How to develop good managing skills
Harvard Business School Press , December 12, 2007
Good managers use coaching skills as part of their repertoire. The focus is on cooperation and facilitation of the other person's development. Coaching involves creating a comfortable environment where action plans can be developed together.
To become the most effective coach possible, work on mastering the following skills:
• Listening actively
• Asking the right questions
• Advocating your opinions
• Giving feedback as a coach
• Receiving feedback as a coach
• Building agreement
"I never could figure out why people didn't seem to follow my advice much. When I started to ...view middle of the document...
Is the person tense or relaxed?
• Listen first and evaluate later.
• Do not interrupt the other person except to ask questions to clarify and to encourage him to continue.
• Repeat in your own words what you think the other person has said.
• Wait until after he has finished talking to plan your responses.
What would you do? No Sign of Change
As Paula Sat through Tony's presentation, bored as a rock, the sad truth slowly dawned on her. He was making the same mistakes now that he had been making six months ago! His nose was buried in his notes. He was droning on and on, and he had not incorporated a single visual into the entire presentation! Yet they had spoken about his need to work on this very skill.
Tony had told her that public speaking was something he just couldn't do. Paula had assured him that with hard work and practice he could do it. He believed her and he kept trying. So why, then, was he still so bad at it? Was there something more she could do to help him improve?
Tip: Coach your direct reports; don't play psychologist. It's not appropriate and you are probably not qualified.
Asking questions is a valuable tool for understanding the other person and determining his or her perspective. Use both open-ended and close-ended questions. Each yields a different response.
Notice how this manager asks open-ended questions to uncover the employee's perspectives, listens actively to what is said, and then checks for understanding.
Ilka: Gonzalo, how do you feel the project is going?
Gonzalo: Pretty well. We're on schedule.
Ilka nods her head.
Gonzalo: But it's tight. There's no room to spare.
Gonzalo: Because when Jenna left, no one was hired to replace her.
Ilka: And because you've lost one person�?
Gonzalo: It's going to be really hard to meet the deadline.
Ilka: Are you saying that you'll deliver on time, but it will be difficult? Or that you may not be able to meet the deadline?
Gonzalo: Well, I think we can make the deadline, but there is a chance we might miss it.
Ilka: And if we want to be sure to finish on time�?
Gonzalo: We'd need more help.
Ilka: Perhaps we could look into getting some temporary help.
Tip: Ask a lot of open questions
Most managers ask too few.
Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions invite participation and idea sharing. Use them to:
• Explore alternatives: "What would happen if�"
• Uncover attitudes or needs: "How do you feel about our progress to date?"
• Establish priorities and allow elaboration: "What do you think the major issues are with this project?"
When you want to find out more about the other person's motivations and feelings, think of open-ended questions. Though this type of questioning you can uncover your coache's true concerns. This, in turn, will help you formulate better advice and ideas about how you can help her.
Use close-ended questions carefully. Close-ended questions lead to "yes" or "no"...