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This article was published 08-11-2016

How coaching style leaders help their organizations and people to grow

Based on personal experience, Camiel Gielkens General Manager Schouten China, speaks about how the business, your professional career and personal happiness will all benefit if you begin to operate in Manager-as-Coach mindset.

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Sometimes in life you have the great luck to meet somebody who can really help you to grow and make the next step in your professional- and personal life. I was that lucky 15 years ago when I joined Stratix, a Strategy Consultancy firm in the Netherlands. Herman Rottinghuis, my manager and partner of the firm, had a certainly for that time revolutionary view on management.

Herman did not tell me what to do, but instead asked me a lot of questions to help me create my own solutions. Further he was always interested in me as a person and my development, which gave me a lot of trust and confidence. Of course that does not mean he did not care for the business or concrete tasks, because for sure he did.

With Herman I talked a lot about ‘Socratic Conversations’, named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates. Just like Herman, Socrates was always asking questions to stimulate critical thinking. Looking back at these conversations and my current co-active coaching experience I learned that the following principles help business leaders and managers to become a coach and stimulate critical thinking:

  1. Ask good questions; help people to find their own solutions.
  2. Believe in everybody’s potential; everybody is creative, resourceful and whole 
  3. Create focus (through questions, not directives) to a mutual agreement of the priorities of development. 
  4. Ensure that the feedback information is heard and understood by the employee. Asking clarifying questions is the best way to do this. 
  5. Dance in the moment; be in the here and now.

The experience we gained with helping many managers and business leaders of global organizations to become a better coach clearly shows that I am not the only one who benefits from a coaching style leader. Actually, we regularly see that leaders and managers who coach effectively frequently improve their business results by over 20 percent.

Are you up for the challenge to become a coaching style leader? If your answer is yes, start today with asking your staff and colleagues questions that are:

  • Open-ended;
  • Focused on useful outcomes; and,
  • Non-judgmental (avoid askingwhy?”).

For sure your employees, the business, your professional career and personal happiness will all benefit if you begin to operate in Manager-as-Coach mindset. Good luck with your journey to become a coach!

Camiel Gielkens
General Manager Schouten China

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