There are 3 effective ways to lead as a coach rather than as a boss

Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

You are a good leader who tries to recruit more good people leaders. This is commendable, but you can still be detached from the toxic work environment or team members. Even good leadership can have bad habits that affect everything from corporate culture to turnover. As an executive trainer and now a partner in a global professional services organization, I have seen the same story play out countless times in my corporate career. The pattern is back-breaking for leaders – and it’s time for us to break behind that pattern.

For example, leaders treat their team members. According to Gallup, their engagement decisions can affect team morale and productivity by 70 percent. Unfortunately, many more misunderstand how to develop their staff. Instinctively, they want to help and coach. But they make mistakes such as telling people what to do instead of waiting for the annual review to provide guidance or encouraging them to look for answers.

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This, of course, is nothing new. But it is wrong to label only misguided leaders as “bad” bosses. They are repeating what they have experienced as they rise to the ranks. For example, a leader may have learned from a leader in the past who was skilled but seems to have gotten results. Now, that leader is reacting rather than reflecting the pressure.

Excellent coaching techniques and learning techniques (and not learning bad habits) are essential for today’s leaders. Many of them also know this: Research from the University of Management in Singapore found that about one-third of mid-level managers surveyed knew they had trouble connecting with their team.

Great leaders who are also amazing coaches consider the many benefits they can bring to a company, making coaching skills worth the investment of time and focus. One advantage is knowing that there are people in your organization who are more likely to advance personally and professionally because of the empowering coaching approach. Activating innovation – even if it leads to failure or disaster – is another. A third advantage is being able to build resilience among the new generation of leaders so that they can return to the unexpected and coach their own team members to do the same in the future. Basically, great coaching creates an invaluable ripple effect.

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Don’t know how or where to start your journey to become a good coach? Whether you have been the head of your business for decades or have started your dream startup, take the following steps. Over time, you’ll notice a big difference in the attitudes and actions of your team members.

1. Switch from a “fix it” mentality

First things first: From this point forward, stop yourself from proposing solutions. When people come to you, ask questions before answering. Listen as they come up with solutions for themselves. If you are like most leaders, it will be counterproductive and probably uncomfortable. At least in the short term, it may feel slower than the solution for them. Stay tuned, though, and you’ll be amazed at what can happen when you stop fixing everything for everyone.

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Case in point: A few years ago, our team worked with a plant manager who wanted to be a “fix it” person. Surprisingly, he logged hours and was stressed. He knew something had to change, so he decided to learn to be a coach. We helped her change her management style so that she could easily empower others as part of her coaching. Instead of moving away from the problem, his team members got up and started solving problems independently. Was this coaching cake icing? He didn’t have to work hard, and his department still won a productivity award.

Related: What business leaders can offer to keep and develop employees

2. Try to meet where your staff members are

Maybe you’re interested in starting coaching and getting the benefit of working with people who don’t need you to lift all the weights. Just know that you can’t create a culture of coaching unless you identify where each employee stands in terms of understanding, accepting and accepting you as a coach.

As a leader, be sure to address any concerns or hesitations with open and transparent communication. Being unprotected allows you to create more level playing fields and meet your staff members wherever they are.

For example, state your motives clearly: “I really want to empower people. I know I have to work on my coaching style to do this, so I’ll try some different ways to change myself. Are you trying to be different with me when I can learn it? “

In over 20 years of working in this field, I have never told a leader that an employee was not on board. Of course, some people may assume that you want to start one coaching meeting after another for punitive reasons. Gallup’s research even shows that four out of five people will start looking for a new job if a leader gives them a negative response. But being open about your motives can help in this fight. Stop team members from jumping into negative decisions by sharing how you will meet and grow with them where they are.

Then, prove your growth along the way. For example, in a former role on Facebook, Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein realized that he was not being well received by colleagues. He analyzed their responses, recognized the themes, and then changed his behavior. Six months later, his colleagues were much happier working with him. People will appreciate your commitment to progress.

3. Prepare other leaders to be future coaches

Once you start seeing positive results from strong coaching, you can extend that impact. Basically, coaching should drive your vision to develop talent like everyday leadership.

You may want to dive deeper into coaching people in key roles for major change, a rare role where retention is essential or a role with a large reporting-line span. You may even want to create a network impact and deep emotional connection that facilitates the transfer of coaching experience to these important teams of possible leaders in a residential workshop. Promoting from within, retaining talent, and engaging people is much easier when you know that someone has learned to coach change leaders as part of a team.

Experience should raise not only models and frameworks, but also issues such as staff empowerment, open feedback and team building. It is also important to make sure that this practice is not “standard”. Treat generic coaching programs, so make sure your method is relevant to your business and easily applied to the workflow. Coaching should not feel like another box to check. Instead, leaders and team members should consider it important for leadership and company growth. When leaders become facilitators, mentors, and role models, they set the dynamic impact in motion.

Coaching may not come naturally to you, and it may not be what you expect from outstanding leadership in your early days. Wear your coach hat anyway. You can be satisfied with the results and the freedom that comes when you change your leadership style.

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