their actions from different perspectives. The space for reflection and talking through issues can also help the Manager to be more creative with options and solutions.

5. Coaching facilitates the Manager identifying self management strengths, obstacles and challenges and options for risk and experimentation. Strengths emphasised can be affirmed by the Coach. The outcomes of risk taking and experimentation can be shared for review, problem solving, affirming and celebrating with their Coach.

6. A Coaching conversation should always come to a close with clear actions. When a Manager has some objectives about managing themselves better outcomes can be realised however it appears that sustainable change occurs when the Manager views their own process more as a marathon rather than a sprint.  

7. Each Coaching conversation is a building block for the next. As a Manager owns his issues, experiments and takes action the Coach is ready to provide support, affirmation and positive reinforcement of efforts made and changes that proved successful. The Managers’ levels of confidence increase. In addition seeking feedback from others such as Managers, peers and staff supplements the recognition and support from the Coach. This augurs for more sustainable change in the identified areas for improvement, development and growth of the Manager.

8. In Coaching we ask the Manager to become the successful Gardener working in their own Garden first. In this Garden the Gardener speaks to him or herself in positive ways, says “ well that was dumb” when forgetting to fertilise in Spring, uses words of encouragement to keep going when digging a soil that is dry and rock hard and to have optimism to sow and nurture again after a storm has destroyed all the crops. And finally the Gardener can reflect upon and celebrate the bumper harvest that feeds himself and others in his life.

Tags: the coaching academy, coach training, certified life coach, vietnam coaching institute,

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